Trying Too Hard

Argh. It took me a couple of weeks to realize it.

I looked through my daily sketches, and with each page, my drawings got tighter, smaller, and more and more scrunched and bland.

And then, I let go. I let go of an idea I thought I really wanted to accomplish. But, when I let it go (or you could say I gave up), the next pages show larger, looser, more playful images until I got to a simple flower last night that I really like. (You might see it on a card soon.)

How do you try without trying? Set goals without stifling yourself? I guess I’m figuring that out right now.

It reminds me of when I was teaching a literature class and I assigned all but two short stories in one collection. To my surprise, at least half the of the students were so curious about why I hadn’t assigned those two stories that they not only read them but requested that we discuss them in class!

Having a story assigned made it seem hard and forced. The same happened to my illustration idea–it felt difficult and forced, restrictive.

Still, having total freedom can create writer’s/artist’s block. I saw that when I was teaching, too. If the writing topic was too broad or completely wide open, only a tiny number of students thrived. The rest struggled miserably.

So, there must be a middle ground. For now, I’ll keep up with the daily effort through all of its ups and downs. I’m learning I have a theme I never tire of (flowers) as well as strange little creatures I had no idea were in my imagination, like these dancing couples:


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