There is an understood, but largely unspoken fear in every creative person. Every time we leave the studio, it can be the last time. There is no guarantee that we will have the next idea, the drive, the self-discipline to
return. Most days, this thought doesn’t cross our minds. But there are weeks when we shut off the light and cross the threshold and wonder, “Maybe that was it. Maybe there is nothing left. Maybe I’ve had my last good idea.”
Because we aren’t completely in control of the flow of ideas, the best we can do is create an environment of anticipation and eagerness in the studio and leave it there to wait for us when he come back. Here are some ways to do that:
Leave a project unfinished and waiting for you. That way, when you come back, you know exactly what you have to do to complete the project. Whether it’s putting a clasp on a necklace or spraying fixative on a drawing, knowing that a piece is one step away from completion is an invitation to return.
Start a project. If you enter the studio and feel that you have to come up with a new idea, pull out the pieces, gather the materials, and then. . .face them, it is harder to go to the studio. A project that is waiting to go takes the uncertainty out of the decision.
Leave some inspiration waiting for you. A new book, a magazine, a fascinating piece of textile, a celebration page in your journal can welcome you back to your studio and remind you that much creativity can happen in this space and you are the one to make it happen.
Clean up the biggest mess. No one wants to go into the studio and spend an hour scrubbing brushes and vacuuming threads and beads before the work can begin. Having supplies out and ready to go is inviting, having a mess to manage drains your creative energy.
Create a ritual. Having to make the decision to go to the studio every day is hard. Make creative work part of every day, like picking up the mail or brushing your teeth. Create a ritual that pulls you in the right direction. One of my favorites is making a cup of tea, locking my gremlin in the linen closet and heading to the studio.
Lock up the gremlin. All of us have negative self-talk. It starts when we think about doing creative work. “What makes you think you can write?” “Who do you think you are wasting time in a studio?” “You aren’t a real artist, you just waste time.” If that talk comes into the studio with me, it’s all I can hear. I know what the gremlin of negative self-talk looks like. I gave him a name, drew his picture, and put it in the linen closet on my way to the studio. Then I’m ready for work.
What are your rituals, tips and boosts to get to your creative work?