Not many people have an old-fashioned wife anymore. I’m talking about the one who managed the household without any help from a spouse and who was also totally supportive of that spouse’s work, to the determent, often, of her own creativity and desires.
Not only that, but the world of communication has gone crazy. We are plugged in to everyone and everything. If we allow it, there are constant interruptions from phones, email, regular mail, other people, pets, and the lure of electronic entertainment on televisions and computers/tablets.
So the creative person has to struggle to manage it all. Without a plan, and without some basic organizational skills, we will either go nuts or just never finish anything we’ve started. Or at least it will take us twice as long and be twice as stressful as it has to be.
The basic life plan for a creative is to find the best time of day for work and make it sacrosanct. That means no interruptions from anything, unless there’s “fire or blood.” (I don’t know who said that first, but I love it.)
This means the creative is in a room with the door shut and without access to phone, email, the internet or any other potential interruptions because they are either turned off or the person has enormous willpower when in the zone.
The creative has to have a regular life, of course, both for mental health and to feed the creative mind. It won’t produce in a vacuum. Therefore, it’s also best to figure out just how much time can be devoted each day to creative endeavors, and unless there’s fire or blood, do so.
To further this goal, the creative also should set up systems so that tools are at hand and no time is lost in setting up. Best to clear everything up at the end of the session to be ready for the next day.
So, set a minimum amount of time at a certain time of day and have a place where you won’t be interrupted. When done for the day, do everything needed to get a good start the next day. For example, if you’re a writer, do a quick spell check, back up your work, write a few notes about what you did that day and/or want to do the next, put in a little research. A painter, it should go without saying, needs to clean brushes, take care of the medium she’s using, etc. A crafter should put tools and supplies away for easy access the next day, and clean up any mess. And so on.
Put away that knife!
I know some people say they can live in chaos and create. They are probably in the genius class. Since most of us (me included) are not, it helps tremendously to be organized. Actually, even the genius would probably benefit, as well.
Do you have a set time of day and a place where you do your creative work? If you do, please share in the comments.