I think one of the hardest, and most important, things we can do as artists is create habits and routines to support our art-making. I’ve been creating, trying and ultimately re-creating, trying and often failing, to create habits and routines as an artist for nearly ten years.
Ten years. Wow. It doesn’t feel that long ago that I was truly terrified of calling myself an artist, let alone leaving the office work world to work in a studio and classroom. Along the way I’ve discovered that I am a master of distraction, procrastination and, perhaps worst of all, perfectionism. If you’ve seen the movie, Up, you know what I mean when I say, “Squirrel?!”
I love squirrels. We feed several of them at our bird feeders each day. In fact, I created a squirrel feeder by re-purposing a rabbit… See, there I go. I’ve been meaning to write blog posts for months. I’ve written dozens in my head. But since they’re never as well written as I’d like, and I don’t have exactly the right photo to post, or Ellis wants to play, or the dishes need done or there is an artists’ book I’m avoiding in the studio, no blog posts.
To be fair, and as my dear friend Karen would tell me, to be kind to myself, I have had a bit of a distraction for the last year. Our niece, Marisol, has been living with us and it’s been our responsibility to help her successfully make the transition from junior in high school to college freshman. With any luck we’ve taught Mari some things and she’s definitely taught us. And, next Saturday, our year of homework, worry, taxi service, cajoling, reminding and loving is coming to an end. She’s moving to college. Okay, well the loving and the worrying, that definitely isn’t coming to an end. As we’ve told her we will always do those things!
So I have the opportunity to re-work my schedule and the responsibility to improve it. I need to put into practice all the things I’ve been teaching Marisol. Make and keep a schedule. Keep a calendar. Fulfill responsibilities first. Stay focused. Squirrel?
Step one. I’ve put on my calendar as a recurring event, “Blog Post” on Tuesdays. Oh, I’d love to write them twice a week. Even three times. And I’d like each to be beautifully illustrated and inspire you deeply as an artist. But as my perfectionist self knows, if I try to meet those standards up front, I’ll never post. Instead of one blog a week, I’ll post one blog a month. Or every six months. Or year.
So, one post a week. Here it is. Next week I’ll tell you about the book I’m reading and the other habits I’m trying this time. And how I did my best not to cry when I left Marisol in her dorm room.