Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Keeping at It

In the studio this morning, I realized how important ritual is for me.
I get up in the morning and pretty much just grab my stuff and get myself here. I do best if I just make my body go, then think later.
I have breakfast here in the studio, I make coffee here, I do e-mails and all that here. I long ago learned if I didn't, it would be three hours out of the morning, and that the morning is my most productive time. (I am writing this in the morning!)
And even the things like the car drive to clear my mind, hanging the coat, turning on all the lights and computers, setting up my space. . . . the ritual of doing this gets me jump started.
I also light a candle, stretch, do a little yoga. . . . all of this gets my creative brain turned on - my brain has learned that this means it is time to create.
Ritual really helps me keep at it.
It is hard work, to face a blank book, a blank page, a blank screen, a blank canvas every day and keep at it, not knowing if the result will even be pleasing.
In fact, to be experimental and to find one's own personal voice in creative work means the exploration might mean lots and lots of failures.
But the failures aren't failures, they are steps toward success.
Thomas Edison said "I haven't failed, I've found 10,000 ways that don't work."

So this work involves belief in the process. Belief that it is worth spending time creating something new, even if it doesn't create income or fame or prestige, that it still is worth doing.

Now to face those blank pages. . . .

"The difference between perseverance and obstinacy is that one often comes from a strong will, and the other from a strong won't."
--Henry Ward Beecher

1 comment:

  1. Your comments about keeping at it, and the value of ritual in keeping us at it, have applications beyond the act of creating.

    My grandson is saddled with Asperger's syndrome, one of the autism specturm of developmental disorders. His brain processes things at a much higher baud rate, if you will, than for most of the rest of us. He gets lost, or sidetracked, more easily than the rest of us, too, and there are several rituals he is learning to use to help him break being stuck in one spot or one thought pattern. They are rituals his mother and I must now learn in order to help him make it through his teen years into self-reliant adulthood.

    Interestingly enough, art is one activity that helps keep him focused and on track. I tend to get lost in the art I'm creating, but it seems to help him keep from getting lost.

    These are tough times for many and I hope you and your husband are able to find the employment you'll need to continue the life you have together. I agree with your idea that the world isn't facing a meltdown so much as it is having to come back to reality.

    I enjoy and am inspired by your art, which I think is probably the best reason to create.