I am now on my 93rd day of doing art everyday, and on most of these days, going into my studio has filled me with joy, resulting in 2-4 blissful hours of creating art. And on some days, I struggle to find a mere 60 minutes for art, and I wedge it into the nooks and crannies of my day.
To make it to the 3 month mark, I have learned that making a 365 day commitment is not enough. I had to find ways to make it work long term, starting with….
Key #1 – Declare my commitment out loud for the whole universe to hear.
This has become my unexpected “ secret weapon”. The simple act of sharing my intention with the world – family, friends, Face Book, Instagram, etc. – is keeping my feet to the fire. Of course I could easily walk away and hardly anyone would remember what I promised 93 days ago, but I would know, and I can’t let myself down.
Key # 2 – Getting up at 5am to create for the first 30 days was a great way to kick start my 365 commitment, but unrealistic for the long term.
The initial 5am challenge got me in the rhythm of creating EVERY day, after many years of creating next to nothing. However, the 5am daily habit was a tad rigid long term.
What does work? Getting up AROUND 6am, give or take 10 minutes in either direction. Every now and then, I excitedly head to the studio at 4am, but that is the exception, definitely not the rule. My goal is to consistently show up for at least one hour of art each day, while not making me feel bad for not adhering to an arbitrary 5am, or even 6am, “rule”.
Key # 3 – “Make-up” art is allowed when 60 minutes of art is out of the question.
Although I usually find time for art each day, sometimes it is literally impossible when traveling for my day job. Rather than throw in the towel and call my 365 challenge a failure, I chose to adopt a policy of flexibility regarding when my one hour of art gets done, even if that means the next day!
So VERY occasionally I do “make up” art, which means creating 2 hours instead of one to make up for my previous day’s absence from art. The result – I’m creating a minimum of 7 hours each week, with an average of 10.
Key # 4 – When the going gets rough, and I regret making this commitment in the first place, I repeat to myself “a commitment is a commitment”, and I suck it up and do it anyways!
When I’m really not in the mood, or just have too much on my plate, this simple mantra pushes me into creating some kind of art, whether at home or in my hotel room. And before long, I find myself lost in the bliss of creating, even when I’m exhausted. If needed, I follow this up by asking, “What would I rather do? Spend 60 minutes sitting mindlessly in front of the tv, or creating art?” Although tv sometimes sounds like the easier option, especially after a LONG day on the road or training in front of a group, art feeds my soul, and the choice becomes crystal clear. In the old days, as in 93 days ago, I would have chosen tv. But not now, and not for the next 272 days.
The result of following these 4 keys?
I am showing up day after day for my passion, and creating lots of art. And better yet, I am no longer make the excuse that my day job prevents me from pursuing my greatest passion.
I now KNOW it is possible to have a day job I love, AND pursue my calling for art.
My 365 commitment to do art EVERY day has created yet another dream come true.