Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Personal Goals | Practicing Just to Practice.

Yesterday afternoon, I picked up a paintbrush for the first time in a couple months. It was a beautiful day outside with the sun shining and temps hovering in the high 60’s, so I brought my cup of water, canvas pad, and watercolor paints out to the patio and got to work finishing up the painting you see above.

It took me a few strokes to get back to the patterned consistency I’d seemed to nail a couple months back, but I eventually did get there. I mixed my greens and whites and yellows, I extended a few branches, I added a little tin pot. I finished up and felt pretty good at what I'd created.

So, I began to brainstorm ideas for my next “masterpiece.” I went to my favorite watercolor artist’s Instagram page for inspiration, and after finding a simple painting of a glass of sauvignon blanc, I decided to paint what I know: margaritas.

I quickly Googled a picture of a classic margarita glass for reference, got my ruler in an effort to be precise, and went to town. Or, I tried to anyway. No matter what I did, I could not draw an even glass. When I started to paint the actual margarita, the colors bled into the blue outlined glass. Then I noticed that, not only was the glass itself totally uneven, but it was also completely crooked on the paper. That marg wouldn’t stand a chance on an actual countertop – it would be tipping right over!

Not going to lie, I had a brief moment of self-doubt. You know the drill: “

I’m not any good at this, why am I trying? I’m never going to be as good as XYZ. What’s the point?” Wah, wah, wah.

To get deep here for a second, I’ve never been “the best” at anything, even as a kid. I’m not self-deprecating, I’m just being honest. I swam for 10+ years, but I had zero interest in swimming for college, so I never pushed myself at swim practice. I always won my heats, but rarely went to finals. I did gymnastics for years and years, but hated the conditioning. I usually placed 7th instead of 1st. I played guitar as a teenager and went to lessons for the longest time, but never practiced during the week.

For some reason, no matter the project, practice bored me. I just wanted to perform, but rarely did I put in the real work…hence why there was always “someone better.” Even now, I watch fellow bloggers and Instagrammers build their audiences and showcase their craft and I think, “maybe they just got lucky.” In reality, they just don’t document their struggle, their practice. They didn't "wake up like this" - they worked on this.

My goal for the rest of the year (and my challenge to you) is this: practice for the sake of practicing. Write just to write, paint just to paint, run just to see how far you can get. Don’t make a goal, don’t aim to be the next big thing. Just practice, and see what you learn in the process.


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