Monday, March 14, 2011
Thoughts on Routine
Recently I've been wrestling a lot with the topic of Routine. Schedule. Habit. Trying to set one up, trying to keep to it, and oftentimes just plain giving up on it as soon as I get just a little bit distracted. Since I stopped being anyone's "employee" about five years ago, this has probably been my biggest challenge. I don't have anyone to tell me what to do but me, and I'm a very lenient boss.
Why do I keep trying? Because I know that I can't just wait for Inspiration to strike, or she never will. When I do go to my studio consistently, I might have three crappy days of painting followed by one fantastic day, and I know that the fantastic day was only possible because of the foundation I built by showing up for the three crappy days. And if I don't schedule the necessary time for this, then I don't treat it with the respect it needs and I'm too easily talked into doing other things and letting other people's scheduling needs trump my own.
Something I am finally learning though, through oft repeated and torturous lessons, is that my scheduling needs are just as real. I may not have to report to an employer, but I do have to pay respect to my Muse or she gets really miffed.
But I also know that if I push myself too hard to meet my (unrealistic) scheduling expectations that I burn out and give Resistance a crack to wedge itself into. So what I'm really seeking here is balance. But how to achieve this balance?
I'm working on it, and it's made me very curious about other creatives' routines. Do you have a routine? Do you work on your art every day? At a set time? For a set number of hours? Or as the muse takes you? What really gets in your way? Do you have any tricks to get yourself working even when you're not in the mood? I'd really like to know.