On My Mind – 02 – The Boring Middle


I haven’t felt like doing art lately. I still find myself going to the websites of different art courses and looking wistfully. There is a big part of me that wants to jump in and take all the classes. Watercolors, sketching, art journaling, give me all of them. 

But here’s the truth: there’s almost no magic to learning something new. Sure, there’s proper technique and there are materials that make it easier than others and there’s perspective, etc etc. But the biggest trick in learning something is putting in the hard work. It’s not the shiny beginning but the boring, long, dull, windy, and frustrating middle that matters most. You don’t just start. You have to show up again and again and again. Day after day. Even when you think you suck. Especially when you think you suck. When you’re tired. When you are frustrated, when you want to give up. When you believe there’s no way you can ever get this right. When you are convinced you have no talent whatsoever (and then remember that you believe in growth mindset.) 

If you want to see results, you have to show up again and again. This isn’t just true for art, of course. It’s true for music. For eating well. For exercising. For work. For school. For anything where you want to achieve consistent and positive results, you have to do the work. 

There are times when the work feels like fun. Some people love running. The endorphins, the joy of the fresh air on their face, and their feet hitting the dirt road is all they seek. To them, exercise is not hard work. Some people love cooking. Preparing nutritious meals is not their boring middle. There are things that we love to do so we make time for them. Like I do with books.

But then there are things that don’t come naturally. That require discipline and planning to do. Art is like that for me. (So is exercising and eating well!) And even though I’ve loved doing the monthly art pieces, I just haven’t been feeling it. And because I am not feeling it, I am not showing up regularly. And because I am not showing up regularly, I am really out of shape. So it’s that much more frustrating when I do show up because I’ve rusted. 

So that’s what on my mind this week. How do I get myself to fall in love with art again? How do I make room for it in my daily life? How do I continue to foster this because I know that when I do do art regularly, I am always happier. Always.

It’s just a matter of finding my way back.



On My Mind is a year-long project for 2018. You can read more about my projects for 2018 here.

4 comments to On My Mind – 02 – The Boring Middle

  • CarrieH

    I like your title, “the boring middle.” So much of our lives can be stuck there as we move from beginner to more accomplished, although that middle part often allows us to grow the most. Good luck getting over the hump of getting going again.

  • Emie

    I, like you, looked at all the bright, shiny new classes being offered for the start of 2018. I realized that I really only just needed to get started on my own. Those classes aren’t going to do the work for me, that’s up to me to do. So, I decided, no new classes for me. Just start showing up. Simply Begin.

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