You can tell when I have a commission / exhibition/ project that I am really excited about because my studio gets super-clean and totally reorganized. Instead of getting down to work and actually being productive, I start on all the little ‘chores’ that have been lurking around at the periphery. Things that are ‘sort-of’ important … really tidying my studios, labeling/categorising images from the past months, scanning/ photographing artwork and journal pages, priming canvases, reshuffling inspiration boards, watching podcasts and queued YouTube videos…blah, blah,blah.
All this cleaning and shuffling is an important part of my creative process.
In the distant past, I used to get tempted during this phase to watch TV series and -gasp- play video games…now that really is a waste of time!….lots of fun, but a waste of my life! So I curbed that wicked addiction through massive willpower and now I practice what I call Active Procrastination. While I am gathering and sculpting my thoughts under the surface, I do all the ‘sort-of’ important things. They need to get done eventually as they are beneficial, but they are not ‘red-hot’ important.
So although I am not actively doing my most important work, I am doing good stuff! To the onlooker, I still look productive. But inside I feel like I am dawdling and pottering around. I am organising, tidying, preparing, cleaning up. I am not wasting my time. I relax into this process now because I know I will have my internal processes in order, my thoughts sculpted and eventually get down to the real work – usually right before the deadline – and pour forth in a great creative deluge. Aaaah the relief!
I know that this is about to happen in the next few hours. I was invited to present a proposal for the most EXCITING commission two weeks ago. And I have since moved my whole studio around, finished a sketchbook (really!), filled my entire art journal with backgrounds and learned how to use three software programs. In the past I may have paniced a bit and beat myself up worrying about why I can’t get started on my ‘proper’ work. ! But now I understand my creative process and I have been whistling away as I Actively Procrastinate.
And today I am feeling ‘angsty’. I am getting annoyed at everything and everybody because it feels as if they are blocking me from focusing on my Proposal. My poor husband just came up to my desk, and his footsteps drove me crazy! I was SCOWLING WILDLY by the time he got to my desk – my look said “WHAT DO YOU WANT! LEAVE ME ALONE! AAARGH!!!”. And now I feel so mean, because he was very kindly bringing me a delicious coffee…! Luckily he has been on this creative path with me from the beginning, so he understands the process!.
Once I finish this post, I will have to go completely radio silent as I begin to poke, squeeze and meld my ideas/thoughts/ideas into something I can comprehend. I am often frustrated and a bit manic during this phase – the whole world stops and condenses to just me and my work. And then Once I have bought my ideas into a coalesced form, I will shape them into the Proposal. And once I have finished printed, PDF’ed and posted the proposal, the dancing around will commence! YAY!
What is your creative process? Have you noticed your creative patterns? I would love to hear them!
Wish me luck in creating an amazing proposal for my next large-scale outdoors art installation – it’s soo exciting…must get to it!