defending your creative zone
Every week I set aside studio time. What is meant to be uninterrupted time to create becomes full of temptations to do other things. There is nothing more that I love than painting, so what the heck? I read two books last year, The War of Art by Stephen Pressfield and Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. These books helped me understand why I get restless, impatient, and distracted when I’m about to sit down to paint. It’s all about our inner resistance, those unspeakable demons that come with pursuing something that is good for your soul. I also learned that the thing to do is to pin-point the enemy and fight back. After some self-observation and honesty I identified the five biggest culprits, for which I have developed little strategies and tactics. They are as follows:
I find it is harder and harder to have my phone anywhere other than with me at all times. In the studio, I like listening to music on it, or a podcast, and sometimes I end up capturing really great photos of my process. When I find myself disconnected from what I’m doing and more connected to apps, I turn it off and put in a drawer in another room. (This is the most effective). Otherwise my go-to is Airplane mode or DND.
Self doubt is ever-present. What I do now sounds kind of wacky, but it works. I say whatever self-doubt is dictating inside my head out loud– and honestly most of the time it’s so ridiculous that I actually laugh.
Sudden, Heightened Awareness Of Everything Except What I Am Supposed To Be Doing
When every little thing becomes distracting I find the best way for me to get back to my process is putting on headphones. I love listening to something while I work (music, podcast, audiobook). Having other sound blocked helps me stay in my zone.
The Seductions Of Working From Home
There were times when I would sit down to paint and then somehow I’d end up vacuuming, or scrubbing the tub, or putting up that shelf I bought the week before. I now have a list of tasks to do with the home that I write into my weekly agenda with an assigned date and time of when I expect myself do this. This sets boundaries for how I am spending my time. This is a must when the boundaries of your home as a space are blurred.
Making Lunch Way Too Elaborate
I love to cook and I love making food from scratch. This is another place where I find planning helps me. I try to grocery shop with intention, keeping in my mind what I might want my meals to be for the week. And when I get home I try to prep a bit. Small things, like making a batch of salad dressing helps me with my time management when I take a lunch break during a studio session.
If you have your own struggles or tips on how to battle something I’ve mentioned do let me know!
Reading: Blue Nights by Joan Didion
Thinking about: Scale