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Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Power of the Deadline

We've all been there. We have a piece of artwork that needs to be done, project that needs to be completed, a commission with a specific delivery date, and that date is tomorrow.

There's that strange metallic taste in fear in the back of your mouth when you look at the blank canvas in front of you. There is a sense of desperation as you examine the colors in your palette. There's a feeling of void, a tangible feeling of nothingness, as you reach for something deep inside of yourself and there's not much there.

It really doesn't matter whether it's a paying job with thousands of dollars on the line or merely a promise to a friend, you know that you've got to produce something and yet in front of you there is a big pile of nothing.

I believe in the power of the deadline.

I believe that I know more than I think I know.

I believe that I can do more than I think I can do.

I believe that there is something deep inside of me that can only come out when the deadline approaches.

Yes, I believe. It is a matter of faith.  I believe in me. I believe that all the time, energy and money which I have invested over the years in the development of my talents and skills will pay off at the deadline.

No, I can't explain how this works. I can't tell you how I do it. All I can tell you is that as the deadline approaches and the time crunch begins to crackle, something happens inside of me. Where a month before, a week before, even the day before, I would have frozen in my tracks, now with only a few hours to spare, I suddenly I pick up my brush, and with the merest of glances at my palette, Art Happens. The amazing magic of Art occurs.

I know, I've tried to explain this before. I am constantly trying to understand how this works. But I cannot. Is it some some subconscious percolation of my thoughts and my memories? In all the days that I've been procrastinating and putting off this job until the very last minute, have I really been on some deep level considering how to make this art a reality?

I don't know.

I am asking you to take it on faith. Believe that all you can do as an artist, in fact, the best that you can do as an artist, will happen, just the time when you when need it to happen the most. The urgency of the now forces a creative crisis in which the Art wins.

Maybe I should have posted this is the beginning of the holiday season when we all needed to hear the most. Or maybe I was too busy doing those last minute deadline desperate jobs to write these words down.

Trust your inner artist, and believe in the power of the deadline to make that artist shine.


  1. The ADD brain REQUIRES the pressure of a dead-line if we are to get that jolt of adrenaline we need... not to merely function but that extra we need to create. It is both the curse and the blessing of being who we are, and the wise one learns to harness it as you have. :)

    1. Without that pressure I feel aimless.
      I fully embrace my obsessive/compulsive nature because it is what drives my creativity.