Is Consistency A Dirty Word?
These days I'm at the tail end of a 30 Day Artistic Challenge put on by my art mentor Matt Tommey. He's put out a different challenge each day over the last month to encourage us to develop good studio habits. In other words, he gave us a kick in the butt so we'd start making art Every. Single. Day. He calls it consistency, and it's the bedrock of any successful art career.
I know, you thought artists did that anyway without anyone holding their feet to the fire. Well you'd be wrong. The reality is that there are many days when we'd rather do just about anything other than make art. I'm thinking somewhere between a week in southern New Mexico and a root canal. Sometimes the creative process is like slow torture and to be avoided with any excuse possible – I need to do the taxes (actually true), I have to babysit my grandson (like someone's holding a gun to my head), maybe I should organized the cabinet under our bathroom sink (well, that one's true too).
But I digress. The point is, this isn't an easy challenge. I've done it, but there's been some whining along the way. Here's what I've learned . . .
Art, like life, is not all-or-nothing. Sometimes I have so much to give I can hardly get the paint on paper fast enough, and sometimes I feel like a sloth . . . if a sloth could paint. But it's not always about how much I accomplish every day. On the rare occasion it might be, like when I have a deadline breathing down my neck, but usually it's enough that I showed up. I took a risk, I said what I had to say artistically, and then I went and took a nap.
Here's the thing. It's tempting when I'm not feeling at the top of my game to just throw in the towel & give myself the day off. But that can quickly become a habit - a chicken exit – an easy way out from under the pressure of using my gifts and having an important voice. But if I'm consistent, show up, and do whatever I have it in me to do that day, then satisfaction is my friend.
And it's true in all of life. Let's just show up and give what we have to give that day, great or small. It will have an impact, we'll look back on that day with satisfaction, and the lie of all-or-nothing will become a little weaker.
Are you with me?! Let's show up!