Tuesday, January 13, 2009

This is my day job.

Out of focus and all.

It's my night job, too. I may still be on duty, at 8pm, after bedtime. You never know when I'm getting the call... "MOMMEEEE!"

This is what it means to be a mother and an artist. I try to squeeze my work in whenever I can, in little bits and pieces. But mainly, I have to be disciplined and organized.

Is that my nature? I don't think so. If it were, I wouldn't have to work so hard to get to a place where I can write every day, paint every day, get dinner done every day, get the kids potty trained every day, get some sleep every day, be nice to myself every day, do it all every day. Seriously, I have to plan and practice and backslide and take breaks, and I still don't know if doing it every day is the best way for me to accomplish my ends.

But if I want it, I gotta do it. And I can't give up. Ever. Even when I fall and get wrapped up in whatever drama is in my head or in my life, I've got to pick myself back up and get back on the horse.

I found this blog that posts the Daily Routines of writers and other creative folk. It's very interesting to see what successful artists do to keep it working.

Today, they posted about John Grisham. To be honest, not my favorite writer, but it doesn't really matter the way he writes, the thing to look at here is how he gets it done.

His goal: to write a page every day. Sometimes that would take 10 minutes, sometimes an hour; ofttimes he would write for two hours before he had to turn to his job as a lawyer, which he never especially enjoyed. In the Mississippi Legislature, there were "enormous amounts of wasted time" that would give him the opportunity to write.

"So I was very disciplined about it," he says, then quickly concedes he doesn't have such discipline now: "I don't have to."

The part that I particularly connected with was not the part where he woke up at 5am [shudder] but rather the part about having to be disciplined when he had the daily responsibilities of being a lawyer. I don't know which job is more trying, mothering two toddlers without help or lawyering, that's not really the point. The point is what it takes to get it done when your circumstances have you spending the bulk of your time doing other stuff.

I was talking to a college friend who is a published author, and I mentioned to him something about my schedule for writing. And he was impressed. "Now that's discipline," he said.

I never thought about it that way. It's necessity. It's the only way it's going to get done, if I really want it to get done. And like I said...

I really want it to get done.

What are the routines you are building into your life so that your art can live?


Genie Sea said...

I pick mothering two toddlers over lawyering as being more challenging hands down! Your children are ADORABLE! I grinned as soon as the page loaded and saw they cute faces. You are truly disciplined and driven. Grisham has nothing on you. You are better writer, in my opinion.

GoddessLeonie.com - the Creative Goddess said...

Hola Rowena...
So excited to fall upon your website today... love the name of it :)
And love this post... I have a minor infatuation with knowing how other creative goddesses (and gods!) fit their creative and soulful aspirations into their daily lives.

wishing you a gorgeous shining day love!

Julita said...

The more of your posts I read, the more impressed I am. You have a drive that many creatives could only wish for. I try to plan art time into my week, but find that I fall off the wagon quite a bit. I cannot image what it would be like to be a mom too and to try to jumpstart a career. But I can see that you are doing very well. Though it may not seem like it at the moment to you, you do have balance between being a mom and an artist. We as readers can sense it and see it, even though it may seem as if everything is hectic at times in your world. Don't stop, keep going. :)

Shayla said...

Rowena, there's a film coming out about women artists who are mothers. Not choosing between career and family and how they fit it all together and some of the frustrations. Perhaps you'll find it interesting. I'm dying to see it. It's called "Who does she think she is?" (http://www.whodoesshethinksheis.net/) Some parts of the preview are upsetting. I guess not everybody fits it together, either, but you're doing a good job.

I keep trying to set a routine and then the day goes by and I didn't stick to it. I heard about how our attention span/creativity works in cycles and after 45-90 minutes we need a break. Unless I set a timer all day, my schedule goes out the window. That's one of my big goals this year. Keeping a proper schedule. I'll have to check out that link you mentioned. Sounds good.

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