Goals…Discouragement or Motivation?

One of the most difficult things for me to deal with is to fail to meet a goal. Not particularly when I procrastinate and run out of time, or begin but never finish, but whenever I put all of my time and energy into a project, finish it, but fail to get the results I had expected and hoped for. Being a bit of a perfectionist in some things, I usually expect that if I work on something hard enough it will be a success, so when it doesn’t, I have a problem!

Many times in the studio I become discouraged for this reason. In working toward my artistic goals, I often must remind myself of the importance in finding a balance between the artistic expression of an idea and certain end goals, such as entering exhibits and selling pieces. While professional artists engage in many tasks related to running a business, the skills are not always taught in colleges and must be acquired after graduation on their own. So, at times discouragement and self-doubt creeps in and hinders creative and professional development.

Backing Lifeweaving #3
A Studio Goal: Lifeweavings #3, Quilt the Top, Finish Details and Photograph...Enter Into a Juried Exhibit.

As my week begins there are previous projects to finish and new tasks to begin. I plan to turn on music (instrumental, no vocals), focus, and quilt Lifeweaving #3. For awhile I need to push myself to create many art pieces of various sizes, experiment with techniques, and play around with ideas–with less concern about the end goals. Some research shows that this approach results in more creative outcomes than working very slowly on only a few pieces. Perhaps it frees the creative, right-brain processes or just allows for a break and new motivation to continue.

Though disappointing at times, I need to continue working and realize that perhaps not all goals are meant to be met…

15 Replies to “Goals…Discouragement or Motivation?”

  1. I appreciate your vulnerability – I hope and pray that many of us will find ways to join you on this difficult part of the journey! 🙂


  2. I am bursting to comment, I can relate to your thoughts on so many levels. I was just reading a post by Lisa Call along the same lines. Isn’t it interesting how many artists are driven to create and so emotionally tied to the expectations they place on themselves? For me it is depressing to say the least, to work on a piece and begin to dislike the way it is developing. I find that so disappointing to the point of depression. But what is often surprizing, if I push ahead it often works past that point and I end up really liking the end result.
    I feel like a little child having a tantrum when those moments happen, I’m going to sulk & feel sorry for myself! Those expectations we place on ourselves can be so discouraging.
    Barb Harms


  3. Barb, thanks for sharing your thoughts on this…it definitely is a creative “process”, which I guess is what makes it different from an assembly line piece. Since it is self expression, perhaps that is why there are emotions tied to it. What you said about “…if I push ahead it often works past that point”…I think is an example of that. I will check out Lisa Call’s post! Thanks. joni


  4. Thanks so much for this link…I look forward to reading it. I hope other readers will also find it of interest! Whenever people can tune out the “judgmental” self-feedback, creativity probably is freer to flourish…I like what SARK says about micromovements…. joni


  5. Hi Barb, I’m not sure you asked a ? but to clarify what I was saying…I was thinking about the idea of the linear, “left-brain” part of us–analyzing and critiquing [which definitely is helpful & has it’s place!], but then the “right-brain” brainstorming and creating needs equal time to experiment, play @ with ideas, and improvise! Both important…an integration and balance…joni


    1. Jayne: Good stuff, the art as well as the music. (I love , btw. Among other treats, I love that she’s poestd the lyrics to all her songs; completely eliminates the guesswork that normally requires you to wonder, Hmm, I wonder if these lyrics on the Web are what the songwriter really wrote? (Dylan’s site does the same thing.)Funny, I gave up on turntables years ago. Tough decision not least, because some albums were completely irreplaceable, to say nothing of the cost of getting all the cassettes/CDs/MP3s to replace the others. I say funny because last year I bought one of those LP-to-digital turntables, enabling me to give one more spin to several of the irreplaceables.


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