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  • Elise V Allan

Five Ways To Make It Easier To Make Work

First published March 2018


1. Make your studio or desk welcoming; leave it tidy enough for an immediate start the next time you return to it. This means tidying up at the end of a session. Whenever you remember...

2. Make work first thing in the morning, rather than getting chores out of the way first. If the other stuff is vital, set a timer so that you remember to go and do it, and then come back to your studio or desk again later if possible. Even if you only have half an hour, or ten minutes, if you keep your desk or studio set up, ready to go, it’s amazing what can be accomplished with fresh, rested energy. 

3. Stop when your work is going well. The Zen approach to creativity is to stop as soon as the Resonance – the connection between your chi, or life force, and the chi of your subject, starts to wane. It makes it easier to come back to work again the next time.

4. When you're in flow, or the trance of painting or writing, don’t interrupt it too often to stand back and appraise. Some writers go so far as recommending writing the entire first draft without any rereading. When you don’t know what to do next, you don’t know. There are a few different ways to work the pause. Sometimes you need to analyse, or write stream of consciousness reflections on the work, and sometimes you need to work on something else and catch sight of the first piece in your peripheral vision, until it demands that you return to it. Sometimes you need a cup of tea, or to leave the work to do the dishes, or go for a walk, then come back to see it afresh. Incubation periods can be brief or long lasting. 

5. When it is time to appraise, be clear about how you evaluate your work. It’s easy to slip into seeing it through the eyes of people who might not share your values, or slide into inner critic territory and decide it’s a pile of excrement.  Prepare by defining the values by which you’ll appraise your work. Sometimes your capacity to make your work develops faster than your ability to critique it. But, when it happens the other way around, it can be extremely discouraging. Recognise the growth that’s brought you to this point, as well as the frustration.

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