Procrastination is a word I often hear artists use.
But procrastination can be about more than just postponing tasks and projects. It sometimes becomes a reason to turn on yourself, and bring all of your doubts to the surface.
When you procrastinate, it’s easy to beat yourself up, to wonder if you’re too lazy to be a working artist?
To question whether you don’t work hard enough? Or whether you’re not good enough? Or not young enough? Or not rich enough?
But if you can scratch the surface of procrastination and question it, you’ll find that it holds an important message beyond Not Enough.
When you find yourself procrastinating, ask yourself whether or not you’re afraid? Fear of stepping outside of our comfort zone is often the culprit.
Scratch a little deeper and question that fear. Not Enough is a monster that terrorizes all of us with evidence of our lack and shortcomings.
How? If there’s something that you’re procrastinating about and you suspect fear is the reason, list 3 reasons why you WILL SUCCEED if you try.
For example, if you’re procrastinating about answering a call for entries because you don’t think you’ll get accepted, your 3 reasons might include:
- You’ve developed a strong body of work.
- You know how to speak about the work and the ideas behind it.
- Your work deserves to be seen.
Still procrastinating? When I procrastinate, it’s sometimes because it’s something I don’t really want to do. Ask yourself, is this something you really want to do? Or is it something you should do? If so, can you re-visit its importance in the grander scheme? Is it really necessary? Question your resistances. And if you find that the task itself is too big, too scary, try breaking it down into teeny-tiny steps.
I’ve built my whole career on these steps!
You can do it too. Identify all of the tasks and decisions involved and start at the beginning.
What’s the teeny-tiny step you could take right now?
Perfectionism is another common trap for artists. Look closely. Can you see Not Enough lurking in perfectionism’s shadows?
Yes, it’s important to do everything to the highest standard, but as long as you keep trying to make it better, as long as it’s Not Enough, it will never live in the world.
Steve Jobs famously stated that real art ships. You do your work well but if you never finish, if you never ship, it’s not art. It’s an obsession.
Like a child who’s ready to leave home, let your work stand on its own feet. It may wobble. It may prove to be too soon. But your job isn’t to coddle it forever. It’s not about making anything perfect.
Your job is to finish your work well and repeat.
They call this an art practice – remember?
I challenge you to seize this moment and move past your blocks. You can do anything – one teeny-tiny step at a time.
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Working in the international world of contemporary art, Crista Cloutier has spent her career selling art and marketing art to art galleries, museums and private collections.
Using her professional experiences, Crista has created The Working Artist Masterclass, where she’s developed a global reputation as an artist’s coach. Crista can teach you how to be an artist; including how to sell your art, how to sell art online, how to sell photographs, how to price your art, how to succeed at art fairs, and even how to find your art style.
Crista has worked with established, blue-chip artists to raise their profile and attract greater opportunities. And she’s also helped thousands of emerging artists to build a professional art practice. To learn more, visit https://theworkingartist.com