Art Hours 351-400: How to beat the monsters that eat up your Art Time
Whether we are artists or not, we've all been there - a boring day job, staring at the clock, hoping for time to pass, and knowing we could be spending these minutes (or hours, or days) much more productively than we actually are. We could be distracted by stress, or anxiety, or boredom, or the people around us. And in the evening, when we are finally able to leave, the monsters that have eaten our time for most of the day, gladly follow us home.
In my case, when I have an awful day at work, I call my mum on my way home so that I have a chance to rant. When I finally reach home, I am invariably tired, and will not do much else apart from getting some easy food from the freezer and flopping down to watch something.
But therein lies the problem. You see, I allow the monster to not only ruin the hours I am obliged to indulge it, I allow it into my non-work life as well. An hour-long phone call, terrible food, a three-hour streaming binge? They have no real bonus, and certainly don't help my art hours. And my empty day is hardly encouraging during a self-review.
Eventually I decided to stop, and tried to come up with some things to do if "today really isn't an artsy day". Because doing something that may help with art later on is already a step in the right direction.
Do your chores
This one is painful. But remember: Your day has already been shit. How much worse could it get by going to the shops, vacuuming your carpets or stopping by the post office?
A chore you get done now is a chore that won't stop you from creating art the next time you sit down and pick up a pencil.
Listen to music / Read a book
Now, I have no problem with streaming services; I binge too. But watching a video engages almost all of your senses. If you put on some music, you can let your thoughts go where they want to go, and imagine the settings. Reading a book works as well, but is more difficult to do after a long day of brain work.
Take a bath
I am told this is a good thing. (I hate taking baths.) However, you may substitute any action that counts as taking care of yourself. Putting yourself into a calmer state of mind helps you to relax, and get back to your creativity faster.
Find something that inspires you
Still not convinced to stop your video game or your stream? Then at least binge in a helpful way. Find series that teach you something, or video games with art that inspires you. This way, you can fuel your creativity without letting go of your couch-potato habits.
If you're used to journaling, writing things down may help you deal with them. Be honest with yourself, and let yourself know that you're just writing to get something written. This doesn't have to be perfect. But another look at your work and where you're stuck may help you to identify and deal with any creative roadblocks you could come up against.
This is an annoying tip, but it is also my favourite one. Getting your butt off the couch, and potentially out of the door and into the gym can be a very difficult thing to do. I suggest minimizing resistance by taking your gym bag to work, and then going there directly after your work has done.
This has three great pluspoints: 1) You feel better after exercising. Smug, at the very least. 2) Focusing on your body clears your thoughts and lets your creativity back in. 3) Be aggressive. Let your frustration out. Your lifting machine can take it. And you will be calmer and more patient when getting back to your paper.
If you try out these tips or any others, feel free to share your experience in the comments below :).