I’ve never met an artist who doesn’t dodge making their art. We clean the desk and sharpen the pencils, we tend to the needs and requests of others and we call our friends and talk about the vision for our next piece. We run errands or mess around on facebook or just sit and stare out the window of the coffee shop.
I’ve never found it helpful to shame myself for this to wrangle more discipline out of me. It’s not to say I don’t roll around in artistic self-loathing from time to time, I just don’t find it helpful.
What I do find helpful is relating to the creative process as a relationship between the divine and the vessel. I am the vessel. And thus, turning the making of art into a sacred event, with a sacred space, has become one aspect of my spiritual practice.
This practice has helped clients finish their books on deadline, complete their paintings for their upcoming art shows and even write web-copy and love letters to their children. This practice shows your heart and your art that you mean it.
Practice: Five days per week for an hour. Same time every day. Sound like a lot? Try it for a week, it might just change how you relate to ‘discipline’.
Don’t come with a vision for what you want to create. Let the Muse guide you.
Begin with ritual. Always a ritual. I make a cup of tea and light a candle. Then I sit in silence with my hands wrapped around my warm cup and get still.
Pray. Doesn’t have to be to the bearded man, though it can be. I pray to inspiration, to the muse, to whatever is swirling around the cosmos that wants to rush through me. I ask. I wait. I listen.
Then for an hour, do your art, in this space, this sacred container you’ve just created. This time you’ve given to yourself, not because you should, not because you haven’t been doing what you said you would, but because it’s a gift to your soul.
During this hour, I write. I don’t write for publication, though I might publish. I don’t write for gold, it might be rubbish. No matter. I write. It is not for result, but for practice. It’s a ritual, a lubricant, a discipline- in the kindest and most reverent use of the term.
When your hour has passed, close with ritual. I blow out the candle and sit quietly. I thank myself, for it takes courage to show up and slay the resistance. Then I bow and thank the muse.