Saturday, August 28, 2021

The Accountability Machine


As you can see, I've been working at this right-brain creativity thing for years and years and years and years.  I know that my creative life is what keeps me going.  It keeps me alive.  I've been able to sustain a creative practice through adopting some rather mundane organizational principles.  I do not wait for the muse to alight on my shoulder, although when I am organized and faithful, the muse often does alight on my shoulder.  

All I have to do is show up.
Day and after day.  I just show up.
And yet, this isn't as easy as it sounds.  I understand.  But with this in mind, I would like to help you with sustaining your own creativity practice.  Here are three simple thing you can do:
1.  Make a promise to yourself.
Make a daily appointment with your art.  Block out at least half an hour in your calendar every day.  It's important that you chose the exact same time and place.  Do not let anything get in the way of that appointment, even if it means that you only "visit" your work--only re-read what you wrote the day before or only add a dash of color or just play scales.  The point is you are faithful to your work and you are keeping a promise.  

2.  Show up.
This is not always as easy as it sounds.  However, if you use a technique called "habit stacking" that James Clear describes in his wonderful book, Atomic Habits--you will find it just a little bit easier.  What this means is you create associative habits that bolster your creative practice.  It can be as simple as waking up every morning and making coffee and then writing in your journal.  You can make sure this happens by placing your journal and pen (or laptop or sketchbook or guitar) on the table next to the chair where you sit to drink your coffee.  You are making an appointment not only with your creative practice, but your coffee (or tea or smoothie).  You get the idea.     

3.  Find a friend.

This is about accountability and I do believe it's the secret sauce to developing a strong creative practice.  This friend does not have to be an editor of genius or a great art critic or a brilliant songster.  They do not have to be a teacher or a therapist.  In fact, they should be known of these things.  What you really want is a witness and a friend.  Make an appointment in your calendar to show them your work.  It could for once a week or every other week.  Simply show your work and ask them for encouragement, not criticism.  You might ask them to tell you one thing that they particularly love about what you've creatived.  This special person must be patient and gentle.  Later you can find an editor or an instructor, but for now at this stage when you are developing your practice you simply need a friend.

Your creative prompt for this week is to make a daily appointment with yourself and find a friend.

I hope this is helpful, dear creative friends.  Please let me know if you have questions.



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