Creative discipline can be tough, whatever it is you would like to create: something written, visual, even a business. No matter what, drive and passion aren’t enough. Progress takes practice. How do you make creating your art a regular practice?
They differ in size and method. But the common theme is the need to get past your fears and commit to a consistent daily schedule of making art. In other words, “Don’t get it right, get it written.” Cameron’s “morning pages” routine is famous: beginning each day writing for at least 15 minutes, stream of consciousness, no matter what.
Here are some suggestions.
Commit to a routine. The exact amount of time is not as important as just getting into a consistent habit. Start where you are with what you have. It is better to commit to something you know you can accomplish, rather than take on something too ambitious and fall short. In other words, build slowly. If you start with 15 minutes, then go up to 30 minutes, or an hour. It is like when you begin a weight training routine. You start with whatever weight you can lift, then increase as you need more of a challenge.
Location matters. If you are the easily distractible type, do you have a favorite quiet spot you can retreat to? It’s fine if you want to go to the beach, the mountains or somewhere in nature. But it could be somewhere in your own home. I get more done sitting on the favorite spot on my couch than anywhere else, provided I keep the TV off.
Music is my friend. I find the TV distracting, but music is a great help for me. It’s hard to remember how I could be so productive pre-Pandora. At home, I usually tune in Music Choice’s Adult Alternative channel. Do you have some favorite tunes? Here are some of my current favorites.
Get centered. “Treat yourself as if you already are who you would like to become,” Wayne Dyer advises. This is especially true for making creative progress. You want to keep your inner critic at bay. How? My internal check-in is to ask myself if I would talk to someone else the way I am talking to myself. That usually changes my inner voice to one that is more encouraging and supportive.
The buddy system. There’s no reason you have to go it alone. Find a friend who is also on a creative path. Do your work at the same time and place, or if that isn’t feasible, schedule a daily check in with each other to keep yourselves honest. It could be as simple as a text message.
Coaching works. Want to make even more progress? Collaborating with a coach is much like working out with a personal trainer. Sure, you can do it yourself. But having an expert by your side can help keep you motivated and focused, and hold you accountable. A coach can help you not only with your creative or business pursuits, but help you create a holistic life plan. If you’d like to know more about coaching, drop me a note. I’m happy to help.
Photo: See-ming Lee, Flickr.com