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Procrastination- What Does it Mean?

Procrastination is an enemy to so many people- including artists.

The urge to put off tasks, delay creative projects, or simply avoid the blank canvas is a struggle in the realm of artistic expression. What it means, and what it signifies can be totally different issues in our lives as artists.

The Paradox of Procrastination in Art

Artists often grapple with a paradox—the desire to create and the resistance to starting or continuing their work. The romanticized image of artists effortlessly diving into their craft is often at odds with the reality of facing a multitude of challenges, including self-doubt, fear of failure, and the burden of high expectations.

Procrastination in art is not merely a matter of laziness. It’s a complex interplay of emotions and psychological factors that hinder the creative process. Many artists find themselves trapped in a cycle where the fear of not meeting self-set standards becomes paralyzing, leading to avoidance and procrastination.

Psychological Underpinnings of Procrastination

At its core, procrastination in art often involves psychological elements such as:

Fear of Failure

The fear of producing something that doesn't meet personal standards or societal expectations can paralyze an artist. The anxiety surrounding potential failure can lead to delaying the start of a project or abandoning it altogether.


Artists, by nature, are often perfectionists. This drive for perfection can be both a motivator and a stumbling block. The pursuit of an ideal outcome can lead to endless revisions, hesitation, and, ultimately, procrastination.

Creative Blocks

The fear of not being able to sustain the flow of creativity or of hitting a creative block can lead to avoidance behavior. This fear of being unable to create something meaningful or innovative often keeps artists from even attempting to start their work.


The sheer magnitude of a project or the multitude of tasks involved can overwhelm artists. This overwhelming feeling can lead to procrastination as a way to avoid confronting the scale of the work.

Embracing Procrastination as Part of the Process

Contrary to the negative connotation, procrastination can sometimes serve as a signal that something deeper needs attention. It might be the mind's way of signaling burnout or a need for a different approach to the creative process.

Understanding and acknowledging procrastination can be a jumpstart for growth. Rather than viewing it as a flaw, artists can reframe it as an opportunity for self-reflection and exploration.

Overcoming Procrastination in Art

Acknowledging procrastination is the first step towards overcoming it. Here are a few strategies artists can employ to navigate procrastination:

Break Tasks into Smaller Steps

Breaking down a larger project into smaller, manageable tasks can make it less intimidating and easier to start.

Embrace Imperfection

Accepting that not every stroke or idea needs to be flawless allows for more freedom in the creative process.

Establish a Routine

Creating a consistent schedule and setting dedicated time for art can help in overcoming the anxiety of starting.

Seek Support

Engaging with fellow artists or seeking guidance from mentors can offer perspective and encouragement, helping to navigate through the challenges.

Procrastination in art is not a simple issue but a multifaceted aspect of the creative process. By understanding its psychological underpinnings and employing strategies to navigate through it, artists can transform procrastination from a barrier to a stepping stone in their creative journey.

In the end, acknowledging the ebb and flow of creative energy and learning to work with, rather than against it, might just be the key to unlocking a whole new level of artistic expression.

The next time you find yourself hesitating to start a new project or facing a blank canvas, remember, procrastination might just be a part of the artist’s journey—a signpost toward deeper self-discovery and a more profound creative process.

So, embrace the art of procrastination, and let it guide you towards a richer, more authentic creative experience.

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