There is this question I have, and saying that it also goes without saying that I do not know the answer fully. The question is this: How do you sustain creative work when other things are happening that demand your attention?
For example: I teach art full-time. Because of that I do not have much time to make art. How do I sustain my own art making when I have only sporadic spurts of time and energy to commit to it?
Another example: My matric art students have to do creative work. They are judged on the creative depth they can reach. But they have to do their art in small pockets while at the same time worrying about six other subjects, tests, projects and a whole lot of other things that happen in between.
I googled for some info and found this: How to Stay Creative While Working Full Time
It is only partly relevant. Partly because it talks about writing, which can be done with the minimum amount of material fuss. Not like art that may require paint and water and all kinds of other messy stuff.
But I won’t debunk the whole article in one go. Let me just tackle the first of a list of five: 1. Wake up earlier…
“Make sure the first thing you do in the day is write. This way, you’re not bogged down by the troubles and stresses of your day-to-day life and the thought of staring at a screen won’t make you want to cry. Set your alarm just an hour earlier than usual (not every day, but two or three days is fine) and write freely and creatively.”
First of, getting up earlier a couple of days won’t make a difference. First because your body needs to adjust to being awake at a different time. This takes some time and only once you have made this adjustment will you begin to reap benefits from waking earlier.
Otherwise waking up early every second or third day will be a shock to your system. And with any shock your body and your mind will cut out and you will resist the effort. You will not be creating a habit but a way for not sustaining the actions and this will be counter productive.
If your plan is to wake up early to work then you need to wake up early, consistently and every day. For a long period of time. Until it is natural. And only then will you be able to do full creative work in this time. Until then you will just be working on adrenalin.
But this is also not the only reason just waking up earlier is not the answer. At least not the complete answer. It is because being sustainably creative is not about making one small shift in what you do but in slowly making a shift in everything you do.
Waking up early, if a choice, will have an impact on other things such as going to bed earlier. Shifting family responsibilities such as “who is going to wake up the kids?”. And also pre-planning, as in what am I going to do once I am up and sitting, standing, lying there.
In other word it is a small part in a bigger systemic change fo who and what you are. It is not a special case scenario of just doing it for a day or two because it gives great results — until you fall apart.