Monday, March 17, 2014

Creativity, the Daily Grind and that Darn Procrastination


Procrastination – everybody does it…it seems that there is a myriad of ways to talk yourself out of sitting down to your creative work.  Your day job, hectic schedule, and family commitments, the reasons are endless. Let’s add in Facebook, Texting, Twitter, gaming and TV and today’s list goes on forever; so what can an artist do to become more productive and avoid these pitfalls and other lurking distractions that keep us from our drawing boards?

I  really wanted to  think about the ways we can become more proactive and get more creative work done.  Because creative work is so connected to us emotionally and so personal to us as artists there is a lot of fear connected with its potential failure or success.  Your procrastination could be partially due to fear which is one of the many roadblocks to creativity, just hiding in another form.  Being more aware of this is a step in the right direction.  

everthing you want is on the other side of fear

George Addair 

Set up a work zone – this does not mean you need a state of the art studio with skylights and high tech equipment – A small desk top or even just a sketchbook, pad and pencils can be enough to generate ideas for future work.  My painting studio is unheated so in the winter months I do small scale mixed media paintings on a TV tray and do lots of drawings and sketches to develop ideas for my work in metal and clay.  I also sketch out and produce samples for my children’s art projects in the same manner so please work with what you have – no excuses.

Anti-Procrastination Prompts and Ideas

1.    Set up a Work Zone – a small corner in an office or living room where there can be a small drafting table would be great…in a pinch a desk top, dining table or any other flat surface will work.  Anywhere you create art is your studio – basics for creative work are your sketchpad, pencils and eraser – get going.


2.    Set aside a window of time to work each day – be honest with yourself – and commit to this time daily even if it’s 20 minutes – you may surprise yourself by spending more time.  If you don’t have an idea – tidy up your space and organize your supplies during your time.


3.    Commit your ideas to paper - Creative people will often generate ideas during times when they cannot work on them.  Keep a small pad and pencil or pen with you at all times.  If you are musical, access the voice recorder on your phone, writers can jot down a phrase – When you are pressed for time just get the ideas down quickly so you can revisit them when you have more time. 

idea sketch for a ceramic sculpture



Other Creativity Killers

Of course we all know that healthy food and exercise are important to being our best.  Don’t forget about sleep…you can’t be creative on a steady diet of pizza, soda and 5 hours of sleep every night …  try getting in earlier and getting to bed and your productivity is sure to climb. 

Don’t be a Martyr

While you are working towards the goal of improving productivity don’t forget to take a break and play every once in a while.  A creative play date with a friend gallery hopping, or a day at the beach can be just the thing you need to get back to your work with new eyes.


By becoming more aware of the many distracting factors that lead us into procrastination, finding proactive solutions and ways to overcome them we can become more creatively productive. Now get off the computer and go make something!



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