Thursday, 27 February 2014

Am I overthinking it??




Well dear blog readers I cannot believe we are nearing the end of February and I'm already a third of the way through the six months of my 'sabbatical' - my 2014 period of exploration and experimentation. I have something to admit though, I am having mixed feelings about it and I'm not sure about how it is going. I'm not sure I'm actually achieving anything at all..... And I'm not sure I'm enjoying it as much as I thought I would.

As I have said before I'm very task and goal driven, I love nothing more than a list of things to work through so I can visualise my achievements at any given time. I think achieving keeps me going. I think that this is what motivates me, having tasks to do, places to be, lists to write and tasks to tick of when completed. I think the current lack of this may be why I am struggling with the whole sabbatical thing at the moment.

Im not even sure what the problem is, which makes it even more frustrating, as I don't know how to put it right. I think most creative people would be over the moon to have this time to explore their work. I can't work out why I'm not enjoying the process more than I am? 

I think my studio days, which used to be a whirlwind of activity are now quiet and peaceful studio days, no real concrete aims and tasks, just doing what I feel like, but, crazily, this is making me feel unsettled and unfulfilled. Am I expecting too much of my free and easy days, am I expecting too much of myself, and am I putting myself under pressure to create. I seem to be having trouble just enjoying the fact that I have time on my hands to fill as I choose. The thoughts of free time seems to be paralysing me when I enter the studio, I end up creating nothing I like, and then leave hours later with a feeling of disappointment.... What's wrong with me??

Luckily I've enrolled on Unearth, Gather, Create - an ecourse by the talented Gillian Lee Smith, which starts in April. I've gathered my materials from the list, and have invested in a selection of paper, ink, brushes and paint, have started writing in a journal as part of my creative process, so I'm just hoping that things start to flow soon. 

Please someone tell me it's not just me feeling like this!! It is just the vestiges of winter affecting my brain, am I lacking sunlight and vitamin D.... I'm hoping so, bring on the spring!!!

6 comments:

  1. Attempt 2 as my other comment seems to have disappeared.....I am in exactly the same boat Sue. After feeling really frustrated about not having any time to create, I set aside some time and then feel completely overwhelmed by it. I have always thought that the academic/listy side of me is what makes me good in business as a creative BUT it does rather tend to put the pressure on to achieve things instead of just enjoying the process. I have tried to set myself small creative targets such as do 2 sketchbook pages, draw the same thing 5 different ways or from 5 different angles, try 1 new technique etc which I have found does tend to help me still feel focused and like I am achieving things. I think the task really is to try and marry the two different aspects of your personality - put the lister in you to good use! I was really disappointed as Gillian's course had sold out when I went to book it - could have really done with it right now! Jenny

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    1. Thanks for this Jenny, I really appreciate knowing that other people feel the same. It strange isn't it, the way we think, our expectations of ourselves, and how we stupidly put ourselves under pressure to perform, even though we know we don't have to!! I think maybe I just need to set myself some small tasks, like you have done, it might make the hugeness of the blank page, seem less daunting, and might make me feel more satisfied with my perceived progress... Watch this space!!

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  2. PS If the featured image above is anything to go by, then you are going great guns and really pushing your work in a new direction!

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  3. As you were so busy until recently it must be hard to step back from from your familiar production methods and refocus. You have moved out of your comfort zone and that is really brave, and I am sure scary and disconcerting.

    I'll miss you at BCTF this year, chatting with you was always inspirational, and you were such a support.

    Madeline x

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    1. Hi mads, yes it's hard to step away but I'm enjoying it, I think iwws just putting myself under too many constraints of time and pressure to make new work. Now I'm just taking my time again, and remembering my word of the year.... Patience!!

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  4. I know how you feel too! I know I need to practice and develop my skills, but not working to a specific end goal always feels a bit useless. Quite a lot of my friends have small children at the minute, so amongst the practice I'm filling my time with birthday cards and birthday paintings as I actually find it easier to create something with a specific someone in mind :)

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