The importance of challenge and deadlines

Hello Everyone,

As many have experienced, the past year and a half has been an incredibly draining and exhausting experience. I’m not sure if this is true for everyone, but I know for myself I felt I’ve regressed as a writer, artist and reviewer. It’s something that’s weighed heavily on me as I’ve tied my identity so much to my creative attributes more than anything. The past year has been rough in that regard, but I was able to make small gains back in writing and reading again. However, drawing became what felt like an insurmountable challenge for me.

Looking back on the difficulties I’ve had with art, I think I struggled with recognizing I wouldn’t be as good as I once was. Having not completed a serious art piece in what felt like almost a year or at least a piece that I feel particularly proud of. There’s a mental block knowing that I would have to put so much effort just to get to where I was a year ago rather than jumping back to that point immediately. Whether or not this was actually true is hard to say, it’s certainly the mentality I had whenever I opened up Clip Studio Paint and stared at an empty blank space.

As any artist may know, this month is an artist challenge referred to as “inktober”. There was some controversary as someone tried to copyright it and then take advantage of anyone using the term for advertising purposes. However, the art community “took it back” as it were and the spirit of the challenge remained the same. I had never taken part in the challenge before as I was always working on my own art piece. This time though I thought I would give it a chance as I wasn’t achieving anything anyway. What surprised me was how beneficial I’ve found it to be.

The challenge of creating a lineart piece every day forced me to push through my hesitation and just do the best I could. There’s no time for me to pause and stop to second guess my decisions or hesitate with a difficult part of the drawing. Rather I had to do my best to fix what looked wrong and it pushed me past my comfort zone to learn. I feel as though I’ve learned more in this short span of time than I had before. A major part, I feel, is mostly because I had to plan around using my time effectively for the challenge to hit the deadline for daily posts. The daily deadline makes it so I have to sit down and do the best I can regardless of how I feel. I may need to do something similar for writing as book review deadlines have also helped me to read more consistently.

I hope this helps anyone else who might be struggling with motivation on any creative hobby. I always wondered why people participated in the seemingly random challenges posted all over social media but trying it out now I definitely understand the reasoning and benefit behind it.

– Raphael

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