I began my 30-minute daily painting challenge in November of last year.
I realized I’d been putting my art making on a back burner and thought daily challenge would reinvigorate my practice.
My new challenge did help me tremendously to develop a habit to sit and paint every day. Once it became a habit, I’d feel uneasy if I hadn’t painted by mid-afternoon.
But, I was also getting really stressed out.
It wasn’t the act of painting that was stressful – for the most part, I looked forward to my painting time, and it was calming and relaxing – but, I began to pressure myself to create something my followers would “like” on social media.
I knew intellectually the daily creative practice was ultimately for me but would feel bad when I got fewer “likes.”
Rather than creating something I felt like creating, I began painting something I thought my followers would respond to better.
Rather than being playful and curious, I was carefully crafting works that were attractive and well put together.
And to do so in 30 minutes became so exhausting! It’s like creating a concept, writing your first draft, editing, and publishing an article all in 30 minutes. I was making so many micro-decisions while I painted, and that was not enjoyable at all.
Plus posting my artwork every day became a chore – not only did I spend 30+ minutes for prepping, painting, and clean up, but it took extra 30 minutes to take a decent photo, edit the image, write the captions and hashtags for Instagram, and schedule the post every day.
It was taking the time and energy away (not to mention my social media real estate) from the work I should’ve been focusing on, which is making products and promoting them to generate more income for my business.
So I decided to quit posting my paintings on social media after day 183.
I still sit down to make something every day. But rather than focusing on finishing a presentable piece in 30 minutes, I might just make a quick 10-15 minute painting or take longer if I feel like it. Or I’d collage. Or draw with pen and markers.
It just depends on what I feel like making that day, and since I don’t have the pressure to share and get more “likes”, I’m more relaxed and free.
The practice was actually enjoyable again!
(I still do share the peek of it on my Instagram Stories every day. But since the images go away after 24 hours, and you don’t have the “like” counts, it’s a lot less pressure.)
I realized it was more important for me to exercise my creative muscle every day than to create something that looks good every day.
I did lose some followers as a result, and I hate backing out of my word – but, I allowed myself to quit because it was no longer helping me to achieve my goal.
So far, not posting my work hasn’t stopped me from making art every day (I’m on day 213 as of the time of writing this article), and I call that a success!
Who knows, maybe I’ll change my mind again in the future, and that’s OK, too.
When you set a goal, it’s important that you pay attention to the little voice inside of you and course correct when something doesn’t feel good to you any more.
There is absolutely no need for you to keep doing something that doesn’t bring you joy or bring you closer to your goal! Your work will suffer in a long run, and you’ll eventually get burned out.
And, burnout, my friend, is the worst enemy of an artist.
We all suffer from the “like” addiction, and recognizing how it hinders you from expressing your authentic creative voice is the first step in overcoming that addiction.
Now, go do your thing 🙂 The world needs you to keep creating the things only you can!