Going from "Being Consistent" to "Adhoc for a season"

April 10, 2017 | 21 Comments

I love writing 5 articles a week for my blog, I really do! In fact, it would be very accurate to say that I am addicted to it.

I have so many ideas in my head that I want to process – writing them down and sharing them here is a great way for me to ensure that I keep generating new ideas and the creative juices pumping.

I love sharing on a daily basis and try to encourage other people to keep sketching regularly. I also love the discipline of producing something every work day – a new article is a tangible achievement and creates a feeling that I have done my work for the day. This is very important when you work for yourself at home.

But my workload has been consistently increasing over the last 18 months and there is no doubt that I am stretched thin. I really need some help with the admin side of things but before I do anything concrete about finding someone for that, I need to work out which tasks I can delegate and put some systems in place.

I’ve have known for a long time that I need to scale back the output here on the blog, but I love doing it so much that I have been ignoring the issue. I’ve been just hoping that I will work out a way to do more quick articles so it takes less time. But last week I finally accepted the fact that what I’m doing at the moment isn’t sustainable and that I need to carve out time to document some of my processes. So I am going to intentionally convert some of my writing time (normally a hour or so at 6:00am each day) into ‘creating processes’ time. Once I have some admin help I will then be able to go back to doing the things I love.

Behind the Scenes:

Right at the moment I am completely swamped with coordinating and producing material for a massive upgrade to my SketchingNow site. It’s all consuming and for all the architects who are reading this, it is very much like putting a tender package for a large commercial building! It’s exciting and scary at the same time and requires my full focus.

So, the long and short of it is that I’m going to stop writing 5 articles a week.

At this stage I am not sure what the new frequency will be but it will be one a week at the minimum. The important thing is that I’m not putting any pressure on myself to stick to a regular schedule. I might end up doing more spontaneous posts to my Instagram feed and have a little fun doing Instagram stories… but we’ll just have to wait and see what feels right!

I know that there are a lot of people who start their day reading my latest post, so I am sorry to break this ritual. I hope that you all understand that I haven’t made this decision lightly.

Because I don’t know at this stage when I will be posting, the best way to make sure that you don’t miss out is to sign up to receive my blog posts via email. You will only get an email when I post a new article.

Ok, blog post is written, morning coffee is sketched, so it must be time to get back to work!


  • Foke Singh says:

    Thank you for showing how to protect yourself and move on in the same time! By prioritizing and even stopping a part of what you love, to achieve what you want…You couldn’t be a better inspiration and example to live up to. THANK YOU and God bless

    • Liz Steel says:

      Hi Foke – I don’t know how best to respond to your amazing comment. Thank you !!!! for your understanding and encouragement to make this hard decision!

  • Joan von Weien says:

    I second the above comment, as we all know how creative people probably need to care for themselves more than most! I have been amazed at all you do. Writing, teaching, sketching, taking time for family and friends and just plain HAVING A LIFE all need “windows” of time.

    Your discipline and creative output are an inspiration, indeed. Carry on as you need!

  • Bernadette says:

    Life is so full of twists and turns and we must learn to adjust or….crash! Although I will miss the daily posts, I appreciate your alerting us who follow, that you need to make a change. We, who read your postings will still be here and delighted as often as you have time to teach something you have learned.

    I have begun to paint tea cups just since following you. My life schedule has also changed of late and I have not been able to paint daily. I have been greatly inspired by your example and know a seed has been planted within my artistic soul. Than you for that.

    May God bless the plans of your day and guide you in all your endeavors.

  • Liz, good for you! it’s hard to acknowledge the need for change but you communicated your intent honestly and graciously. Thank you for all the weekday posts you have put out over the years. It’s a privilege to follow you, to be inspired and taught. I wouldn’t be where I am as a sketcher if it wasn’t for you. Look forward to all that is to come as you follow the needs of work and self.

  • dana perez says:

    There is no doubt that I enjoy reading and seeing what you are doing everyday, but heavens, that must be mind boggling!!! The other side of scaling back is it makes those of us on the reading side stop reading and start drawing. Once a week can be a wonderful thing.
    Thanks for all you put out in the world for us all.

  • Hi Liz,

    I want to applaud your move to a different sense of timing for your blog, although, like many, I will miss the daily posts. I wrote a 7-days-a-week blog for my father to see every morning for over two years. A photo, some sentences — family, gardens, nature, travel — something to lighten his day in later years. I kept up the daily posts for a while after he died, but then decided it was time to move on to other things.

    I gained a discipline from all those posts and that discipline stays with me in the form of more personal journaling. I’m not telling you anything new because you have that discipline too. I’m looking forward to the shape of your new approach and want to let you know that your work provides inspiration and a sense of continuity for my art journaling. And, yes, sometimes I just page back through the posts and enjoy the learnings of Liz Steel.

    Thank you, Artist Liz!! Good luck with your work!


    PS. Barns. I really want to get to sketching barns this summer, using the concepts in your book! Here’s hoping!!

  • Jo Reimer says:

    Good for you, Liz. It takes courage to stop doing something you love and n favor of work but sometimes it must be done. I so appreciate your generosity and vulnerability in keeping faithful to daily posts for so many years. Thank you. I look forward to whatever you’re able to share. Perhaps we readers will follow your lead and spend most re time making art rather than reading about it.

  • Lin Powell says:

    I love your articles and encouragement for doing art, but I do not need it every day. I do need you to take care of yourself first and will look forward to your posts whenever they come. I am glad you realize you must do this before you burn yourself out. I am new to your site so I am busy reading old posts and being inspired. I have a lot to catch up on. This will give me the chance to do just that.

  • Liz I understand. I will miss your daily posts but you have to do what is right and best for you – to take care of yourself, work on and complete important/critical/priority tasks and feed and fuel your passions (sketching, blogging, teaching). I applaud and support you in your attempts to do that and look forward to reading about your process and implementation of your final decisions. God bless.

  • Linda Sprouse says:

    Liz, I totally understand. Life gets pretty overwhelming at times and I too find myself not getting things done that need to be because I have so much on my plate. I will look forward to your e-mails when you are able to do a blog.. I have your book so I will keep going along with you through it and check in on your web page from time to time to see what you’re up to. I would at some point like to take one of your courses, but right now I too have too much on my plate. Happy sketching.??

  • Chris Fraser says:

    Liz, you are an inspiration and I often quote you to my husband! ???? I applaud you for taking care of yourself in this way. Burnout is not good for the creative juices or the soul! I have loved reading your daily posts, but will be content to catch up with you once a week. As someone mentioned in the above comments, perhaps it will push those of us (OK me) who read about the sketching life to actually paint more and live the sketching life. I love the courses and the thoughtful way you have of verbalizing your life and I know that you need time to put that all together for us. Love the book by the way! Thanks very much for all you do.

  • hedwig Belle says:

    Hi Liz,
    as a blogger (on a different subject, but also as owner of a smaill bussines) i totally can relate and admire you for producing so much articles. Here my 2 pennies how to keep writing and publishing in less demanding ways. I have a workroutine that includes brainstorming the idea roughly, making a mindmap, recording it as mp3, sending the mp3 out to be written in words/sentences, going through text, and the publishing with adding images is done by my assistent. She is so much better and faster in doing in. Here in the Netherlands we call it Virtual Assistent. I couldn’t do my job without her and her helpers! Maybe this can help you in the process. But no pressure!

  • KathyAnne says:

    Dear Liz — Like every other commenter I’ve read, I applaud and encourage your speaking up — and now following through — about your needs and priorities/re-priorities. I love your blog posts and am so educated + inspired by them! So I will miss when there isn’t one, but I know you’ll get to a new post when the timing is right. In the meantime… as one who isn’t much of a social media person, on purpose (part of my self-care), might you alert us via your blog if you find you’re doing more/more regularly on Instagram? I may then have to sign up there for alerts! Keep taking care of your s/self and your beautiful smile!

  • Magdalena French says:

    Hi Liz – totally agree with everything that everyone said above and heaps more gratitude and encouragement to you for honouring yourself and maintaining your integrity. We lead by example – and you definitely do…

  • Sheila Pallotta says:

    I agree as well. I enjoy all of your blog posts, so will treasure each one that much more. I follow you on Instagram, too, so send a photo every now and then!

  • Jo Mackriell says:

    Hi Liz, I have only just discovered your work and am very much looking forward to reading whatever you write/draw. I am a completely novice sketcher,believing for years that it was something I just couldn’t do. I have spread my artistic wings,so to speak in the last year by allowing myself to have a go at art journaling and I am excited at the prospect of beginning a new journey in sketching, I might be rubbish at it but won’t know unless I try. Any hints about starting out would be gratefully received.

    • Lin Powell says:

      Hi Jo. As a novice and slow learner myself, I will tell you what I have done to start out. To start out, I set myself a goal to do something “arty” every day. Some days that is only 5-10 min of a quick sketch, other days it is almost the entire day of sketching, collaging, watching inspirational videos that lead to further experiments on a new idea or style. I have an “experimental journal” that is just a collection of any project I try…good bad or just ok. It is just for me so does not matter if it ends up being a disaster. The only bad art is the art not tried, you learn from everything you try. If you continue in a book, you will be able to see your improvements as you work through it. I have done this for a year and a half now…hard to believe time has gone by so quickly…and it has now become an automatic and enjoyable habit. Read previous Liz Steel posts to get inspired, and also check out Pinterest for new ideas. A course from Sketchbook Skool is a good place to start exploring art if you need more guidance and inspiration. Liz teaches one there as well. Good luck. Enjoy your discoveries into art and find your own style. No art is rubbish. It feeds your soul.

    • Liz Steel says:

      Hi Jo, great question. (thanks Lin for your great answer too)
      The short answer is that I designed my SketchingNow foundations exactly to slowly and clearly explain all of the essential concepts and techniques that you need to learn. It comes down to learning to see differently and then training your eye-hand coordination. Betty Edwards book Drawing on the right side of the brain is a brilliant book to go through. But the most important thing of all is to keep doing… and don’t compare yourself with everyone else out there. You are on your own creative journey, enjoy every step.

    • Barbara Somervaille says:

      stumbled across this response and really enjoyed your advice. Thanks for sharing Lin. Art certainly does create a happy place. Thank you Liz for all the time invested in putting everything together. I purchased the foundation course ages ago and am only just this year slowly working through it. Properly!

  • Liz Steel says:

    thank you everyone for your lovely comments. Its a big deal for me that you all understand!

Leave a Reply