On Being Productive

I meant to post this in January.

But I do not respond well to deadlines. When I was a child, I liked making schedules but never followed them. In fact, I enjoyed breaking my own rules.

I am now old enough to internalize my anxiety… but this is what gives me hope. I still genuinely care.

I care to be productive… and I believe it is possible to avoid the feeling that I am wasting my time.

I am not proposing anything that has to do with discipline. I am saying I think I can harness the anxiety I feel and channel it into being productive.

Much like “tracking.”

I keep a daily dairy, where I make note of very specific things. If I do anything that goes towards my YouTube channel, for example, I write it in blue. If I don’t see any writing in blue for a couple of days, I start to wonder about myself and where my life is going.

In the last few months, I believe I have been more productive than I would’ve been if I did not keep a diary. (Sorry, though, for being away from this blog… for anyone still out there who might read this.)

I have a 40 hour work week, which only allows me to do creative work a couple of hours in the morning on weekdays and a few hours each day on my days off. This adds to my sense of impending doom, as I know that if I don’t get something done the first couple of hours of the day, I will not get anything done that entire day.

This usually leads me to do something, even if it’s a very small task.


This past year, I’ve been having a lot of fun buying new supplies, and I spent time swatching watercolors and experimenting with them in my scketchbooks. I did this with no plan, no intention of working on any long term goals. I just wanted to play.

In October, I tried to surreptitiously edge myself into a sort of discipline. I participated in Inktober and painted 13 glorious birds. I learned a lot. I also felt exhausted and after a couple of attempts, I actually have yet to go back and finish the sketchbook.

I tried drawing each bird realistically, and then treated the brush the way I would a pencil, like I was still drawing and not painting.

Each bird showed me where I am, technically, and how I much I need to learn about perspective and proportions.

I know I have a lot to learn. But, honestly, it’s not the fun part of painting… and while I develop my skills, I want to continue to have fun.

Can I do both?

Of course. The fun part is being creative.

Even though I may be drawing something mundane, there is my way of drawing that something.

While experimenting with the colors, I have to think about which colors look good together and how I might apply them and what marks I can make.  

I found myself thinking of mundane scenes recently and how I could compose them.

There is the mood the color palette would help to create. There is line quality and how they might flow on the surface. There may be something happening or something is about to happen.

Overall, I think I am moving towards storytelling. Which is very vague… but I think I’m naturally moving on from just painting a figure with no context. I learned that this is not fun… for me…

What’s fun is telling the story the subject is in.

I know this is a matter of taste. This is the direction I find myself going towards and I understand this is a personal journey…

… and that’s all… Each day, I believe I am stepping towards something… even though it may not be clear today what that is.

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