How to Stop Procrastinating with Your Art

I hate to admit it, but sometimes I procrastinate when it comes to my art. If you're in the same boat, then you know it's a hard loop to break out of. But that's exactly the point of today's post - figuring out how to stop procrastinating and get back to the work you love. The key to that is figuring out the cause. So if you find yourself avoiding your art, take a peek at this list and see if any of these resonate with you. With a little effort, your next painting could be a quick read away.


Perfection

gif

On the outside, perfectionists can seem admirable, tirelessly working to meet their extremely high standards. However, those standards can become a hindrance. Speaking from experience, my need for my work to be perfect often makes it hard to start something new. I find myself afraid to make a mistake or make something ugly. And that doesn't do me any favors. Instead of making more work and improving my skills, I end up wasting precious time worrying about messing up.


If you're in the same boat, then you understand how frustrating this can be. But there is hope for us perfectionists out there! My first tip is to keep a secret sketchbook and make ugly drawings in it. Make this sketchbook a safe place for you to show up as you are without the fear of having someone else look at it. I have a cheap, spiral sketchbook that I keep on my desk where I jot down notes, work through different ideas, and create lots and lots of thumbnails. It has been really helpful in reducing my need for perfection in everything I do.


he Another tip I have is to give yourself a time limit when picking what to draw. It's so easy to spend all of our drawing time looking for the most perfect reference photo to draw from. Instead of wasting that time, give yourself 10 minutes to pick a photo and just work from it. It might not turn into a fully fledged piece, but it could inspire the next one. So just pick something and go with it. Through consistent creating, the pressure for every piece to be THE one will diminish - and your skills will continue to improve.


Too Busy

gif

It seems like everyone is beyond busy these days. And, believe me, I get it. There is so much we're all expected to do and a very limited amount of time to do get it all done. But this busy feeling can easily devolve into really bad habits and impact your mood. The fact of the matter is, sometimes we have to sacrifice things in order to gain time elsewhere. If you're always sacrificing your time to make art for something else, it'll eventually become a habit and art will become a distant memory.


Instead of always putting laundry or dishes first, pick a couple days a week where your passion comes first. Making time for things we love is just as crucial for a balanced life as getting chores done. I've definitely fallen into that trap. There was a time where keeping the apartment extremely tidy was always prioritized over my work. But that was making me miserable. Now I have a couple days set aside dedicated to studio time. I leave dishes in the sink and let myself work uninterrupted for a few hours. This is a much better balance for me, and I don't feel so downhearted these days.


Another issue that falls in this category is wasted time. This looks like sitting on the couch, watching TV, and scrolling on your phone - and then wondering where the day went. (I know I'm not the only one who does this.) I'm not recommending you cut out all relaxation time, because that's good for us every now and then. But if you find yourself constantly defaulting to screen time, maybe it's time to take a look at your schedule and see where you can change it up. You might be surprised how much time you actually do have!


Low Self-Confidence

gif

When we're just starting out as artists, it's easy to get discouraged. There are thousands of extremely skilled artists out there, and looking at their work can be intimidating. A lot of the time, this can cause fear or feelings of inferiority and eventually lead to procrastination. This is where social media can be really harmful, and I actually recommend new and young artists staying off of social media for a while. (For more tips when you're just starting out, you can read through this post.) Constantly using others' work as a benchmark is a recipe for disaster.


Which leads me to my biggest tip for overcoming low self-confidence: remove external comparison. Instead of scrolling through social media, lamenting that your work "will never be as good as so-and-so", go and take a look at your progress instead. The only way to measure how far you've come is by looking back at what you've made, not someone else. Another person's painting might be beautiful, but it isn't an indication of your skills whatsoever. So stop using external work as a marker for your own. This keeps us trapped in the cycle of self-criticism and prevents us from reaching our full potential.


Fear of Criticism

gif

Have you ever avoided something out of fear of being criticized? I know I have. There have been a couple times in my life where someone made a hurtful comment to me, and I made a huge point of avoiding doing that thing ever again - even if it made me happy. But as I've gotten older, I've come to realize that living my life out of fear only hurts me. Moreover, the people who tend to make hurtful comments like that are often uneducated about what I'm doing and/or are most likely miserable themselves. And if that's the case, I don't need to take criticism from them.


Receiving harsh criticism can cause us to procrastinate and avoid our art, as well. If you find yourself in this situation, I recommend taking a step back from sharing work with people who tend to put you down. Instead, find a place that feels safe and share your work there. If that means taking a step back from social media, removing a family member from your email list, or leaving a critique group, then so be it. You deserve to make work you enjoy without someone interjecting their unwarranted and cruel commentary. As it's been said many times, don't take criticism from someone you wouldn't seek advice from. If you need more advice on dealing with unsupportive family members, check out this post.

 

We all procrastinate, there's no denying it. But figuring out why is the first step in overcoming it and getting back to making art.


If you want to stay up to date with what's happening in my studio, you can subscribe for blog and newsletter updates with the form at the bottom of the page. I post blogs weekly and send newsletters out once a month!


Thanks for reading and happy creating!