Been a little quiet on this blog for a while- even though I am posting nearly daily- I've not been saying much... Well, I finally have something I want to say. Been stewing in it for a few days, trying to make it make sense in my head- also, I was playing the Waiting Game until my laptop was repaired.
Don't know if you all have noticed- haha- but I've been doing Inktober and Drawlloween all month (it's really been a struggle most days!) and I keep posting my stuff both here and on Facebook, and I don't get a whole lot of Likes, comments, or basically recognition of any sort. (I admit, I am a habitual "checker", in that every few minutes after I post something, I check to see if anyone has Liked it, commented, etc. Eventually, I only check every few hours and after a couple of days- feeling very dejected- I give up.) Admittedly, I do this to myself. It's not anyone's responsibility or duty to go around liking everything I draw or post. HOWEVER- it does eat at me sometimes. Especially this month when so many talented people I know are also posting daily, and it feels like they get lots of Likes, etc. Whether they do, in fact, or not does not always register in my brain. This is because I am human. No points deducted.
I found myself a few days ago talking to one of my best friends (who, by the way, is devastatingly talented, in my humble opinion), telling her that I was thinking about quitting Inktober and not trying anymore. I felt like it wasn't even worth my time to create this stuff if no one cares enough to even acknowledge me, right?
Cue the inner voice saying: Oh, but Amanda! You're supposed to be doing this for YOURSELF, not for others! Who cares what they think?! Yadda, yadda, yadda..." Yeah, I don't listen to her much...
And as right as the pain-in-the-butt is- ALL ARTISTS want SOME sort of recognition, right?! Whether it's your name in the credits of a film (me!), or mass-worship (not me!), or just SOMEONE to say, "Oh hey, I saw that thing. It was good." (Oh yeah- me!) And to deny the few people who DO comment and Like my work their recognition makes me a terrible person. Is it like saying those handful aren't enough? Well, yeah... I admit- I want more. Two people liked the last Inktober piece I posted on Facebook. Two. That hurts after all the time I spent on it, you know?
Cut back to me telling my best friend that I was going to quit: I was ready to do it. Put the pens away, put the paper away, and just chalk it up to another failure to complete something. But-- on a whim, I decided to try one more Drawlloween prompt: Zombie. My wholehearted intention had been to do a cartoon style classic zombie. Get out of my comfort zone, you know? Push myself. Instead, my brain took a nice detour. I made this.
AND I LOVED IT!
Is it a masterpiece? No. Do you need to see anything spectacular in it for me to feel what I felt when it was done? Hell no. It may not be the best thing I have ever drawn in my life, but when I put down my pen- I was HAPPY WITH IT!
HAPPY! And suddenly, I didn't care if anyone Liked it, faved it, commented on it or thought anything of it. (For the record: 12 people liked it and 3 commented.) Still don't care. I LIKED IT! I liked something I had drawn just when I had decided that I wasn't going to do it anymore.
This brings me to my point. For those of you who read this and draw- whether you are a CalArts alum, current student, there bound, or just on your own journey-- It is the hardest thing in the world to be surrounded by so many talented people you admire. You will feel "not good enough", you will feel dejected, lost, and maybe even insignificant. But none of that shit matters!!! Are you reading me?! What MATTERS is that you get back the fuck up and carry on! Don't let that crap get the best of you! You're going to let something that probably only exists in your mind beat you?
I am not trying to get down on anyone or make you feel bad- all I am saying is: Whatever your goal is-- it's got to be worth the pain and the sacrifice, otherwise-- why the hell are you even doing this thing? What?- you're only going to shoot for goals you KNOW that you will make? There is a movie that was released in the past few years (that will remain nameless) where the main character got everything he ever wanted. He never had to WORK for anything! When I talked to one of my professors about it, about why I didn't like the character- he asked me, "Well, did he ever have to fight for anything he wanted?" He didn't. The character had everything fall in his lap. No sacrifice- no sense of glory.
The characters in films that we root for and love are characters who have had to overcome GREAT things. Usually, it is not actually THEMSELVES- it's something like Nazis, or bias, or money, or a really really high pole. But for those of us struggling- we need to defeat ourselves. We need to silence that little voice inside us that tells us to quit. That it's "too hard", or "not worth it", or "we're just not good enough". Because I will tell you right here and now- if you want it bad enough, you will find a way. There is a reason I named my blog "Making Dreams Come True is a LOT of Hard Work". I have had the honor to learn it first-hand. And as much as I wish I could spare others the heartache that comes with it, I only hope you all someday find that thing you want so badly that you too will sacrifice everything in the hopes that it will one day be yours.
Keep drawing! (And post it so I can Like it!)