Creative Business Musings

Butterfly July – 30 Day Challenge Final Thoughts

I am proud to tell you I met my challenge of painting a butterfly each day, but the desired out come of motivation and inspiration failed spectacularly.

Butterfly July 2020 is over and thank goodness because I was over it.

In hindsight I should have been more aware that my style had significantly changed since the last time I did a 30 day art challenge in 2017. My paintings are much more detailed and I like to be more visually accurate, which lead to many, many hours of researching and painting to meet my own standards.

Despite only being around 13x10cm big, I ended up spending anywhere from 4-8 hours on each painting. WAY more time that I had planned and way too much time for the price I was charging for them – it ended up being maybe and average of $13 per hour – not even minimum wage!

It was even more frustrating because I knew I was doing it at the time, but I could not stop myself for adding just a little bit more. And it totally exhausted me.

Once the challenge was finished, I had 26 final paintings, only three of which I had sold, and a maybe 50 new Instagram followers. I know it wasn’t just about the numbers, but it felt so disheartening.

To make matter worse, instead of filling me with inspiration and motivation, it totally burnt me out. I just didn’t care anymore – nobody cared (not a sob story, just my little paintings weren’t really relevant in the world right now), nobody was expecting anything of me, if I disappeared it made no difference. All the work I had done made no difference. High expectations and the effects of four months of COVID/lockdown feels rolled together into one nagging question

What was the point of all this?

It is now October and I am still struggling with motivation to do anything creative. All this time in my own head and the uncertainty of the world is sitting like a huge stone wall right in front of me.

I don’t mean to be a downer about all this, I know these challenges can be super useful and I am definitely not advocating to stop doing them. I guess I just wanted to say hi and explain my absence.

Thanks for reading my confession. Have you experienced a similar burn out? I hope this one doesn’t last too long – any advice on how to get out of it is most welcome!

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