It’s a grey day in Ballarat and I’m home from my day job with the night to myself. I’ve got a workshop I’m chipping away at online as well as dinner to make and a few chores to attack after I finish this post. I’ve had a request for a couple of new lighting gigs in the new year and I’ve got a week to get ready for an illustration meet up this coming weekend - the first I’ve been able to make for months.
In short, lots to be done and also lots to look forward to. The two combined are taking their toll on my brain and I’m fighting procrastination one word at a time as I type this post and listen to Feist’s Metals album. For now this seems to be helping my situation a heap, even as my internal monologue drones ‘how long until I finish this?’.
Because as much as I love what I do, there is this annoying ‘when will I get there’ thing happening in my brain. It’s like the backseat conversation of a three year old on their first road trip. Fortunately for me I’ve gotten used to this dribble in the years I’ve been making art. It’s not romantic to discuss your practice in this way, but I’ve decided in my years of making art that it’s a healthier alternative than second-guessing whether or not I should be making art every time I find myself resisting work on a given project or assignment.
I’ve learned from a great deal of experience that the more I resist a task, usually the more important it is that I keep at it. So in the spirit of that known sports brand.. I am Just Doing It.
My mind can prattle on all it wants, I am following the advice of one of my favourite writers Elizabeth Gilbert, and turning up to the page.
Because I’ve always had these conversations with myself. When I was younger I told myself I couldn’t write music even when I desperately wanted to. I told myself I couldn’t get into art school and after I did that I told myself I would never be a real artist, whatever that means. After graduating from a four year art degree I told myself I would never make it to Australia (I so desperately wanted to travel having grown up in New Zealand) and for the first two years after jumping on a plane and moving here, I fretted about whether I’d be able to get back. So all the way through my life there’s been this dangling carrot mentality when I’ve considered my goals. I’ve always made it in the end, but looking back I’ve let myself be absorbed by a lot of stress surrounding what might be just around the corner, instead of letting myself enjoy the process of where I am.
Because life’s not linear. Even when I’ve achieved what I thought was impossible for me at one point or another it’s like my brain’s set on repeat with the same never-ending loop. Who has time for that?… But the best way I’ve ever found for confronting those thoughts - the ‘will I ever get there’ thoughts, is to prove to myself I can do accomplish whatever I’ve got in front of me, simply by putting one foot in front of the other and doing it.
These days I’m resolving to be more mindful and present with the work.
I figure that if/when I eventually do get there to wherever that might be I’ll be that much closer to training my brain to be more satisfied with it’s current reality than with staring off into space, dreaming about what might be around the corner.
So here goes. One foot in front of the other as the old mantra goes.
It’s now or never.