‘Just the Tip’ is a new series that will feature just one tip on a new subject each month (or so) that I’ve found useful – topics will range from blogging to business to life in general. Hope you like it.
Toward the end of last year (right around the time I made the space-saving Christmas tree), I had a bunch of old projects printed and sent to the studio.
Which seems a little weird, now that I say it out loud. But I felt like I was starting to get into a rut and I wanted to be able to evaluate the work that I had done from that year in a more objective way. The idea was to have something physical I could pick up, look at up close, line up in a long row – to get a better understanding of what had already been done, what could use improvement, and what I should keep pushing.
Once everything arrived at the studio though, the photos just sat in a pile on my desk. For months. It is February after all and I’m just now writing this post.
I think I had been avoiding it because I was nervous about what I would see. I assumed I’d be too critical of what I had worked on – only be able to see the flaws or worse discover that the work I had done lacked cohesion and I hadn’t learned anything since college.
Back story to the cohesion thing… One of my college professors (that I really admired) once told me that my paintings made it look like I was schizophrenic. WTF? I learned later that what she actually meant was the 10+ paintings I had carefully placed onto the uneven easels at the front of the studio, ready for critique, looked like they had been painted by different people and I needed to find a theme to explore more deeply throughout. What I heard was that she thought I had no talent and would never amount to anything. As you can imagine, I felt completely crushed that day and for many days after BUT that sentence, that I can still hear in my head oh-so clearly, also helped me realize the importance of cohesion and has stuck with me ever since.
ANYWAY, back to the task at hand… I finally put that pile of prints to good use, laid everything out, and evaluated what I worked on in 2016. There were some hits, some misses, some misses that strangely still felt like hits, and a whole lot of in betweens.
I loathe the in betweens, so I dealt with those first. Then moved onto the hits, followed by the misses (which stung a little bit). And then there were the misses that felt like hits… The ones that you feel good about / really love, no matter how many Pinterest statistics tell you that it really just didn’t fly.
And after going through everything with a more objective eye, it felt pretty good to have done it. It was sort of like a weight lifted off of my shoulders. Something I could keep in mind for the future, but also move on from and feel like I was getting a start fresh start.
Soooooo….I guess you can say I’m a pretty big fan of (objective) self-evaluation. And I wondered if the collective ‘everyone else’ also regularly evaluates the work that they put out. Of course we all think about it when we’re in the act of making – do I like this, will other people like this, does this serve a purpose, etc, etc. But what about after….like WAY after? Maybe even in an attempt to pull yourself out of a rut? It (kind of unexpectedly) worked for me, so if you haven’t tried it, it might just be worth a try!