I'm not thinking

For a long time, I found it difficult to draw without listening to an audiobook. Hearing a good story is its own reward of course, but I mostly relied on them as a distraction from my own brain, which was usually hell-bent on questioning why I was bothering to draw in the first place, or wondering why I hadn't accomplished more artistically by now, and while we're on the subject, the picture I was working on isn't turning out very good. Clearly my brain wasn't my friend, so as a means of getting it to shut the hell up, I'd shove it full of Garrison Keillor, or J. K. Rowling (who I am convinced got me through my first year of art school) or any other writer who could focus my attention elsewhere. For those who believe that artists should actually take the time to think about what they're doing, I would have to argue that the exact opposite is true in my case; thinking was probably the best way to ensure that I wouldn't draw a thing.

In the studio the other day, however, it occurred to me that I haven't obsessively listened to audiobooks in awhile, and that I've actually turned a few off on occasion because I did want to concentrate on my work, and consider it without any distractions. It was a gradual process--it's not so much that the concerns my brain used to bring up (accomplishments, quality of work, etc.) weren't valid anymore, but that for whatever reason, I stopped caring about their implications. If one drawing came out poorly, I knew there would always be another one; if I haven't become the next big artist to hit DC, well, that was okay too, because at least I was still doing the sort of work that mattered to me in the first place. There was no "aha!" moment, either--it was just a matter of building up enough evidence to convince me that I was always going to create art, regardless of whatever insecurities happened to arise.