I have tried writing a “2016 summary” post for several days now, until I realised it is just not going to work. However, going through my personal notes I have found several post-its with some advice for myself. I liked some of them so much that I’ve decided to share it with you guys. 2016 has been an illuminating year for me in both painting and blogging, but I think that these lessons might be useful for people working in other creative fields. So here are 16 lessons that 2016 taught me.
- “I don’t feel like it” is a matter of choice. Thomas Frank pointed it out in this video that chanting “I don’t feel like it” will not actually stop you doing the work, it just gives you an excuse not to do it. Only amateurs keep waiting for inspiration, professionals work for a deadline.
- It’s only paper. What’s the worst that can happen? I am also one of those who easily get stuck by the sight of a blank paper, then after drawing the first line, things start to work like charm. But in truth this fear is all rubbish. If you screw it up, you only ruin a piece of paper, nothing else.
- An art school is not there to ruin your confidence. Yes, bad teachers actually exist, but it doesn’t mean it’s pointless to take advice from a professional.
- Stealing ideas is not a crime. We know it since Austin Kleon that all ideas are actually copied. However, if you do it for the sake of learning and don’t present it as your own piece it is not only acceptable but can actually help you learn a great deal.
- Get over excuses. I’ve known this before of course but it never hurts to remind.
- Visit exhibitions. Of course it’s cool to browse through Pinterest and admire other people’s work but you cannot compare it to actually seeing Picasso in the Art Gallery. You may not paint like him but it can give you excellent new perspectives.
- Painting doesn’t necessarily take long time. Water, papers, brushes, uh? Of course not. 15 minutes are enough!
- Inspiration can come from anywhere. Seriously. From fashion stores, books, TV ads.
- It is time to move out of your comfort zone and try new techniques. Okay, you are good at watercolours and hate colour pencils. Then grab those pencils and spend time with them. Just because you were lousy at colour pencils 5 years ago it doesn’t mean you still are.
- You don’t need heroic powers to take good photos. Yes, it takes some time to experiment with your home’s lights, backgrounds and props but the result is spectacular.
- There is life after Photoshop. I am forever in love with PS but if it’s unavailable for some reason it’s still not impossible to edit pictures.
- It is possible to write half a year’s blog posts in advance. Because life can come in the way and creativity is not always there at your command. During those times it is quite reassuring that there is always something up in your sleeve to be published.
- Automating is necessary
evilgood. I don’t like to automate my blog or social media posts because they can end up rather impersonal but I had to realise that doing everything manually will take away time from dealing with more important matters. After all, priority is to grow and become better, which takes time and energy.
- Blogger collaboration is good and useful whether it be networking via Facebook or writing guest posts. I would never have found so many great blogs had I not spent time with other bloggers on social media.
- Visit blogger events. Despite all excuses, it is also advised for introverts, because there are lots of other introverted bloggers out there, who might turn out to be good chums.
- It is okay to take a break. If you don’t manage to publish your post on time, it will be published a day or two later. Sometimes there are more important things in life.
Do you also list lessons you’ve learned the previous year? Share them in the comments below.