Creative Personality Traits
A daily schedule with habitual, obligatory segments is something I associate with grade school, corporate offices and cats. But even still, I crave a creative routine. As an artist, my internal compass is calibrated towards distraction and mental-wanderings. I have Super-Hero-Skills in the fine art of Not-Finishing. (Here’s a great article about why we don’t finish things, and strategies for fixing that.) My random pirouetting through life bewilders my engineer-husband. My uninformed-but-ardently-thought-about theory is that perhaps artists need some routine to bracket all the meandering, so we don’t trip and fall off the planet. Little mazes of structure in each day are like protective sand-bag berms around floods of creative twirling.
The Danger in Comparisons
If I start the day with email and posting imagery on social media, I get sucked into the vortex of looking at what other people are making. Our monkey brains are wired to be curious about our brethren. I mutter to myself while scrolling through instagram that I’m filling the kettle with inspiration, but really, I’m just burning through studio time by peering at other artist’s conviction to their creativity. Seeking inspiration can turn into comparisons, and lead to the Perfectionist Trap. Watch the video below.
Beauty in Structure
My strategy for efficiency is to start the day creating, instead of consuming. If I save the surf-time for evenings, I produce more work each week, and I have more worthwhile images to share. If I create before I consume, I’m also able to focus on my work without the intrusion of images of my friends & family re-playing in my visual-mind. Another plus from this approach is completing enough work at the end of the week to spend an hour on Sunday nights scheduling (you can do that too) posts to share on social media for the week ahead. Set it & Forget it. ✔
Your Secret Sauce
Every artist is different, so what’s your routine look like? Do you search other artists’ feed for inspiration first? Does it help or hurt your productivity? I think it can help, but only after we’ve done a little work first. What say you on that? And are you better at making art in the morning or the evening? Do you create randomly, on a whim, or inside structured brackets on a schedule? Let us know your tips & tricks in the comments.
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A meeting commonly blows at least half a day, by breaking up a morning or afternoon. But in addition there’s sometimes a cascading effect. If I know the afternoon is going to be broken up, I’m slightly less likely to start something ambitious in the morning. I know this may sound oversensitive, but if you’re a maker, think of your own case. Don’t your spirits rise at the thought of having an entire day free to work, with no appointments at all? Well, that means your spirits are correspondingly depressed when you don’t. And ambitious projects are by definition close to the limits of your capacity. A small decrease in morale is enough to kill them off.