All you need is one simple idea
A common belief about artists and “creative people” (or as I like to call them, people) is that we do what we do because we love doing it.
This isn’t exactly wrong, but it’s backwards. I think you love it because you do it, not the other way around.
Let me explain.
When I took my very first woodcut class, I was sooo excited to learn this technique. It looked so fun and the results – these tactile, delicious handmade prints – were so tantalizing.
Then I actually put the chisel to the woodblock and was like… oh this is really hard and super frustrating.
And the results were so bad. I’m not being self-effacing here. My first woodcut was genuinely awful. I’d show you but it’s long been destroyed – and thank goodness. Seriously.
I didn’t love this medium right away.
I wasn’t good at it right away.
In fact I kind of sucked at it. But I kept going anyway, because I had school assignments and because I’m determined as hell.
Plus I’m reallllly obsessed with vintage botanical prints and like, NEEDED to make it work.
Fast forward many years and I’m totally blown away that I now exhibit and sell my woodcuts to amazing people all over the world. Like, what even?
And what I learned along the way is that doing it a lot over and over again is what made me love it, not the other way around.
This approach takes a certain amount of faith. You have to learn to fall in love with the process and not chase the result.
Which is great news, because I don’t know about you, but I fall into the trap of trying to “get somewhere” all the damn time.
Whenever you get caught in a horrible loop of confusion about your purpose, dissatisfaction about the place in which you currently find yourself, doubt about yourself and the future of your practice, your business, your health… the ONE THING that can reliably jolt you from that garbage energy is to simply sit down and do your work.
Thinking about a problem over and over again in circles has never solved anything in the history of everything forever. You already know this.
Do something. It doesn’t have to be big, grandiose, elaborate or complicated. Just sit down and start. Put pencil to paper. Type words onto a page. Sharpen your chisels. Fill out the form. Whatever.
Give us what you got. Start stacking those bricks one at a time. Before you know it you’ll have a whole damn building.
Now I’d love to hear from you. What are you building, brick by brick? What action do you take when you find yourself in a rumination rut? Tell me in the comments below.
As always, from the bottom of my scritch-scratchety chisel heart, thank you for being here.
PS(sst).. The photos in this post are from a brand new woodcut in the works, LUNA, launching November 13. Click here to get on the list and be notified when this print is officially released.