remarks and observations

“I Could Do That”

Photoshop-manipulated photograph to make it look old and worn
Made with the help of Adobe Stock as well as Nigel French’s lynda.com course, Photoshop for Designers: Textures

Lately I have been doing a bit of self-analysis. I’m trying to identify the habits that are keeping me from moving forward. Since work is really slow these days, I’ve had time to mess around. And mess around is what I’m doing. In the most positive light, I call it learning, exploring. And it is that, BUT it is also procrastination.

Here’s a thing that I’ve learned about myself —or more accurately, something that I’ve admitted to myself. I see many beautiful things, creative things, inspiring things in my day-to-day life, and when I see them, I often say to myself “oooo, I’d like to do that!” Here’s where the bad habit comes: next I say, “oh sure, I could do that.”

What I rarely do is act on it. Okay, Yvonne, go do it then. I’m exactly like the (now cliché) visitor to a modern art museum who sees paint randomly splattered on a canvas and says, “well even I could do that!” And the thing is, that person is right, she could. But does she?

In my moments when I’m ready to sit down and make This Amazing Thing, I often discover not only that I don’t know how, but I don’t even know how to start. In fact, making it is not as easy as it looks. It still takes an investment of time. It still takes an idea to begin with. And it often takes more than that.

In the end, it is always humbling— this trying to make something amazing. (I recommend never trying to make something amazing.) Or even worse, trying to do something like what someone else did. It’s never going to be what another person made.

What works best for me is to see what tiny thing I can do. In my head, I can’t begin with grand plans. In my head, I must start as small as possible. It is only then that I actually make progress— or rather, make anything.

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