The difference between finding time and making time for art.

Can you agree that you are usually the hardest on yourself most of the time? I certainly am. Recently, I’ve been disappointed in my neglecting to work on any of the “masterpieces-to-be” that are chillin’ in my garage. And yet with that disappointed voice nagging in my mind, I sit here typing out this post. Though I did tweak my back last night at work (twice). So, I don’t really want to move around too much, but I digress because there are always a million reasons NOT to do something.

The point I’m getting at is one I read in “Art & Fear ~ Observations On The Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking.” I’ve read it twice and thoroughly enjoyed the motivating – yet brutally diminishing – theme of the book. It had a key message that stands out in my mind at this time simply due to the situation I’m in now. There is a passage discussing the difference between finding time for artmaking, and making time for artmaking. I can’t find the exact passage at the moment so I’ll do my best summarize it.

As artists, we make excuses about why we can’t sit down for a few hours to work, probably more often than we realize. There is an  endless river of “obligations” and “plans” that prevent us from reaching our serene garden of essential creative time. The issue is not the lack of time, it’s that we don’t make the time, either for fear of failing, rejection, or whatever. Unless you set aside time to do it, you may never get it done. How do you know whether you will succeed or fail if you don’t ever get around to trying? I feel it’s a struggle I share with a lot of people.

The idea of sharing struggles with millions of artists is one of the many humbling points made in the book that makes me feel less alone as an artist and part of a community, but at the same time, less unique and more “common.” It’s a good book if you want a reality check and an ego boost all wrapped into one concise read.

The book also contains quotations from various artists and historical figures at the head of each chapter. Here’s a suitable one for the end of this post. . .

Artists don’t get down to work
until the pain of working is exceeded
by the pain of
not working.
                         –Stephen DeStaebler

P.S. – Does taking the time to talk about my lack of time to create art count towards making time for creating art?

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