Saturday, April 30, 2011

In Defence Of Doing Enough

“Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of 

the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow.”- Mary Anne Radmacher

We all have days when we see a lot of great work around us. Other creatives often appear to be doing more while getting exciting projects and getting agents plus having their work spotlighted everywhere you turn. The typical reaction many feel is that heavy feeling of comparison which leads to questions... many many questions. These questions typically revolve around our work and our time and the feeling of "Is my work good enough?" and "Am I doing enough?"

Doing enough is relative. We all have a certain amount of time in a typical work day and not all creative days are created equal. Not every illustrator has the same amount of time to work in their studios. I will use myself as an example; I have two young children so this breaks up my time in a different way. I have house hold needs that must be done in order to get through the day. Needless to say I juggle. I have been doing the work at home juggle for quite some time. One thing that I have noticed the older I get the less time I have. This forces me to reevaluate my time with many schedule changes. To be honest, my house is jungle gym mixed with music, cartoons, toys, books and crazy forts. Somewhere in that whimsy chaos is my studio. I do the best I can.

For some of us the challenge might be another job working outside of the studio. Some illustrators are weekend creatives, some work at night and I know some do not sleep at all. They are creative machines.

Sometimes we have to just stop and say "Good enough!" It sounds pretty short, simple and sweet. Give yourself a much needed pat on the back for effort well done even when you feel you are not making much headway at all.

Sometimes I laugh at myself when I make unrealistic time goals knowing full well that it wont happen as planned. I always tack on 2 to 3 days for many projects professional and personal because I know the creative jungle dictates most things when it comes to my life. I had to let go and accept it.

There is too much comparison sometimes in this illustration career of ours. My philosophy is look at their work, research their style, see what works for them, read up on their business approach and their experience. Success leaves clues which means we all leave clues for someone to pick up on. I always suggest to learn from what others are doing but leave out the comparison. That does not need to be in the equation. 

The way I see it is this: we will always have lists, ideas and more things that we want to create. We'll never be done because we're creative. We're not supposed to be finished. That's the beauty of working in a career that breaks the rules!

So in the defence of doing enough, I am going to make a coffee and spend the day doing something fun.  Life is too short to worry about measuring up all the time. Goals are good and goals are necessary but there is nothing wrong with balancing a little diversionary fun into the mix too. So, I say that will do until Monday. Till then...enjoy!