Published on [Permalink]
Reading time: 3 minutes

Drawing and Commitment

I drew a few things a couple months ago.

What types of things?

I drew two people: a man and a woman, based on a coloring page and the first ‘beginner drawing’ technique I found1 on YouTube.

I drew a mushroom and some spheres.

It was actually quite nice: I like to multitask, to feel like I’m completely engaged. I’ve struggled with this, though, because there’s a hard limit (at least for most of us) at one stream2 of language. I’ve tried to surf the internet while listening to a podcast or an audiobook, or even do homework or write while receiving another stream – it doesn’t work! I switch back and forth and have no idea what’s going on with either language stream; it decreases productivity and confuses me.

Drawing, though, does not stress my ability to process only one stream of language; it uses a different part of the brain!

Maybe it’s total placebo, but I felt like I was using a region of my brain that I usually hadn’t. And it was satisfying, also, to feel completely engaged while drawing and listening to a podcast.

So what happened? Why did I stop3 in June? Maybe, by now, I could’ve managed some passable sketching ability.

This is a flaw of mine, one of which this blog might be evidence: commitment. And not to people; I can stay highly committed to friends, relationships, other things that involve people. For example, I couldn’t stay committed to the gym to save my life, but I can stay committed to a personal trainer; I quit drawing after a week max, but maybe I would stay committed to in-person4 art lessons.

I don’t know exactly why. There are even activities to which I am, when you zoom out, quite committed: walking, for example. But even with walking, I go through cycles of walking four miles per day to four days per month.

Maybe it’s a time management thing, and maybe I should structure my time better.

This post doesn’t have much of a moral, but I imagine this plight is nowhere near unique to me. No one trick will work for everyone, and probably not even in isolation for many people; productivity gurus are con artists, and Atomic Habits is dull.5

1which consists of copying a coloring page upside-down so that you don’t think as much about the object you’re supposed to be drawing as you do about the lines, etc. I didn’t find this particularly convincing, but I did it anyway.

2I heard it phrased this way somewhere and now can’t find where.

3I just remembered I’ve managed to make this into an activity for which my progress is graded in school… because I need more busywork, apparently.

4I’ve been warned against these.

5I read it, thought it was dumb, and felt validated when a favorite podcast of mine, If Books Could Kill, came out with an episode on it.