hi everyone. as you can see, i have "disappeared" again. i have done a few sketches in recent days (i haven't posted them on the internet) but before that, i hadn't drawn ANYTHING AT ALL in about two months. i also have barely talked to anyone on deviantart, tumblr, or twitter in at least that amount of time. and yet, these are all things i actually LIKE doing!! so why would i go such a long time without doing these things? in this journal i will give you a detailed explanation of how this happens. i know that i've talked about this before. not everything i say here is new. but i did some thinking about it a few nights ago and wanted to share my thoughts. you don't have to read that part. if you don't want to read it then i'll just give you a quick status update:
as i said, i did finally draw a little bit recently. i've been doing some practice sketches. i might post these on twitter: twitter.com/sachiprecious
also, i have two contest prize illustrations to do, both in color. one i haven't started, and one i am sketching. i am almost done with the sketch but i haven't colored anything in a few months
and i don't want to color someone's contest prize with my rusty skills that haven't been used in months. so i am drawing and coloring another illustration in order to practice coloring. then i'll color the contest prize. then i'll do the next contest prize of course. btw, the manga i mentioned before, "Samiyah and Zahir," is also in progress.
now here are my thoughts from the other night. it's kinda long, so again, i am not saying everyone has to read it. but if you have problems with #procrastination and lack of #motivation, you'll want to read this because it might be relatable to you.
i realized that when it comes to things i like doing (drawing, making manga, communicating with people on social media about art and anime), i have "on" and "off" periods. "on" means that i do it often. "off" means that i don't do it.
for years i have had a pattern of alternating between on and off periods, on these things i like doing. each period lasts about two or three months (but there are exceptions). in other words... i don't know how to be continuously productive.
i don't know how to be on without switching to an off period. i don't understand other people who work on long-term projects or continuously updating their blog/website for a long time.
i thought working with others instead of working by myself would break the pattern, so sometimes i've tried to start projects with other people. it didn't break my pattern. i thought working with someone else would make me feel more productive because i will not want to let other people down. instead it happened anyway.how do you get stuck inside an "off" period?
answer: whenever i begin an off period i don't realize it. i never see it as 'okay now i know i am not going to make progress for two months.' i don't realize that i am beginning an off period that might last weeks or months. instead i think 'i got lazy temporarily. yeah i messed up but i'll do better tomorrow and get back on track.' or a variation: 'i was busy with some other thing in my life today but it's okay because i can just get back on track tomorrow.' and i think that every day for many weeks. i keep thinking 'it's only ONE more day.' then after a whole lot of days pass, i finally realize, 'oh wow, i spent a long time being 'off!'' if you're wondering why i can think "it's only one day" for so many days in a row, this paradox explains it: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sorites_…
think about how that paradox confuses your brain. it's related to the way my brain is confused in this situation. to make things worse, the more days that go by where i am off, the more strongly i believe that i will get back on track tomorrow!!! so what i'm saying is that the false 'i will get on track tomorrow' belief STRENGTHENS with each day! and then, of course, more off days go by. and then i believe even more strongly, 'it's been many days by now! that means i will DEFINITELY' be on track tomorrow because this definitely ends tomorrow! i will be productive again for sure.'how do you get out of the off period?
answer: eventually i notice how long i have taken a break, and i feel so guilty/panicked/wrong/bad that over a few days i pull myself out of "off" and get back to "on." and the thing is, "on" feels refreshing because i haven't done it in a while.
question: what makes me go "off" in the first place? though maybe having an "off" day or two is normal, and so that's not really the problem, and my problem is the "yes i messed up, but i will do better tomorrow" thing... in particular, the fact that i keep thinking it multiple days. why don't you just force yourself to think of a number, x, and not go more than x days without progress? if x days have passed, force yourself to do it.
problems: how do i choose what number of days "x" should be? it's so arbitrary. you'd be surprised how bad i am at deciding on arbitrary things like this. and once i determine it, what if i let x days pass and now i am supposed to "force myself" that day, but i really really don't want to? what would be so bad about adding only one more day to "x"? and then, just one more? and then just one more, so on and so forth... (again, that's the heap paradox that i linked to earlier) also, the biggest question: how would i "force myself" without being miserable? if i am miserable then won't drawing/writing/social media turn into things i DO NOT like? right now they are things i like. but they will change into something i no longer like.if you like these things then why would you go off in the first place? you should be happy and eager to do things you truly like.
well, no. it's not perfect. you can't like something 100% of the time. there are going to be times when you don't want to do something you normally like. i want to constantly remain "on," but i don't mean literally every single day without skipping a day once. if i set up that high, unrealistic expectation, then when i have one "off" day i will feel like a failure and lose all motivation.
but, just like in the heap paradox where you can't tell where to draw the line between a heap and a non-heap, i can't tell where the line is between "normal taking a break, normal temporarily pausing," etc. and "being unproductive, lazy, bad habit, long-term off period." again, i am bad at determining arbitrary things like this. it's not like, for example, "if you take a break for three days you are 100% totally fine and good, but if you take a break for four days you are lazy and have bad unproductive habits" as if there is a hard line between three and four. that's not true. but it is true that at some point there is a point where you have developed the bad habit of being continuously unproductive. i am at that point but i am not sure how and when i got there. i also don't know how to change.
how do i for the most part continuously remain "on" without being miserable??? i realize that sometimes i will have to "force" myself. okay then. but i don't want "force myself" to be the main solution here that i have to use the majority of the time. if i have to constantly force myself the majority of the time then that means i truly do not want to do it and i should stop. i do have some big goals* i would like to reach with my drawing, writing, and social media. but i am miserable the entire time i am working toward those goals, then why do i have those goals? but i don't want to give up my goals. so i want to achieve these things without being miserable.
however, as i mentioned earlier, when i get back to "on" after being "off" for a while, it feels refreshing/exciting because i haven't done it in a while. in other words, if i had been continuously doing it then it would not feel refreshing or exciting. instead it would feel boring, stale, and miserable.
if you are confused by all this, the blog "wait but why" has some excellent articles on procrastination and lateness that explain how my mind works!!waitbutwhy.com/2013/10/why-pro… waitbutwhy.com/2015/03/procras…waitbutwhy.com/2015/07/why-im-…
(the "not this minute, the next minute" thing is what i do with "not this day, the next day.")but seriously why can't you realize you are having an off period and do something to stop it? isn't it obvious, when the off period is happening?
actually, no, it's not obvious. if i KNEW that i was about to take a long break and begin an "off" period, don't you think i would do something to stop it?? if i knew it was coming then i would be prepared and prevent it from happening. so when it comes to off periods, there is no way i would be able to already know before one happens. the only way i know is after it already happened. hindsight is 20/20. it's hard to recognize, in the beginning or middle of an off period, that i am in one in the first place.
(also, that's why i rarely announce in advance that i will have a "hiatus" from deviantart or anywhere. it's because i usually do not know that i am about to start a hiatus! if i already knew in advance that i will need to go on hiatus, i would be trying to do something to change my situation so i wouldn't have to go on hiatus.)the problem is that you say "i'll get back on track TOMORROW." if you simply told yourself that you can get back on track TODAY, everything would be fine."
answer 1: some days i really really don't want to do it. so i'd have to "force myself" which leads to the "miserable" problem i mentioned before.
answer 2: actually it's not always "tomorrow." rarely, i do make progress the same day! sometimes even the next day too! but i do not believe i will consistently do it day after day so i get demotivated. i have a big problem with believing i won't finish things/ reach goals. and that scares me a lot and makes me feel nervous, and when i feel nervous i always procrastinate. sometimes i am able to listen to music or do something else to calm down and not feel tense, and then i can start drawing/writing/whatever. other times i remain tense/nervous and so i keep procrastinating.
so there you go, that's the main problem here i think. well aside from my complete lack of time management skills... it's the nervousness that comes with the idea that i won't finish what i start, i won't reach goals, and the fear of "what's the point of working toward a long-term goal if i will be miserable and forcing/pushing myself???"
now you can see why i have such trouble staying motivated (staying "on"). oh sure i do have some other things going on in my life that take my time and attention from these things here. but those other things aren't to blame (even though i would often use those other things as excuses). the problems here are that i feel too nervous and then the nervousness makes me procrastinate (i'll get back on track tomorrow") and the procrastination gets me trapped in the "off" period for a long time. and even when i try to be good and actually do things that make some progress, i don't believe my productive mood will last and then i just end up getting nervous again, and then i procrastinate, and then i lose motivation, then i am "off,"if you stopped being nervous and you were more optimistic, you would be able to avoid nervousness and procrastination, and stay motivated.
but i don't know how to do that. sure i can temporarily be productive sometimes but i don't know how to stay motivated enough to make it last.
i do read this really great blog by james clear... he writes a lot of articles on productivity and motivation. this is the best one...jamesclear.com/motivation
i read this recently and no it didn't magically solve my problem (or else i wouldn't be writing this journal!). but it definitely got me thinking. and that's how i was able to do some introspection and write this journal. i will keep reading his blog and other helpful articles on this topic. i really like reading articles about this kind of thing because it helps me think and become a smarter person.
i posted this journal not jus tto explain myself but because hopefully someone reading this has a solution. if you have one, please let me know. the only thing i can think of right now is to try to stop my brain from thinking 'i'll do it later.' that thought pops up in my brain a lot, so i will try to stop the thought most of the times that it pops up. however, i can't stop it EVERY time. as i said before, it's unrealistic to expect myself- or anyone else in the entire world!- to be in the on period perfectly 100% of the time. so don't expect that from me.
about replying: a lot of times, i am scared to reply to people's comments. but why? because if i do, i will begin the "on" period when i eagerly reply a lot... then later i will get to the "off" period. but people will have gotten used to expecting quick replies so they will expect it consistently, like it's my norm. then if i slow down or stop, people will be upset. so, it's easier to not reply at all. now people think that NOT replying is my norm. if not replying is my norm, i don't have to live up to expectations that i will reply a lot.
but if i don't talk to people, obviously that's bad... very very bad! i would be isolated from everyone!!!
(which kinda already happened by now...)
at this point i will have to say that yes i will reply to comments on this journal but at the same time i have to be honest by saying this doesn't mean i will always be here to reply. i might go into another off period later on.*what are my goals, anyway?
in case you forgot or don't know...
i don't have goals that normal people would understand. my goals are unusually high and ambitious, and don't expect me to change them because they are a huge part of who i am.
i have multiple mangas i would like to create... as well as countless ideas for illustrations that don't have anything to do with my mangas. i want to be self-employed, making money off my mangas and illustrations, so that i can fully devote myself to these things instead of having to fit them in around another job's schedule. and i want my mangas to become very famous, so that there are big fandoms created. i want to travel to conventions in order to meet fans of my mangas. plus i want to sell merchandise based on them. and maybe there could be animations or at least audio dramas of my mangas...??? hopefully. though those things aren't the top priority.