And one of the things I’ve noticed, and that I remember, is an extreme reluctance to keep going sometimes. When you’ve drawn something that looks perfect to you, you start getting worried that anything else you do is going to ruin what you have so far. This leg is perfect, what if I can’t get the body right. Or even worse, this arm is perfect except that it’s too small for the rest of the body, and it needs to be done again. Now what?
It’s a disbelief in one’s ability to replicate one’s own work. You can’t just erase it and draw another one, or flip the page and try again, because that one won’t be as good.
Ursula Vernon talks about giving yourself permission to make bad art, because that’s the only way you learn. That applies to writing as well, and I have practice with letting myself write badly. But this doesn’t apply, quite, because there’s no way you’ll ruin already-written prose. You might end up with nowhere to put it in your story, but you’re not going to make it worse. Everything is fixable after the fact. Drawing, even in pencil, feels a lot more immutable.
But the thing about drawing, which helps, is that there is no way to get better except to practice. (And reading art books and looking at other art, sure. But that doesn’t actually improve, for example, your fine motor skills.) And that half-done sketch where I eventually gave up because her shoulders looked wrong is still practice, and the one that looks perfect except that the head is way too small is still practice, and my utter and repeated failure to draw cats is still practice. And if I had kept going and erased the shoulders and redrawn them, that would just have been more practice. More practice is good.
The other thing for me, though, is that I don’t actually want to be sketching. I want to paint. But (until the bank actually does their job) I don’t have paints. I have pencils and notebooks, so dammit, I’m doing this instead. So that makes it easier to accept that it’s not going to be perfect.