Last week, I wrote about wrestling with the concept of having a routine, finding a schedule that works for my creative life, and today I want to return to that topic because I have more thoughts about it.
One of the things I've found most helpful on this quest for a structure is hearing about other creatives' routines. Not only does this give me new ideas to try, but, more importantly, it reminds me that we are all different. And therefore we all have different approaches and techniques that work for us, and they are ALL VALID! What a relief!
Sometimes, when I forget this, I just get so overwhelmed with all the advice about how an artist should arrange their day, and so angry and judgmental with myself when I can't seem to live up to someone else's expectations about my structure. There is soooooo much advice out there - paint (or write, or sculpt, or…) every day, paint first thing when you wake up, stay in the studio all day every day, treat it like a 9-5 job, etc, etc. And don't even get me started on how we're told we should use the internet. I'm not saying these are bad ideas, I'm just saying that they are not one size fits all. And trying to keep up with some of these ideas just because we think we should, well, it just causes pain.
Thankfully, I was re-reading yet another of my books about the creative life (Creating a Life Worth Living by Carol Lloyd). Throughout the book she interviews creatives of all types in all sorts of fields (novelists, artists, filmmakers, designers…), and they are all successful, and they are all different. Some rise early and create for several hours, others work 2 or 3 hours at the same time each day, and one writer only works when the urge to write becomes too strong to ignore, usually at the end of the day.
And then today in my Yoga class, my instructor had us meditate on this topic of structure and expectations, internal and external, mental and physical. She allowed as how structure can be a good thing, but when held to too rigidly and without consciousness, it can also cause painful constriction. She reminded us to pay attention to what is and to release expectations of what we think it should be. By letting go of expectations, we can actually move beyond those expectations.
Next week I'll try to share my structure (a constant work-in-progress) with you. I'd love to learn about yours too!