I’m back from a little writing painting creating hiatus. Mostly the break was from writing, blogging, book writing and I find it so curious (aka, annoying) that the very thing I must do, that calls me, that screams my name is the very thing I avoid.
Painting. Yes, love it, occasionally drag my heels, procrastinate, find projects that satellite the actual art making like running a small greeting card company that reminds me of painting but eventually…eventually I always come back, I show up and sit down or stand up but find that place to create. Somehow I have incorporated an internal habit that will bring me back. Not always quickly but my compass knows where home is.
Writing. Why can’t writing be the same way? The not so quite voice in my head just yelled at me, actually yelled, PRACTICE!!! Because I haven’t practiced that showing up muscle the same way I have in painting. Inteeeerrreeesting, I say, as I stroke my imaginary academic beard. It’s true. I paint a lot. I paint things I love that are sold to wonderful clients but I also paint things that turn out so atrocious I literally wince when I pull them out of the blank canvas pile to reuse. I paint commissions, fancy parlors, dogs, cats, beloved VW bugs, sweet treats and sailboats. I often paint them again. And again. That is what I was taught. Do it over and over and eventually you will find your voice. My very wise painting teacher and mentor told me it takes three years to become a painter and to find your voice. And that three years is assuming you’re doing your art all 36 of those months! My interpretation was, oh great, I’ll just go hang out for three years, come back and won’t that be fantastic that now I’m a painter/writer/calligrapher/chef….insert your own creative passion pursuit. Nope. I got to do the ugly stuff. Put the miles in.
So practice, my voice says. Hmph. You taught yourself to go back to the canvas and that’s working out ok for you. You didn’t die of embarrassment showing your work in the world. (Ok, once or twice I might have actually had a pre-heart attack of anxiety, shame, panic or humiliation. But that’s another blog post.) Practice. Today, in the spirit of practicing, I have set my iPhone timer for a whopping 15 minutes! That’s right. Fifteen minutes, per suggestion of Sam Bennett’s very wise book. As I write that, I recognize how tiny that increment of time is and how for the love of god shouldn’t I be able to show up for that and yes, I did. (The beeper just went off.) I seem to have plenty of time for the rest of my life and it’s varied commitments. Today, just for today, I showed up for one of my creative passions that keeps tapping me on the shoulder. For that, I am grateful. I am grateful that the habit of painting has informed the habit of writing that I am hopeful that I can remember this feeling, this itty bitty time frame that really isn’t scary at all, has shaped my day in such a nurturing positive way I might even head over to the canvas to practice and stretch a few more of those muscles. xo