Monday, March 28, 2011
Thoughts on Routine: Part III
Okay, so after a week of most of what structure I've managed to build being dismantled (my catching a cold, my cat needing to go to the vet, my husband catching my cold), I will attempt to share what that structure (usually) is.
As I said before, my routine is a constant work-in-progress, but one aspect that has been a constant for several years is that I work best in the morning, so morning is my studio time.
Another constant has been that, in spite of heady visions of painting dawn til dusk (or heck, why not midnight), seven days a week, sustained by creativity and paint fumes alone, I can really only work for about three (or, on exceptional days, four) hours at a stretch. And it's almost impossible for me to return to painting once I've done that much. And as for the seven days a week? Well, not so much. A really good week is me working in my studio five days a week, but usually it's more like three or four.
The hardest lesson I've had to learn has been accepting this structure (and then remembering that I have accepted it). To not push myself to be somebody else in order to fulfill my unrealistic vision of what a "true artist" does all day (which only results in meltdowns and having to start over again). I'm sure there are some artists who work this way, but I'm learning that it's okay that I'm not one of them. When I was re-reading "Creating a Life Worth Living", one novelist that the author interviewed works in much the same way as I do (except he does write seven days a week and views weekends and holidays as annoyances). The day I read his interview I felt such a sense of relief. And when I next headed to the studio I gave myself permission to only stay for an hour or two. Ironically, I stayed longer and worked harder just knowing that I was allowed to work less!
Now, the rest of the day is another matter. When do I do marketing and research and all the stuff that surrounds the making of art but isn't the making of art? What about the parts of my life that aren't art-related? I'm still working on all that. I'm finding some tools that are helping me with all this, and I'll talk about those next week.