As you sit and grab your coffee, tea, or whatever favorite morning beverage you usually drink alongside this post, let’s have a little chat.
Today’s topic is patience and anxiety.
If patience comes easy to you, I’m jelly. If patience comes easy to you in all aspects of life, I’m peanut butter and jelly with green tea and equally green bananas.
Patience doesn’t come easy to me, and I find that it’s a hard art to keep in this day where we can almost make things happen the instant we have them. Even if you’re not an author, you might be able to relate.
There’s always someone telling us: Do this and your business startup will make millions! Do this and you’ll have millions of followers! Do this and your readership will skyrocket!
So naturally we try it and then…poof.
Or maybe we see a little tick, but it’s not anything substantial.
The part that a lot of people leave out of their titles and clickbait ads is how much patience is required.
There’s the patience needed to actually get through a book draft, which is hard enough for many. There’s the patience to not shake the computer screen when promotions only show you the numbers of a sales drop and not the cause. There’s the patience to keep chipping away at social media outlets even when it feels like nothing is working. There’s the patience for editing. Patience for book covers.
Sometimes it gets so bad for me that it feels like it not even the current problem anymore. I feel like I need patience for patience.
If any of these sound like you, hey you’re not alone at least. There was no patience class in school, or stress management class, or anxiety management (or at least for me there wasn’t).
But the good news in all this is that I’m learning. Calm has a small part of a program dedicated just to learning more patience, and I’ve had that on repeat these last few days because I’ve picked my old drawing hobby again.
And it’s been hell.
It’s like all the anxiety and fear that left me alone in writing and the ones that never bother me when I make music, suddenly got dumped on me during drawing. It was overwhelming at first, hearing all that negative self-talk being extremely loud and obnoxious. Sometimes it got so awful that I kind of just had to put the paper down.
But me being me, I couldn’t just sit there and take that. I’m one of those people that can’t stand being ordered around. I don’t even like being ordered around by my own self. I’ll be damned if I let a passing feeling tell me what to do.
So I tried again.
Every time I felt myself getting unhappy, I’d go back to Calm’s patience meditation and remind myself that I’m expecting too much too soon and that I’ve got to take baby steps like every other artists out there.
Drawing, I feel, is a harsher environment than writing because with writing, you can fix it in the next draft and polish the same thing until it shines.
Drawing doesn’t baby you. Sure you can draw over stuff (assuming you’re using pencil or something that’s erasable), but if you suck, you see it right away and it’s demoralizing.
There’s also the fact that there’s so much to learn at such a tender stage. Perspective, human anatomy, color, light and values, proportions, creature design, hair, drapery and wrinkles… Even if you’re motivated to work through your mistakes, the sheer amount of shit that you have trek through is tiring. This is probably my biggest problem area.
Anxiety, I will punch in the face, but impatience is sneaky. Impatience entices me with stuff I like doing more and other stuff that I should be getting done, like writing, and by the time I notice it’s getting me, the damage has already been done.
But that’s where my new budding patience is coming in.
Thursday, I finally managed to pick up the sketchbook for a few hours to practice doodling characters. Maybe by the time you all read this, I’ll be able to keep up that duration.
But baby steps folks.
Always patient baby steps.