Creative discipline is one of the hardest things to tackle when you work for yourself. There is no one cracking the whip at your back and there's hardly any consequences to you not investing in your creativity. So you have to set your own goals and apply yourself as best as you can to achieving them. You will fall and you will spend too much time meeting friends for coffee but, as always, there comes a point when you knuckle down and get it done. I normally find that when it's a commission I am A LOT more disciplined in getting it done, almost to the point of tunnel vision. When it's my own work I just plod along, cross my fingers and hope for the best. I've always been interested in how to keep and actively create that “peak” creative state. Those times when you are not only have a million ideas but you are also able to actualize them. I've been brushing up against that lately and I am eager for it to stay. I just love being creatively productive.
Every Sunday I have a routine where I give myself a list of what I want to do within that week. I ALWAYS put too much on it and at times I have held myself hostage to that list but to be honest, it ALWAYS means that I get more done than I would have without it. It helps me to be productive and creative. A couple of weeks ago I decided to take a small break when it came to the lists and my creative life significantly dropped. I don't think it was so much about being creatively disciplined it's just that without the list I kept forgetting what needed to be done and by when. This week I have managed to get a painting done as a gift to my aunt, 3 origami bouquets for a friends wedding ( took 9 hours ), I've begun a poem , editied my novel, nearly finished another book I'm working on and I've started to outline an idea for an art exhibition. This is all on top of my job. I haven't been slogging my guts out though, living by the list is not at the cost of my personal life. I have still managed to go meet some friends, have a date night with the boyfriend ( went to see Jurassic World and yes, Im STILL traumatised over the dying brontosaurus ) and perform my poetry at a local night called Mad As Birds ( run by Natalie Holborrow ).
Creatively and purposefully listing out my week seems to help me create the time I need to do what needs to be done whilst keeping me free to do what I want. I ensure that play time is mandatory on my to do list for each day whilst I figure out how much time per day I need to work on other projects to get them effectively done. It just helps. So long as you don't beat yourself up for not getting everything done on your list you'll be O.K. Give it a try for a month or two and see if it helps. If not, why not share what works for you in the comments section? It might help other artists!
Ryan James x