Discipline, Routine & Emotions


‘Dad’s Sunflowers’

Why does the word ‘discipline’ seem so negative to me? It connotes punishment or drudgery. The word routine seems more positive, almost comforting.

My morning household routine consists of making coffee, throwing in a load of laundry, maybe sweeping the kitchen floor or unloading the dishwasher. Easy stuff, but it keeps our household neat and running more smoothly. The same holds true for art and creativity. We may not feel creative every day. I’m sure there are those artists who do, but I’m not one of them. There are many days when I’m tired or just uninspired or maybe overwhelmed with other things I need to do. But making art requires routine. Instead of waiting until inspiration hits, isn’t it better to let it find you? Rather than following your emotions (I’m tired, I’m upset, or I just don’t FEEL like it),it is best to just begin. I find that my biggest challenge is getting started. I can think of hundreds of other things I ‘need’ to do before I begin working in my studio. I think they call that ‘constructive procrastination’ – you know, vacuuming the house, organizing the closets, cleaning the bathroom…All tasks that need to be done of course, but if we wait until everything that ‘needs’ to be done is completed, will we ever begin making art?

Does it come from guilt, this procrastination? I enjoy doing it; therefore I must do other more tedious things and make art last? Possibly. Do I feel a tiny bit guilty that I’m actually one of the few lucky ones who make a living doing what they love? Or that I ‘should’ be doing something else, just because it seems harder – such as running a backhoe or balancing books in a cubicle somewhere? Possibly.  It doesn’t really matter what the reason. What matters is this God-given gift is ours. We must accept it, embrace it, say thank you, and most importantly, use it – every day!