I have to get to work in my studio when I don’t want to.
For weeks I’ve had a bunch of painting that’s needed done, but I already work a nine-to-five that I put pants and everything on for, and I’m tired. Screw my studio. Screw what needs done. Which makes me feel miserable, because I don’t even want to be at the nine-to-five; I actually want to be painting. (If anyone else has done that whole ‘I work to support my passion’ thing, RIGHT HERE, man. It’s disheartening at best.)
Who way smarter than me said something along the lines of “To get better at the thing and to make a dent in the thing, show up to work every day on the thing”? I feel like it was somebody famous/important:
“I was never one of those people who had to have a perfect situation to paint in… But I could paint anywhere. I made big paintings in the tiniest bedrooms, garages, you name it. you know, once I have my back to the room, I could be anywhere.
Inspiration is for amateurs — the rest of us just show up and get to work.” – Chuck Close
First of all, quit shaming me, Chuck.
Second of all, I of course kid; Chuck Close, if you don’t know his work very well, does these stupid giant drawings
that are mind-bogglingly intricate
enough for you to pay attention when he talks good words. Anyway, Chuck Close says to show up to you studio – wherever that may be – and get to work.
Let’s talk some momentary truth for a moment:
Sometimes you don’t want to, and sometimes I don’t want to. It’s cool to admit to it.
You still have to.
Here are 5 tricks to help you to your easel and stay there:
1. Give yourself a ‘clock in/out’ time.
Treat this time like you’re at work: I’m showing up for 5 hours. I’m sitting down to work at 6 and I’m leaving at 11. And I’ll be working that entire time.
2. Put chores on hold.
Honestly, you needed to do get that stuff done earlier, and it’ll still be there. Unless it’s truly pressing, leave it. Get to work.
3. Get off social media.
This is work time, and you’re distracted. Get off your computer, your phone, and anything else that takes away your focus.
4. Have some “I hope to get at least this bit done” goals.
Give yourself a hopeful lap marker or two; whether it be line work, blocking in, or getting to that weird color you can’t mix right. Work around to the little victories of each piece.
5. Remember that IT’S JUST A THING and treat yourself well.
It’s just a drawing, or a painting, or a sculpture, etc. etc – it’s not worth several all-nighters in a row. It’s not worth missing meals, smoking too many cigarettes, or stressing out and losing sleep. It’s not worth snipping at your partner and friends because you’re frustrated. It’s just a thing you’re making.
I have to keep re-telling myself these things on the regular; showing up to two jobs a day (one I’m not even really being paid for) is rough. If you’re trying to strengthen your own convictions to show up to work, leave a comment in the doobly-doo: I feel like we could all use that encouragement once and again!