This time of year I always feel a definite pull to get back into the studio. The holidays can really tend to interrupt a good working pattern for me, and the New Year is always a good time for resolutions, new routines (including exercise!) and setting goals.

Here are twelve things I’ve found that help me ‘make time’ to create:

  • Group like activities together: run all your ‘must do’ errands on the same day as you schedule your coffee meeting and your doctor’s appointment. This helps to keep other days free for creating.
  • Get started early in the day. (Getting started is the hardest part!)
  • Keep a sketchbook with you for when inspiration strikes (in waiting rooms, meetings, by your t.v. chair, etc. You never know when it will hit you!
  • Don’t wait for inspiration to show up… go out & get it…. just start!
  • Seek inspiration in unlikely places… use free association brainstorming exercises, sketching, looking at magazines, books, other artists’ work, blogs, museums, galleries, nature, anything that strikes your fancy. I’m always on the lookout for new ideas.
  • Stay in tune with your emotions. One of my strongest motivators is a good idea! Those usually come attached to a strong emotion.
  • Set goals – successful artists produce paintings! I like to set a goal of how much time I will spend in the studio. That way, I know I will be working, but I don’t put pressure on myself to do a certain number of paintings. (That tends to make me rush & quality suffers)
  • Make time to play. The creative part of our brain often needs some time to ‘fart around’ with our art. Not all paintings begin as assignments. I would say about 50% of my work begins as an experiment.
  • View your studio time as important work, not a luxury. Making art is important work!
  • Cut the excuses! Why waste time when you can create?
  • Identify your time wasters… for me it is television and the internet. The internet can suck the life-blood from your veins. Set a timer and stick with it. Reserve internet use for your less productive hours.
  • Know your self: my most productive, least interrupted time is after I exercise, between 10 am and 5 pm.

Remember, the best way to get things done is always a deadline! Make commitments by putting things on a calendar or writing in a journal… delivering paintings, entering shows, bringing paintings for a critique, weekly classes can all be great deadlines. Looking for more deadlines? Try Art Calendar or Cafe’ or Art Show for local, regional or national opportunities to show your artwork. Also, check out the bulletin board at your local art store or community college for classes, life drawing sessions and more.

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