fbpx
Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

How do you teach yourself a new skill?

Home Forums Advice & Chat How do you teach yourself a new skill?

Viewing 12 posts - 1 through 12 (of 14 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #982726 Reply
    bloodymediocrity
    Participant

    I’m trying to learn a new artistic skill that is tangentially related to my professional skill, but I feel like I absolutely suck at it. I have practice drills I’m running but every time I finish I feel worse than I did before out of frustration. Every time I practice I just come away feeling hopeless and crappy.

    I know rationally that every skill takes time to develop, and that I’m my own worse critic, but how can I get past this hump where I feel like my day is ruined because I’m failing so bad at this? Has anyone learned a new mid-life skill that they really had to push themselves for?

    I have pretty bad depression brain sometimes so I tend to talk myself out of anything positive for myself.

    #982776 Reply
    Heatherly
    Guest

    Look, currently teaching myself a new way to do my job. But it’s technical – and I’m more of a luddite. But I’m concentrating on bits I can do in the new skill, and just assume the rest will follow & every mistake I make is a step towards being better. I list the good bits & bad bits too, but I know that I will
    turn it around because I ‘ve turned it around before & keep my succesfulness of learning in the mind ( might be useful to keep list reprinted on a place you see often). ps Merry Christmas.

    #982836 Reply
    ron
    Guest

    Check out the 7 November 2020 issue of New Scientist. An article by Eric Hoel, a neuroscientist at Tufts. He writes about practicing, practicing, practicing in one session to the point of physical and mental exhaustion. Even if the task not mastered by bedtime, sometimes the mind sorts things out while you sleep and you awake with the skill. His example is juggling, which is a physical skill. I have my doubts that I could go to bed unable to hit a curveball and awake a major league hitter, but…

    #982930 Reply
    Hazel
    Participant

    currently learning to weld for a huge project and I suck which is annoying, but I suck a bit less every day, so that’s good, – what helped me was finding someone better than me and shadowing them. is that at all possible for you? Obviously probably not possible IRL but could you hook up with someone skilled in the particular field for a few tutorials? Most creative fields contain generous people who will share and mentor others.

    #983000 Reply
    anonymousse
    Participant

    I agree shadowing or even hiring outside help to teach you might really help. My husband started playing guitar like two years ago, in his late 40s. He already had musical capabilities with other instruments so he taught himself for awhile. There was something he wasn’t understanding and he found an guitar teacher and figured it out and started playing a lot better after a few lessons.

    #983031 Reply
    Kate
    Keymaster

    I feel like if you don’t enjoy it, life is too short. Do something you actually like. I have to either feel personally motivated (like, I learned to do my nails passably well because salons were closed) or be under pressure at work to figure it out, or be taking a class that’s graded (I learned to code in R last year) or I’m just not gonna do it. If you really feel motivated to learn, then I agree that you need to watch an expert or, better yet, get an expert to teach you. That should help you get beyond the frustration you feel now. But honestly don’t feel bad about dropping it either.

    #983460 Reply
    Helen
    Guest

    Do you enjoy any part of the process? If you don’t, stop. Life is too short to do things you hate outside of work. If you think you’ll enjoy it after the learning curve try finding a mentor. Through work or online. Good for you for trying though! I started back on my head meds recently after I realized I wasn’t doing anything for enjoyment. Not even reading which I’ve always loved. I want to get to the place where I try new things and do shit simply for enjoyment

    #983606 Reply
    Part-time Lurker
    Guest

    I find outside motivators or accountability to be very helpful when I’m trying to learn something new – unless I’m learning purely for joy.
    I think the real question is why are you forcing yourself to do something that you’re obviously not deriving any enjoyment from?

    #983650 Reply
    bloodymediocrity
    Participant

    Thanks everyone. I think going the route of taking some actual classes is probably the best route, though that may have to be a post-pandemic activity, which doesn’t feel like it may ever happen.

    Specifically, I’m try to learn to draw, specifically digitally. It’s a weird hole in my professional skills I have. I have experience with design and layout, which I really enjoy. But I don’t have the flexibility of being able to create from a drawing, which I feel like is limiting me.

    I do actually enjoy the process of drawing, usually until I get to the end and look at it and think “this is crap”. Which I understand a lot of professional artists experience anyways.

    In general, at this point in time in 2020 I don’t really enjoy anything ever, so it’s hard to really gauge how I feel about this.

    #983661 Reply
    anonymousse
    Participant

    Would you consider checking out tutorials online like from skillshare? I totally get where you’re coming from. I got an Apple Pencil last year (for Christmas, ha) and messed around for awhile and occasionally go back to it but usually get annoyed and quit. I haven’t been feeling very creative this year at all. It’s hard figuring out layers and all that shit with digital drawing. I’ve heard procreate is really good, but I haven’t bought it yet.

    Kottke.org had this quote from Ira Glass up the other day and it resonated for me:

    “Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, and I really wish somebody had told this to me.

    All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But it’s like there is this gap. For the first couple years that you’re making stuff, what you’re making isn’t so good. It’s not that great. It’s trying to be good, it has ambition to be good, but it’s not that good.

    But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is good enough that you can tell that what you’re making is kind of a disappointment to you. A lot of people never get past that phase. They quit.

    Everybody I know who does interesting, creative work they went through years where they had really good taste and they could tell that what they were making wasn’t as good as they wanted it to be. They knew it fell short. Everybody goes through that.

    And if you are just starting out or if you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Do a huge volume of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week or every month you know you’re going to finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you’re going to catch up and close that gap. And the work you’re making will be as good as your ambitions.”

    I give you a lot of credit for trying to learn something new right now. I think a lot of us (me!) are feeling really burnt out, depressed, lonely etc so much so that we just don’t have it in us to do anything new.

    But that feeling like you suck, this is hard, etc is totally normal. Don’t feel badly if you need a break from it.

    #983664 Reply
    anonymousse
    Participant

    There are some fun drawing accounts and hashtags on Instagram that are fun for low stakes drawing- #transmundanetuesdays (started by Carson Ellis) has weekly drawing prompts. Or looking up “illustrators” etc might lead you to something or someone new to inspire.

    #983687 Reply
    Kate
    Keymaster

    For me, I need to have someone both explain and show a particular technique, which I can then try to break down and follow. I probably can’t just copy the result or get from point A to a result. I need to see and hear the exact technique and steps to get there. Sometimes I can get that on YouTube. For technical stuff, I really need a class.

Viewing 12 posts - 1 through 12 (of 14 total)
Reply To: How do you teach yourself a new skill?
Your information: