Sunday, April 12, 2009

What's Clicking?

Did you hear it?

It happened last week. I had a feeling it would happen, but when it actually occurred, I was stopped in my tracks.

Are you certain you didn't hear it?

It clicked.

Christine Kane writes brilliantly about it in her blog. It's number one on her list, actually.

The top of the list of her "7 Creativity Lessons" starts with the decision to schedule and create a system within which an individual can then create. Of course, she says it way better than I. Go ahead and click on over to read what she has to say. I'll wait.

It seems that alot of folks believe an artist has to be all flighty and emotional and excitable and drama-filled to be truly creative.

Not so.

In fact, it's just the opposite.

This daily painting journey that I've been on with my friend Mavis Penney proves that keeping a schedule, and creating a system is vital to creative work. We've promised each other, and you, that we'll show up every week day for 100 days and show you what we've accomplished each day. There's no room, absolutely no room, for being flighty and for waiting on some gauzy-winged muse to float down out of the ether to tell me what to paint. Whether I'm having a good day or bad, blue sky or rain, in my zone or out in left field, you're there, patiently anticipating that we'll focus our talents and provide you with what we've promised. I have to show up, whether I'm feeling all artsy or not.

And it works. Somehow, knowing I'm in this for 100 days is actually freeing. No longer do I sit and wait for The Muse, who seems to have taken a wrong turn and gotten lost somewhere. No longer do I check email or sort socks, waiting for the Next Great Idea. It's action time, and it's action I've got to take. I actively look for inspiration rather than waiting for The Muse to deliver it all wrapped in shiny paper. I set a timer so I don't watch the clock. I relax, because I know this is what I'm supposed to be doing with my time. It occurs to me that I've been using a system for this blog. I post every Sunday evening. Not Monday morning, and not just when I feel like it. Every Sunday evening whether I'm feeling clever or not. Lucky you.

There are no hard and fast rules about the system one chooses to work with. You've got to figure out what works for you. Systems are not sexy and they're not bright and shiny. They are, however, absolutely essential for growth and accomplishment. And frankly, it takes some time to figure out what works. I'm finding out that being accountable to you is an important part of my system. I found that having a good friend and colleague ( Number 2 on Christine's list ) with whom to share the trip is essential. I discovered that in order to paint one hundred paintings, I've got to put aside my morning newspaper, postpone the LA Times Crossword ( now I'm just bragging ) and stride purposefully upstairs to my easel.
That's what clicked.
What clicks for you?

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