Many accomplished artists live a disciplined life full of routine liberating their minds to focus on creative pursuits.
Artists are free spirits and create when inspiration strikes, or so I used to think. Most artists that I know or read about are by contrast very disciplined regarding their schedules. My friend Laura who is a talented painter told me long ago that she would begin painting first thing in the morning. She treated her artistic profession as a 9-5 job by retreating to the studio behind her house for secluded immersion.
Although it may sound counterintuitive, strict order allows for free-flowing innovation.
Many of our most talented creators similarly abide by strict schedules. My same friend Laura recently told me about the book Daily Rituals that focuses on this topic. The book lists numerous artists with a brief description of their working habits. The habits vary, ranging from rising early to work at first light to working in the wee hours of the night, abstaining from alcohol to taking barbiturates. The constant thread however is the adherence to the established routines. The artists follow the same pattern day after day.
What I found quite interesting was the time allotted for leisurely pursuits. In our supercharged world I often marvel at some creatives who manage to have their finger in so many simultaneous endeavors. Creativity does not always flow easily for me requiring time for reflection and thought. Rushing an original solution can be difficult. It helps to have an arsenal of creative inspiration from which to draw. These artists must have known this so dedicated a portion of each day to reading, gardening, walking, and thinking.
A routine of creativity breeds creativity.
At a point about six years ago I was feeling a bit bereft of innovation. My sister told me about a book called The Artist’s Way. This workbook in short encourages one’s artistry by forcing the issue. First thing every morning one is to get up and write a certain amount in solitude. The subject matter is irrelevant. If the ideas are lacking just write stream of consciousness to put something on paper. The author was a writer so consequently the focus was on writing. The act of daily creating is the benefit so the medium could be sketching or painting. An illustrator friend of mine in a creative rut decided to illustrate something every day for a year.
As my children grow and begin to leave home I am finding a bit more time in my life. I look forward to losing myself in a creative task for hours on end. For now that freedom is still illusive. Multi-tasking is necessary and challenging. I smell the bacon burning yet again.
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