‘Why am I procrastinating?’ is a question I often ask myself. My thoughts often turn towards an aversion to uncertainty which has held me back in life a lot. Because I don’t feel in control, don’t know what I’m doing, I don’t make an effort and do some work.
I avoid drawing, painting, and going outdoors; I kid myself that I have more important things to do. When it really is the fear of the unknown that is the problem.
It is a constant struggle to avoid procrastinating. What makes it hard is creating in a void; no feedback.
I make my art, yet I feel unfulfilled by it. Instead of making a painting, I instead just sketch because that’s less risky.
I can’t imagine myself as an artist because of all this doubt.
Yet conversely, the spontaneous way of doing things also fascinates me. Abstract art is a process of reflection and intuition. You make it up as you go.
You might get lost, forgetting why you are making the painting, but by trusting yourself and the process, inspiration can keep hitting you.
‘Letting go of what is supposed to happen allows you to show up to what does happen.’
Creating a painting like this is how I want to work and live my life.
My fear of procrastinating in making art reflects the fears I have in the process itself. It is hard to let go of the need to know where this is going. To be in control, to have no fears or doubts.
Yet, by contrast, my writing is different. I have a clearer purpose here. The atheist theist debate project is a side hustle to my writing. But after many years of reading books and another decade of writing my blog, I have a clearer understanding of what I want to say.
Contrasted my writing with my art, and I feel a lot less certain about it.
Partly this comes down to the belief that I have to be doing something all the time. The results are agitation or boredom. Yet, I enjoy a break from the doing.
We rush around to try and shape our experience instead of letting it arise naturally. We commit to projects and tasks as a way of shaping conscious thought into something agreeable.
For example, thinking about philosophy is something I’ve practised before. But I keep doing it because it’s familiar, a well-trodden path. My experience is comfortable with re-treading the same ideas.
We rush to think because ideas are easier to deal with than feelings. Yet we need feelings to make decisions and give a texture to life.
To create art and life spontaneously, iteratively, is difficult; I avoid making art this way. Creating sketches, practising, saying to myself it doesn’t matter just to get myself to pick up a brush or pencil.
In life, I avoid going outdoors and meeting people because, again, it’s difficult for an anxious type like me.
There’s a loss of control and uncertainty in life, as in art. To create and live without a script is scary.
Yet there is a part of me that wants to take that risk; I need to. To face those fears and grow as both an artist and a person. To make art as a spontaneous act of insight and emotion that’s where I want to go.
Old habits of thought and behaviour are hard to change; it’s all about taking a risk.