I woke to the scent of lilacs this morning. Perfect way to usher in a sunny day and some clear thinking.
This week I have been considering getting fit for the creative journey. I’m not talking about logging miles on the treadmill or pumping pounds on the Nautilus machines. I’m talking about self assessment of my inner qualities. The good, the bad and the ugly.
What gets in the way of my creating?
Several excuses jump into line… raise their hands… choose me, choose me…
But I am on a deeper quest. I am hoping to root out the rats that are nesting in the attic of my art making…the addictions, the depressions, the poorly managed moments that might otherwise be spent on creativity.
As I type away at my keyboard, the first thing that comes to mind is the internet. There is so much to be found about art in cyberspace. There are blogs about writing, blogs about the painting process, blogs with amazing photography, blogs with tips for being artful. But blogs take time… time that could be spent on doing the things I am reading about. I can so easily get lost when I surf the internet…gathering juicy tidbits that inspire me and energize my thinking. However, if I am not careful, the energy flow reverses. Instead of charging my batteries, I drain them. The real rat is how I manage my time.
Getting fit for the journey requires that I learn to recognize my addictive behaviors. Sometimes it’s just easier to cruise the internet than to focus on the creative ideas that I have captured. I get stuck in capturing.
The next rat that comes to mind is financial laziness…buying beauty instead of making it…dreaming when I should be working…gathering more supplies when I have plenty on hand. This voracious rat chews away at my self kindness. I don’t create well in an atmosphere of money stress. Who does?
Then there are the worry rats…keeping me awake at night…squeezing their way into half inch openings where all or nothing thoughts reside. They leave little droppings of depression behind them. And these dark broodings shut down the whole show.
But I don’t want to linger on bad habits. I want to celebrate positive skills by developing a tool bag full of fitness ideas to keep my creative life healthy.
1) Schedule time devoted to art just like I schedule hours of work. Art can be productive self employment if managed well.
2) Get plenty of rest. When tired, head for sleep instead of stimulation. Get up by 6AM and enjoy the freshness of early morning… my best creative time.
3) Conquer negative self talk. Focus on what’s going right.
4) Set good boundaries between work and play. Spend time and money wisely. Financial health generates good energy.
5) Learn to keep my studio organized so that I can be productive. Find the balance between allowing multiple projects in process and completing them.
6) Develop and maintain supportive relationships with other artists. Talk about the challenges and joys of creativity. Share tool bags.
7) Recognize that the best way to measure my artistic health is to ask myself: How am I creating today?
What’s in your tool bag? How are you getting fit for the journey? Visit Kelly’s blog here to see how she is creating.