“Every day, I wake up with one goal: Make something cool. Starting to think I need to lower my expectations a bit.”

I tweeted this thought earlier this morning, and I’m already upset about it. This kind of self-defeating thinking is not really how I want to approach my goals, and an attitude adjustment is in order. There are a lot of days when I look back and don’t see that I’ve made any notable progress toward reaching my ultimate goal of being self-sufficient as a freelance illustrator. But there are also days when I at least have something to show for my efforts, usually a completed piece of art or two. What makes those days different? How can I have those days become the norm, instead of the exception? Here are the things I’ve identified as making the biggest difference for me, maybe they will for you too:

  • Defining my goals clearly – What is it exactly that I want to do? Until I can write it down in simple terms, the goal remains undefined and therefore unattainable. But as soon as it’s written down I can begin defining the steps I’ll need to take to make it happen.
  • Setting simpler plans – Most of the time, my goals are too broad to be acted upon. “Become self-employed illustrator.” “Live on a housebus.” “Be able to pay rent.” Breaking these down into smaller pieces makes them more manageable, and I can begin to formulate a plan, which when you break it down, is just a series of smaller goals leading to the completion of a larger one.
  • Making good on them – This is always the hardest part. I derive a lot of creative energy from the process of inspiration. Even though my plans may seem exciting at the time I write them down, the energy to complete them has usually waned considerably by the time I get to the drawing table and sit down to work. There are certainly tools to alleviate this – putting on a fun show to keep me amused while I’m working, listening to good high-energy music, having a touch of caffeine every now and then. Everybody’s tools are different, and once you find what works for you, DO NOT BE AFRAID TO USE THEM. Sure, there are still fears and insecurities, but the important thing here is to be making progress. Fear is the mind-killer. Just Keep Swimming.

I hope that by keeping these tactics in mind, I can begin to work myself into a habit of drawing more every day, being happier about what I’m doing, and not letting my own insecurities get in my way.