Note to Self: Let Go of Your Ego and Stop Giving Up So Quickly

Hello, pigeons.

This week has been insane. A lot of things have been going on, and my nerves are not happy about it but I’ve been learning a lot and making a lot of… stuff. As usual, there are always projects on my mind. The difference is that I’ve decided I’m actually going to work on them (and stop letting the fact that I’m neglecting the others get in my way).

In the beginning of the week, I was learning how to use Adobe After Effects. Now I’m wrestling with RPG Maker. Both have been extremely frustrating and, at times, physically painful experiences.

The thing about learning something new is that it’s hard. It’s really hard. And when the thing you’re learning is a software, it can be extremely intimidating and confusing as you try to shove your ideas and style of problem solving into the mold that the developers have set for you. Usually that doesn’t work. Until now, when I tried to use a software and found that it wasn’t as comfortable as Clip Studio Paint for example, I gave up and said “this is too much to bother with right now, I doubt I can get it to work”.

But I noticed something a few weeks ago when I taught myself how to crochet. I had barely ever worked with yarn, so to save time (and materials) I went through dozens of tutorials to figure out the easiest one to understand. It actually took a few put together to finally figure it out…. but once I did, I was crocheting like crazy. I could read and understand the crochet lingo and patterns… all within the span of an hour or two.

When I was first wanting to try digital art, my expectations for the medium were low. I knew you could draw on it, and I figured out how layers worked. I never got frustrated because I didn’t want it to do much; just draw some lines. Over time, I discovered more and more things that could be done with the particular software I was using (usually by accidentally screwing up my project with them).

Then, until recently, when I would go to learn a new software, I would have dozens of expectations before even having touched it. I have ideas and I want to make them real. While I was once an explorer, I had turned into a conqueror. One who was really bad at her job and often quit and returned home, defeated. This stubborn, headfirst, charging-right-in style of learning just really doesn’t work, especially with software. You have to start somewhere much more simple.

It can be frustrating when “simple” isn’t what you want. I’m super impatient when it comes to making things work. I want everything to be perfect and amazing and something I can really be proud of… and this is why you never see anything being posted by me. But you know, thanks to a TED Talk I watched recently, I picked up a single sentence to reassure myself:

“I may not understand it now, but I will. I’m not going to let failure stop me.”

It’s frustrating when you spend hours on something tying to make it meet your standards and it never seems right. I’m always afraid of sharing my website, or blog, or portfolio, or the projects I’ve been working on because I’m embarrassed. I’ve been hesitating to start making and uploading videos to YouTube because my online existence hasn’t been “perfected”. But I’ve realized that honestly, everyone starts out like this. Everyone starts out with outdated social media accounts and messy websites because they’re too busy working on what they’re really here for. Over time, they’ll clean things up here and there, but it doesn’t start out neat and tidy. They don’t have perfect logos or awesome video effects or HD cameras in the beginning. Just like After Effects, or RPG Maker, or Crocheting, these things take time to learn. And I may not understand them now, but I will.

If I can let go of my ego, my fear, and stop giving up so quickly, I know I will.