We’ve been waiting what seems an eternity for Summer to arrive here in the North woods. Well it happened this week and I could not be prouder of our weather and our beautiful woods and water. She’s really showing off right now with Lilacs the likes of nothing you’ve ever seen and butterflies so plentiful they’re almost scary.
I’ve been thinking a lot about what makes me happiest in my work and my husband and I have talked so often of how much my busy-work takes me away from the things I most love to do. Create! Paint! Write! It’s the age-old problem of artists of every stripe. How to make a living and still maintain a creative schedule.
My husband of forty-two years recently put forth the idea that I schedule into my daily routine the habit of painting for the first two hours of my work day. “Let’s just see what happens”, he said. So, I started that routine one week ago. I’ve painted two hours a day this last week and guess what happened.
I feel like ‘I could run through a troop and leap over a wall’, as the saying goes. I have a renewed vigor and ‘Mama’s got a brand-new bag!’ I have two paintings going at the same time and every day brings a new challenge and a first-love kind of excitement. Go figure!
He had this same idea when we lived in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico and I was trying to write a novel. I worked for three years on that thing and still had no end in sight. Finally, he asked how long I thought it would take to finish if I wrote two hours every day. I thought it would take six months, it took four. And everything else still got accomplished!
There’s a lot of research on things like this. Like writing down your goals and how that’s connected to what the future looks like for you. Write it down, it happens. Having a daily schedule for creativity seems to be counter intuitive. I mean, why can’t I just be spontaneous? Create when I feel like it. Well, I can tell you why. IT DOESN’T HAPPEN! Seriously, you must make time for the things that make you happy.
Make time for your lover, your kids, your friends, your creative endeavors. Trust me, it makes for a much happier you & me. Now let’s see how long I can make this happen in my vocation. I’ll keep you posted.
Here’s a poem I wrote a while back on this very subject. It seems the best lessons learned are the ones we already knew.
Breaking the Mule
why do i do it
is the question i ask myself
why do i keep on keepin’ on
when everything in me says stop
maybe it’s the hillbilly in me –
that overwhelming urge to jump a stump-
which causes this impulse
to throw my head back and howl like a coon hound
dig nightcrawlers by the light of a full moon
plant rhubarb in february and
keep a turtle in my basement
but i tell you that when i wake up
to the cool of the morning
and feel his warmth still there
see these Northwoods blue skies