I think back to when I started writing. Right now, the best thing I’ve ever done has got to be my Sacred Knight series. Even still, I know that it’s not nearly as good as I wish it could be. I have come to realize that what I’m in is, as Seth Godin calls it, The Dip. What I feel coming on with this dip is a certain amount of fear.
Godin’s solution is simple — just keep moving forward through it. Reality plays a different part and causes havoc on the mind.
But even in walking through the dip, it’s important to remember how I got here. I didn’t start off writing Sacred Knight. No, I started off writing about cats and dogs. I tested horror tales, love stories, and young adult novels. I put twists on words of other writers. I’ve seen myself improve as I’ve learned the craft.
Now, as I realize I’m also in a dip with my painting and illustration, should I expect it to be any different? Just recently I’ve been sketching faces a lot, trying to really memorize the structure. I realized that I wasn’t really challenging myself at the moment. I was trying to master a learned skill. Is that really the action of a newbie? No, I was trying to move to the next level — I was working through the dip. I realized that I have actually hit an intermediate stage of my art. I am no longer a beginning and more importantly I no longer feel like a beginner. I once posed the question of when does one feel like an artist. I do believe I’ve found that moment.
Strange that I never had a moment where I never didn’t feel like a writer. That may be the blessing a being a child though. I was merely following a passion and too naive to know any differently. I, however, also do know what it feels like to not be a writer, but it was more like a light switch being turned off.
Seriously, where ever you are at, you must just keep moving forward and keep working at what you love. This is not about could or should, need vs. want, it is only about the doing which you either are or aren’t. If you “aren’t” then you are stopped — game over. If you are, then you will see improvement. It may not be the great leaps and bounds you wish you were making. I know that for my so-called illustration skills it isn’t (and it shouldn’t be since a majority of my time right now is going into writing). What has become important is that I can now look back and see my progress. I’ve come a long way. Someday I’ll look back on my face sketches and compare it to my current “masterpiece.” It’ll still be far from where I want to be, but at least I’ll see where I once was. Then I’ll be able to look forward again and continue through the dip.