Ten Reasons Why I Struggle Finishing My Personal Projects
Daily Drawing #110215 – drawn with Harmony
If you’re a regular visitor on this blog, you’d probably have noticed that I have some issues to finish my personal projects as easy as I finish paid ones. If someone pays me I’ll do a perfect job in time, and that’s not an understatement. Because then it’s a job. I’m really, really good in doing a good job and meeting deadlines.
Recently I quit my job as a school teacher. I wanted to be a full-time artist again because that’s what I’ve always wanted. But even though I have time and space now it’s difficult for me to work on my own projects. And I want to find out why this is so.
So here’s my list of ten reasons why I struggle to finish my personal projects:
1. They’re not real jobs
A person very close to me cheered as I told her that I was going to work as an art teacher a few months ago: “Well, then you finally have a real job!” – Ouch, that hurt! A real job brings some money in, and my art and animation projects didn’t do so very much, so they can’t be real jobs.
2. I’m a scaredy cat
I’m afraid of so many things.
And sometimes this fear keeps me from doing things. This is a hard one.
3. Only 2% of all fine artists in Germany earn enough for a living from their artistic work
One of my professors in art school shared this statistical fact at every available opportunity. I don’t know his motivation to do so, but for a long period I thought it won’t be possible to join this 2%. Which causes fear (see 2.).
4. Others are better than me – always.
This is as bad as being rejected. No, worse: “Hey, we like your stuff, but the stuff this guy over there does is much more interesting… Perhaps next time?”
5. What if someone simply doesn’t like it?
I don’t like to be rejected. To prevent myself from being rejected, I just don’t do anything. If nothing’s finished, nothing can be rejected. Sounds logical, doesn’t it?
6. I don’t know if it’s really art
Visualize an art exhibition. You probably have some idea about how artworks look like. Mine always look different. They just don’t look like art. It’s my impression that I don’t fit into existing categories. Am I so progressive? I can’t believe that. I simply don’t understand what turns a thing into an artwork.
7. I’m interested in so many things
I don’t want to miss a thing. Every time I read a book, watch a movie, do a walk I found a huge amount of inspiration. I generate ideas with every breath I take. And every time I have an idea, a little mean voice in my head asks: “Should you really try it? I mean, in fact, the idea is not too cool, and probably somebody else already did this better than you ever could. And: it doesn’t look like art…”
8. What if people find out that I’m not especially cool or creative but an ordinary human-being?
I’m always afraid that people may find out that I’m some kind of sham, some one only pretending being an artist. That’s why I spend so much time learning things to become an artist, but seldom turn them into products or works (as a real artist would do).
9. It’s much easier to implement ideas for other people or to encourage them to work on their own stuff instead of working on mine (also known as paid work)
For me it’s always easier to care about others and their needs than caring for myself. We all have our stuff, and this is part of mine.
10. A day has only 24 hours
I sleep approximately 7-8 hours. I do paid work for half the day awake. I’m recovering from driving and working with other people and/or kids for one hour (this often includes a nap). I struggle for two hours with all the issues mentioned before. And then I get something little done, something like a small test animation or so. Then I repeat step 1 to 9.
Why I share this? Because I’m learning. I learn these things about me and things start to change.
And I see a lot of people with the same issues. Perhaps you can learn from my experiences, too. These issues are part of my life as an animator/artist, and since I’m writing about this life here, it’s worth mentioning it.
You’re not alone.
If you want to share your experiences, I’ll appreciate that: feel free to leave a comment!
Next week: 10 Reasons Why Finishing Personal Projects Simply Rocks