As many people have probably found, the pacing of this year’s been all out of wack. And so we’ve hit August, a time where I’m usually feeling at least some… kind of restlessness… and it’s taken nearly half the month for me to even feel like I have anything worth saying.
I did want to make some kind of post this month. The only other time I’ve missed Blaugust entirely I ended up regretting it. Seeing the archives completely lacking in a waypost for 2017 felt wrong, and it’s something I really wanted to avoid repeating. I know I’ve used this this turn of phrase before, and I expect it will return in every August to come – in fact I hope it does – so that I can guilt myself into making some kind of contribution.
When I opened the blog to start making this stream-of-consciousness mind-dump, I found a left-over from last year. Did I double post this? Did it miss publication? It seems to be the post for 21st August that…. just didn’t make it out into the wild. I guess I’ll hit publish on it once this post is up.
I haven’t been very disciplined about my art of late. I haven’t done any crafting in the last year really either. There were a couple of high-activity moments – I participated in Inktober last year and mostly got a piece done each day of the month. It was good to just draw for the sake of drawing, but perhaps it fostered too much of a disposable attitude towards art – the same things that made it so liberating – “this piece doesn’t matter beyond today” perhaps made it harder to return to long-term projects.
Thus the projects that I’ve had that would take multiple sessions to bring to life haven’t gotten off the ground. And my desire to post things here on my blog is almost entirely gone – after all, the ease of posting something to Twitter for instant gratification leaves this blog rather disadvantaged.
Besides that I’ve also been… I guess disenfranchised. I’ve known for a long time that I don’t really have a unique perspective or special story to tell and… it’s hard to create when those doubts linger. Plus so many other clever people are just out there making mindblowing art. It’s not that I’m indulging my competitive side it’s just… I don’t feel the need to compete on this playing field at all. I’ve been thinking of dropping out of Artists Alley if I’m accepted for the January AVCon, because I just don’t know if I need to do it. I have a day job and I don’t intend to turn my art side-hustle into anything bigger, so tabling is purely an exercise to feed my ego.
Holding Up the Mirror
The alternative path that I should possibly put more thought into is that… my creative mind doesn’t have enough space for nourishment at the moment. Maybe Inktober was successful because of the ratio of brainstorming/concept development to actual art creation was really high. I could spend time in advance thinking of a prompt and then do the actual art in a single session.
It’s harder to consider larger pieces at the moment because if they can’t be done in a single session, then other factors come into play. Each time I return to a piece I’d have to find my rhythm with it again. Plus I’d have to intersperse the completion of the piece with the day job – and an outstanding piece of art can be quite the distraction to work with.
Is it possible to cut down on other demands on my time in order to focus on art? One would think that these recent periods of isolation would have been a great field to explore this in, and my failure to do produce any art in this time perhaps proves that it isn’t the solution. But on reflection I just failed to put any focus on art – I’ve been setting speedrunning goals, twiddling with coding side projects, I taught the cat new tricks, I invented some new recipes, I practiced my accordion, I played quite a few rounds of Terraforming Mars.
My father, a retiree, said a couple nights ago that he too thinks up too many projects and can’t make enough time for them. Oh woe, I thought that was only a problem for me presently because I work during the week! To think it will forever be like that. I guess I may need to stop indulging my wandering mind and examine if I truly want to be doing more art, and set goals accordingly.
Still, I can’t help but envy John – who is presently working 2.5 days a week – and wonder what I could achieve if I had the same amount of free time, if not more.
Looking Into the Mirror
I think at this point in life, I’m no longer struggling to carve out my identity. I just… am who I am. So I don’t feel a need to prove myself in art (or coding, or getting a top spot on the Untitled Goose Game speedrun leaderboard…). And while it’s comfortable to not need to pursue those things I’ve failed to find alternative sources of motivation.
Maybe I’m less upset about the lack of art specifically, insomuch as my actual concern is mourning this lack of motivation. What used to drive me to post during Blaugust?
After all that rambling I think I’ve finally thought of a couple things that I ought to put up here. I made a dang fine yuzu crème brûlée recipe that should probably be properly documented (Twitter threading didn’t treat it well). Maybe I should scan and touch up some of my Inktober pieces. Maybe some other old art ought to be documented here too. Maybe some of my coding escapades could afford some introspective blog posts. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll find it in me to make some new art.
Thanks for reading, hopefully I’ll see you again before the end of the month.