Thursday, August 06, 2009

We don't create from nothing

These last couple of days I've replaced Theraflu with green tea. This is a good sign. I'm getting some of my energy back. The good thing is that I used the sick time to "put stuff in."

We don't create from nothing, after all.

The not so good thing is that I have many fresh new ideas but can't even think about starting any. That's a downside of being a professional artist. It's a real job.

To be successful at being an artist or writer, there's really no other way than to go to work every day, without fail. No matter what else, you have to show up and work. I've got that part. Sometimes I work long hours for long stretches of time because of circumstances-- like multiple deadlines. And also because it's the nature of the work--not one person has ever told me it would be easy to be a professional artist. But working long hours can become a habit.

It can be very easy to get caught up on a wheel and forget to take time to live your life. And it's hard to find time to work on personal projects. Very hard. This is where I've been for most of the summer---and very likely why the cold hit me so hard. So it's time to work hours. To focus while I'm working and quit when time is up instead of trying to finish everything on a list.

Just as with other things, it's not so much how you work this week, but how you work over all. I might push myself extra hard for several weeks or longer to get a project done. But this isn't something that works long -term. Trust me on this---you can't do it without burning yourself out. How arrogant of me to ever think I could! And I burnt out badly several times before I figured this out.

So eventually I'll have to take some time off to play, to spend time with people I love, to see something different and to create for the love of creating. Otherwise the raw materials get used up and---
We don't create from nothing, after all.

Sometimes the most creative days are the ones spent floating on the pool drinking tea and thinking.

(I said it was hard---I didn't say the job has no good points.)

Think about your schedule, look at how you spend your days. If they're out of balance, you might want to rearrange things, or take a step back and refresh your brain.

We're still having a good discussion of The Birds on the previous post if you want to join us.



Loraine said...

Since I was little, I wanted to be a professional artist. But I suck at selling my work. I'm just too much of a recluse, I guess. Oh, and I'm terrified of people when it comes to selling. Probably because salespeople scare ME.

And now, I live in a smaller space with no room whatsoever with which to work. Unless I toss out half my furniture. Tempting.

I love green tea. I drink it when I'm sad, when I have a stomach ache, when I just feel like it. I have about 60 different kinds of green tea, from jasmine and mangosteen to hojicha and genmaitcha. It's hard to close that cabinet.

Glad you're feeling a bit better...

Benton Warren said...

I'd like to say something witty here... But I'm to tired from working all day.
Love ya Lisa, find some time for a break!

lisa said...

Lorraine---I understand what you're saying. I had that thought too, before I began. I took advice from well-established professional artists and authors when I was starting out. (That's one of the benefits of participating in group shows, as at genre conventions.) They told me pretty much what I'm telling you now.
I said something similar to your comment when I started out.I was afraid of the galleries, of the rejection. But not now. This is my job. I'm a professional artist. I go to work every day. I encounter all the issues other professionals do;taxes, payroll, suppliers, accountants, time management and research. I have to make many creative and business decisions every day. What I do has value, just as film rights, song lyrics, books and performances, just as furniture, jewelry or dental work. (Or a delicious and well-prepared green tea!) I'm an expert in my particular field and I make art that's created from materials I pay for, in space I pay for, from years of education and experience---bits of thousands of other works I created to get here and years of my life.

You don't need space. You need to spend the time, consistently. The work will take you where you need to go if you apply yourself. It's like a pump---it has to be primed before it produces. It's the work that will help you decide whether you want to be a professional. Maybe you don't. And truly, that's okay too.

hope this is helpful---
Now you've made me want more tea...

Unknown said...

Hi! I snoticed in an older post that you love mice. :) So do I. I also make them out of felt. If you want to see some mice I've made, I have lots of pictures on my blog. :)