Thoughts on Decision Fatigue and Artist’s Block

Happy New Year everyone!

It is that time again. That time of the year when people reflect and ponder about how to make their new year better then the previous one. These thoughts usually lead to some type of a new year’s resolution. Whether that resolution is followed through or not is another story, nevertheless, the tradition is a common practice.

Now I could make a post about mistakes of resolution-making and reviewing techniques about how to keep them, but I won’t. There are others far more qualified and experienced than I am to share that information. What I can reflect on is probably the most common mistake of New Years resolutions and how it has connected to my creativity. Perhaps it connects with yours?

Chances are you have read blog posts, articles or books about how one of the biggest mistakes you can make in setting goals and resolutions is setting too many at once.

For me the biggest eye-opener. The way it was explained to me was like this.

Imagine you are at a shooting range. You have a gun with one bullet. Fire the gun at the red target below.

Remember you got one shot. So aim and shoot.

Not so straightforward is it?

Coupled with the fact that you only have one shot, each goal and target is the same size. You could just pick one and shot. Or, if you are like me, you’d just raise your hands up and go “ah screw this,” and walk away. I believe psychologists call this decision fatigue.

Lately I have been having this problem with my sketchbook and drawing habits. Usually I am pretty good about getting a few minutes worth of drawing in the morning. Preferably in the morning before eating.

Although I must admit I have been out of the loop, I have been keeping notes to myself about what to sketch. These thoughts usually come to me when I am doing something that doesn’t require too much thinking. Like driving, taking the bus, grocery shopping etc. When that happens, I make a note of it in my phone, and mentally note to myself to do it when I get home. Unfortunately, all this has done is created a list of ideas on my phone and my sketchbook is unmarked.

Decision fatigue has struck again.

In the past, I have spent many mornings with a blank sketchbook in front of me, pencil in hand, only to have the time lapse by with nothing to show for it. Having a list in my phone has helped eliminate lack of idea forming, but in doing so it creates a chance for you to make a decision.

So which battle to pick?

Facing the blank page, or facing the list of ideas to choose from?

I suppose the answer is different for everyone. But let’s face facts, decision fatigue is a bummer, and can kill creativity if you let it.

With that being said, I think I will just start here, with the blank page and pencil.

This time I am just making a random gesture line. Building from there, I keep going.

Now it is starting to feel good.

Just starting has got some momentum going.

I am going to wrap up this post and hit the sketchbook for a while longer.

Happy New Year everyone! May the new year be prosperous and enriching!