Let me show you my best painting secret!
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Do you reach the middle of the year and wonder what happened in the past six months? It can be a shock to discover that your resolutions are lying in shreds or have been forgotten. What about the plans you had to start new creative projects when you retired? Surprisingly, those plans have fallen away even though you have reached retirement. Or you have more time now that the children have gone to university? What is holding you back?
Don’t worry. This is normal, but there are easy ways to get yourself back on track.
Assess What is Important
This is a good time to assess your retirement goals. Sometimes we make plans, but circumstances change, and your plans are no longer relevant. In this case, let those plans go together with any guilt. For example, that painting workshop in Tuscany may have been a tad overambitious for your present circumstances. Put it aside, and look closer to home for an alternative. No blame and no hard feelings.
You Have Time
I know that you would not do this to yourself, but there are people who will procrastinate, thinking they have all the time in the world. There is not enough time! Yes, there is.
The time is now. If you are physically and mentally capable of doing what you want to do, then you will find the time. Still not sure? Here are a few steps I took to free up more time for painting.
Now Dig DeeperYou have now assessed you goals and plans. You have thrown out the impractical ones, and what’s left is a list of current activities that you want to start with. Now what?
Focus on the One Thing
Many will disagree, but I find that if I focus on just one or two critical goals then chances of success improve considerably. Maybe it is the 80/20 principle at work? Focus on the 20 % that works and get 80 % returns.
A Quick Example
When I was trying to decide on a career change into fulltime painting, I was nervous about loss of income. I was worried about not being able to sell paintings. So, in 2009 I resolved early in the year to produce paintings for a Christmas market.
I had to paint in my spare time, but that was all I had to do. Produce 10 high quality paintings in as many months. End result was a successful market, and I felt more confident about embarking on my art career. The market was one important but doable part of the much bigger goal of career change.
Being patient sounds trivial at first, but I have seen so many people scuttle their plans at the slightest provocation. Frustration with a spouse, a neighbour dispute, traffic or some household chore can spark a bad mood and an excuse to put off what you need to do now to further your creative pursuit.
The other approach is to lose patience with yourself if your art does not go to plan. You may blame your lack of talent or skill and drop the project, when in truth you have all the talent required. Now you simply need a bit more patience with yourself to persist and learn the skills over time.
Remember that giving up guarantees failure, while persistence is more likely to guarantee success.
Find Your Space and Claim It
A dedicated space to work in and come back to later is important. Packing and unpacking your materials can become a hassle. Cue another excuse to stop altogether.
If you have a room or shed you can use, then lucky you. My first studio was the corner of our bedroom. Fortunately, my wife was supportive and encouraged this option.
Amazingly, I could create many paintings in only thirty square feet. Look up innovative ways to make the most of a little space. Pinterest is a great resource for ideas like this.
Read More Non-Fiction Books
I had to add this idea because books are my mentors. If you are not fortunate enough to have a real live mentor to paint with, for example, then I am sure you will find a book to help and inspire you.
Many great artists, leaders and entrepreneurs have put their struggles and triumphs within the covers of a book. How lucky we are able to read about them for only a few dollars!
This list is short and practical. But even if it were a one-item-list, nothing happens if you do not take action. If painting is your thing, then put some paint on the canvas. Don’t just buy a canvas. Get the paint on.
If writing is your thing, then put words on the page/monitor. If it is quilting, then sew some material together. Momentum is what you need.
That is it. Will you be able to get your creative plans back on track?
Need some more inspiration? Check out my New Book, An Artist's Survival Guide:
This article was also published on Sixty and Me by Malcolm Dewey