It has now been around ten days that I have been trying to make some art every day. And so far, it has been a success: you can follow my progress on Twitter. A lot of other artists on Twitter are also trying to get back into the studio and make art. Check out Lori Woodward Simons’ #20hourchallenge on Twitter. But I find that for me, setting a quota like 20 hours a week is too time focused — I just don’t work well under those kinds of constraints.
The business side of my life takes a lot of time, not to mention my family, so finding 20 hours free a week is nearly impossible. Even if I could find it, those other demands are always there, and I feel a little guilt for not spending more time on them. If I want to further my art career (and I do!) that means spending a lot of time on marketing and publicity. Work that I find difficult to do, and oh-so-easy to procrastinate on. So each hour in the studio, making new art, is another hour I am not focused on getting my existing art in front of potential buyers. And then there’s the kids. It’s hard to justify spending another hour in the studio when your 5 year old son comes in, with that sad face, and says “…but we haven’t had a chance to play yet today…!” Maybe other artists are made of tougher stuff, but that just melts my heart. So away goes my work, out comes the old camera, and we play. The art can wait.
But making new art is important – it is vital to who am I and what I am trying to do with my life. So I have realized that I need to find a sweet spot, the “right amount” of time to spend in the studio. One that gives me enough time to be creative, to keep my creative engine constantly cranking away, without impinging on all of the other responsibilities I have. So instead of setting an arbitrary time limit, I am just trying to commit to just making art every day: doing *some* work in the studio every day. It can be hours of shooting new works, or just a few minutes of tweeking old photos. It can be working in Lightroom and Photoshop massaging raw photos into something worth showing, or just a few minutes playing and daydreaming new ideas. My goal is to keep my artistic momentum constantly moving forward. To not let myself stagnate. I don’t have to become some raging river of creativity — I’ll be happy with a swift moving stream. But just keep moving forward.