I have always hated routine. Maybe it was being the only extrovert in the house growing up, but I've always hated planning and debating over what to do each day. The moment I got to UCD for undergrad I did away with any routine, FINALLY I could do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted! I accepted any social invitation that came my way and with the opportunity of living with a building FULL of people my own age, it was both an extrovert dream and extrovert nightmare. I had to learn some discipline, to plan my time at least a little so I could get my school work done! Eventually I figured it out, for undergrad at least.
In grad school it was a whole different story, not only was the work harder but I was also learning a completely new skill, a skill it turns out is incredibly difficult to learn and one that also did not come easily to me. It was a struggle to get to my desk everyday because I was putting in my 10,000 hours and I knew I would not like the results--it takes a very, very long time to get satisfying results. To make matters worse, I didn't know that constant ebb and flow of confidence and failure were normal parts of learning animation. It was easy to fall into old habits again when I literally hated everything I produced and knew my critiques would filled with harsh truths (even if they WERE true and also helpful!). Today I find myself with a different problem, I have (finally) put in enough hours to begin to see the improvement and now I am motivated by the feeling that the more hours I devote to drawing and animating, the better I will become! I have seen the results of my previous effort and its addictive (and so is the feeling that I stuck it out when it got hard)--but time is still my enemy!
Over the last few weeks I've been reading 'How to Steal Like an Artist' each night before I go to bed. I avoided reading this book for years, even though I'd seen it recommended online because I thought that I didn't need a 'how-to' book on artist life-hacks, those would of course all be solved when I 'got good at it.' But as it turns out, you'll never feel good enough or accomplished enough or like you belong (or I think I never will anyways) and you most definitely should read a 'how-to' book on living as an artist--because, damn, that's hard!
The entire book has been helpful, but last night I read a passage that really stuck out--because it was one of those 'harsh truths' I knew all along I needed to do but hadn't forced myself to actually commit to yet. --ROUTINE-- -Kleon tells readers that producing creative work for a living is so draining and difficult that we must live a routine life outside of our creative work in order to save all of that for the drawing table. It sounds abstract, but I get it. There are so many days I arrive at my drawing table with a completely blank mind--I'm exhausted, my house is a disaster and I've spent all of my creative energy making day-to-day decisions like whether or not I should exercise now, later, or never--usually it means never.
As the summer comes to an end i'm definitely feeling the need to create a schedule (and stick to it this time!) I see how managing the rest of my life could actually help my creative time and also help me carve out more un-interrupted animation and art time--something that I now crave! There's nothing I'd like more now than my 12 hour-animation hiding days...something I dreaded when I invented them but now I have come to love them!!