Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Discipline, Productivity and the Creative Life or "Thanks, Adderall!"

New York-based artist Stan Munro recreated the Sagrada Familia Church of Barcelona using 35,000 toothpicks. Good for him. Seriously. Good for you, Stan!

In ones creative life, much work is done solely in the realm of mind and spirit. Maybe that's why it is so difficult to put a monetary value on "design" or assign billable hours to a project. For me, it's all one big swirling thing; each project and idea influencing the other. (Recent swirl: kindness, book, struggle, parties, Rocky Mountains, parents' 50th, genocide, Africa, entitlement, housecleaning, bracelet, fashion, garden, God) Actual concrete expressions of thoughts and ideas seem to manifest themselves unpredictably and with no apparent rhyme or reason. Aha! The key word there being "APPARENT." Are there concrete actions that, when put into regular practice, enhance productivity? Nurture inspiration?

These are the sorts of questions I have been thinking about in regard to the role of discipline and creativity. My answers? Nothing to write home about. They have revealed a lazy, lackadaisical approach to creative work with the rationalization that waiting until inspiration strikes is the super artistic geniusy way to be....planning out work time like some hack churning out pages to meet a quota is not going to produce the special, special work of which I am capable. Are you gagging yet?

At the end of this post are some questions that came to mind as I wrestled with this topic. Of course I would love to hear anything and everything you have to say - leave a comment or tweet me @chezsusanj.  Before going on to the questions, skim the following paragraph. It might help you in getting to the heart of any matter you face.

Many years ago when I was in therapy, I once asked my counselor if I had to be completely honest about something horrible it was time to be real about in group that week. She told me I did indeed have to be truthful but I could tell the group, "I prefer not to have feedback." That was a great thing to tell me. I could be truthful but set a boundary to keep me safe from the judgment and response of others. So, my creative compadres, answer away. Ask for feedback or set whatever boundaries you need to feel safe. Just be honest as you look at the questions before you.  xo Susan

Do you have ideas you'd like to execute but for which you lack the technical ability?

How would you remedy this? A class? Practice? Input from others?

What keeps you from seeking this remedy?

What role does perfectionism play in your day?

Do you give creative expression respect? Do you believe it deserves your time and attention?

What "shoulds" or "shouldn'ts" do you assign to your creative life? (i.e. I should get domestic chores done first, I shouldn't spend money on this, etc.)

What external forces influence your creative life?

Is a new way to be creative revealing itself? How will you pursue it?

On a scale of 8 to 10, 8 being "awesome" and 10 being "super amazingly wicked awesome, " how awesome are you?

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