Why I Almost Quit Writing After I Discovered Sketching, Drawing, and Painting

It took me a lifetime to connect with my inner artist. I recently discovered that I love to sketch, draw, and paint in watercolor. As a result of this newfound interest, I've lost interest in writing regularly. However, that's not a bad or good thing. It just is. And this is the story about the lessons I've learned.

Most relevant for any reader could be some of the "lessons learned" in discovering my inner artist. As with learning to be a writer, I have to remember to embrace my beginner's mind and trust that if I give the work my best effort, I can improve over the long run.

"I Need to Write More," I Told Myself

Not long ago about mid-January, I made a vow to myself that went like this. “Self, it’s time to write every day and repurpose all your great stuff into another book nobody will buy or read.”

I did write more, but not every day because the business of my life owns me; I’m a strategic business coachsultant. Yes, that’s right. I have a day job that enables me to make a great living. While I do get paid some to write, I mostly help other business owners with their strategic planning, sales, and marketing. I’m a “coachsultant.” I may have even made that word up because I’ve never heard anyone else use it, nor seen it in print.

I need to keep doing this because I don't believe in my heart that I can make a full-time living as a painter. Heck, I just bought a book about Michael Angelo. There's no way I'm going to be a professional artist in this lifetime. But then again, maybe I don't need to compare myself as an artist to any of the greats any more than I need to compare myself in business with anyone to feel great about who I am or what I do. I can just be me.

All of this to say, for now, art for me will remain a hobby. And if someone is kind enough to offer me money, or food even, or a Like, I will probably cave and send them a cool print that costs me another $7 plus shipping and handling. I sense this is my subconscious mind telling me I could make up for some of my bad Karma sooner if I give away my art and deny myself more. Stupid, I know.

The younger me played lots of sports, never art unless you call photography art, which I suppose we must. The older me, the one I live with now who has successfully dodged the COVID-19 bullet, still loves sports, but mostly bicycling, yoga, and hiking because I’m older now, like I said.

I almost love practicing my art as I do riding my bicycle 50 miles and then needing a long nap and sympathy from my wife, who will merely pity me again for being the fool I am. But alas, I could be an artist. So it's good to be a little nuts, I suppose.

Art is fun most of the time. There have been times I wished for an instant flame thrower after looking at my work and wanting to destroy all evidence of me being a non-artist.

Sometimes, I just get angry at my inability to paint well, and I hear this voice that says, "Dude, what are you so attached to that you have to ruin the fun of mixing any paint colors you want and splashing them with water all over the canvas and kitchen walls? Get a freaking grip and let the paint rip."

Lesson Learned: When I hear that voice, I know to let go of the outcome. Not one painting or drawing ever ends the way I wanted it to at the start. Art teaches me to let go.

Here’s an example of one of my newest creations in watercolor. I call it Warming Heart, but it has other names because people asked me to buy a copy. Instead, I gave away many prints and had the money directed to charity.

Warming Heart, watercolor by me.

If you're wondering why I would turn good money away, I believe it's because I don't think I'm an artist, yet. It's as if I was ashamed of being an artist. I'm playing with my inner artist to see where this goes.

Why would I be ashamed of being an artist when people give me compliments, tons of Likes and Love on social media, and small amounts of money that could add up? Imposter syndrome, I suppose. Or it could be latent head trash from the "I'm not good enough" corner of my magnificent magnifying mind. I'll get over myself if I keep the beginner's mind that helps me let go and have fun creating art and not being attached to the outcome like I used to be.

Before, every time I'd try to draw, sketch, paint, or do anything artist, I'd see my work as if a freak had created it. When I was younger, I was very hard on myself. Art, as I have learned, is a beautiful way to meet the subconscious teacher that lives within us all. I just needed to grow up, let go, and let the universe, the unconscious, my subconscious mind unwind.

Practicing art has been so much fun I've hardly had any desire to journal or write. Compared to writing an article such as this, painting, sketching, and drawing can seem more spontaneous, especially when I learn to go with the abstract.

Lesson Learned: Play, do, what you love. Playing in the abstract is playing with the unconscious and subconscious minds. What comes out can be fascinating when we learn to let go of control.

Here's an example of a more abstract piece I painted in watercolor. One thing I've learned about art that parallels my life is nothing comes out the way I initially thought, but everything can be beautiful once I learn to let go and accept what is. In other words, art teaches me to let go.

Body of Light, watercolor fresh off of my easle.

I grew up in New Hampshire, and because of this, I learned to love trees, mountains, and lakes. I love exploring today just as much as when I was a little kid. Now, I can explore the depths of my creativity with my newfound art.

Even when I was busy with work and life raising my family, we never stopped exploring nature together. But I never did any art. Instead, we did typical sports and school stuff all parents learn to do on the job. But when I wasn't working, almost all of my free time was dedicated to my family. If not, I focused on sports.

There was no time for art, so I thought. I had no interest in it then, but why not? Too busy, perhaps. Or just not ready.

Now, I look back on all the years, and I realize I always made time for what was most important to me. I still do. You, too. I just wasn't ready for art until COVID hit.

We make time for what we care most about. If I had known the power of art for letting go and tapping into the unconscious and subconscious minds, maybe I would have started sooner and let go faster.

Who knows. I have no regrets. But I have learned that there is great power in art when it comes to personal development; what I call the "inner game."

Lesson Learned: Make time for being creative sooner. Art can be a powerful tool for human transformation. Care about art.
Full Moonlight, watercolor by me.

In closing, even though I lost the will to write as much as I usually do, I trust that I will write when it is time to write. The same is true with sketching, drawing, and painting. If I trust my instinct and it tells me it is time to paint, I will paint it. Same with riding, taking a hap, or hugging my wife.

Here's the last painting I'll share with this article. It's called Art of the Heart, and I created it in watercolor. What's cool about this painting beyond all the love I got on social media for it, and compliments in the real world are that a friend of mine who owns a public relations firm asked me if she could make notecards out of them.

At first, I couldn't believe it. "Abby Fink wants to use one of my hack paintings for a notecard she will send to family, friends, and clients? No way." But she did.

After a while, I started getting the message; some people like my art. As well, some people could not care less about my art, or my writing, or anything I have to offer.

But at this stage of my life, unlike when I was young and owned a massive need for approval, I'm over that now. I follow my heart and practice whatever art I feel is right for me and the greater good.

Lesson Learned: Listen to and follow your heart. It knows the way for you.
Art of the Heart, watercolor by me.

Thanks for reading my article. I always appreciate constructive feedback and the sharing of my work. If you'd like to connect with me and learn more about what I do to help business owners and teams with strategic planning, digital marketing, and sales acceleration, click here to connect with me.

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