"The more important a call or action is to our soul's evolution, the more Resistance we will feel toward pursuing it."
-The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
Who ISN'T familiar with Procrastination?
Procrastination is like a friend from college whose good-natured peer-pressure to hangout can always convince you to put off what you're supposed to be doing.
Procrastination sounds like:
"Yo! Wow, that thing you've been working on is so rad dude. That is SO your calling and you are gonna rock it! But hey...I'm only in town tonight...soooo you can put that off until tomorrow, right?"
Procrastination REALLY likes to hang out with Perfectionism. And together, the peer pressure is even worse. Here's what both these demons would sound like if they were buzzing on your shoulder.
Perfectionism: WOW! Did you hear our friend here has decided to be an artist? I am SO proud.
Procrastination: Let's celebrate! It's getting late anyway. You can draw tomorrow right dude?
Perfectionism: OBVIOUSLY tomorrow. To do things RIGHT you need to wake up early, set-up a perfect place to draw, make sure it's perfectly quiet, and draw for like, at least an hour.
Procrastination: Oh for sure. You are TOTALLY going to start the BEST drawing practice ever.
Both in unison: TOMORROW.
How to tame this demon:
"The most pernicious aspect of procrastination is that it can become habit. We don't just put off our lives today, we put them off until our deathbed."
-The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
This fun 5 minute video goes into more on the cure to procrastination from The War of Art and even takes a minute to explain how mastering your habits so that you show up with commitment to your passion might actually save the world.
So what's the cure to procrastination?
(which is, ummm, yet another awesome book by Steven Pressfield!)
You show up to do the work, simple as that.
If it were so easy there probably wouldn't need to be books written on the subject. But let's check out some tactics we can use to overcome this enemy.
Tactic #1: Find your WHY
Many experts stress the importance of grounding in WHY what you're doing is important to you in the battle against Procrastination.
My why? I just can't NOT draw after so long. It gives me peace, order and beauty in the world when I am drawing, and memories rich with visuals and recollected smells & sounds when I look back at an old sketchbook. It's just one of my very favorite things to do, and when I actually sit in that feeling it makes me wonder why the heck I don't just draw non-stop.
None of us would be here if we didn't have a desire, an inclination, a magnetizing pull toward drawing.
What's YOUR why?
In your sketchbook, find a blank page or an empty corner and write out your why.
Think back to the first time you remember drawing.
Did you take a break from drawing between being a kid and a grown up? Do you remember what made you decide to get back into drawing?
You may find your answer changes as you explore it over time. Consider the question--why do I draw?--when you run across this journal page of your sketchbook.
Tactic #2: Define WHAT you're doing
What's the easiest way for Procrastination to get in your head? When you don't know WHAT exactly its is that you're procrastinating.
"I should be drawing...like, starting yesterday."
This is not a helpful motivating thought.
It's unclear, and you've already lost, because you already feel behind and inadequate, thinking thoughts like this.
Beat Procrastination with clarity.
Create a clearly defined habit and reward yourself every day that you do it. Eventually, the reward of the habit will be enough on it's own, and you can cut out any extra calories you may have been awarding yourself. 😉
The monumental book "The Power of Habit" (another one for our Bootcamp reading list) gives us this recipe for cementing a new habit:
Cue --> Behavior --> Reward
The reward part of the equation can a favorite treat or activity. The behavior we're aiming for is drawing. The cue is what happens right before the behavior to let us know it
it's time to begin the behavior.
The cue is of vital importance because it signals our brains that it's go time. Whatever your do the first 30 minutes when your alarm goes off is most likely a deeply engrained habit chain that you don't even think about.
My habit looks like this:
Cue: Put the water on to boil for coffee.
Behavior: Drawing drills, working through the 7 elements of art each day of the week.
I can place the sketchbook by the stove every morning to support this habit. The water for coffee is the most essential part of my morning, so connecting my drawing to this while I wait for the water to boil and then drink the coffee will ensure that this new behavior KEEPS happening.
The little handful of little chocolate chips I reward myself with totally seals the deal.
What does your new habit look like?
Write your Cue, Behavior and Reward in your sketchbook!
Day 2 Drawing Drills
The Element Shape
Shape refers to 2 dimensional figures.
Shapes are closed and contain a space within a perimeter line.
Shapes are FLAT. They are circles, squares, triangles.
They are NOT 3 dimensional, like cubes and spheres and pyramids.
Have you ever heard the story of how the great master proved his skill as the most consummately skilled and talented of artists?
He took out a pencil, and drew a geometrically perfect circle, freehand, in one elegant movement.
So before we begin, let's all just let go of any illusions that we're going to draw a PERFECT circle today. We beat that demon yesterday, right?
Fill your page with Geometric shapes.
Geometric shapes are the shapes you first learned in school and learned to hate in Geometry class. Right angles and straight lines.
Draw circles in various sizes for a minimum of half a page and a maximum of 1 page.
Repeat using squares, triangles, rectangles, etc.
Fill at least 2 pages and up to 4 pages, experimenting with size and sequence of your shapes.
Take your time with the circles especially, and relax as your draw. Be curious about how your attention affects the quality of your shapes.
These drawings don't have to be complex to do deep strengthening work for your skill set. Shapes are like the squats of the art elements, they enable heavy lifting. Simple and powerful. But that doesn't mean easy! So be easy on yourself as you draw.
Fill your page with Organic shapes.
Organic shapes are the shapes that don't have their own names, but are seen in nature. The outline of a puddle forms a shape. Clouds shift from shape to shape and we imagine at what they look like. The silouhette of a leaf is an organic shape.
Look around and draw the outlines of organic shapes around you.
Fill at least 2 pages and up to 4 pages, and try to use a continuous line as much as possible as you draw your shapes.
Breathe and relax as your draw. Be curious about how your attention affects the quality of your shapes.