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Cathy Morgan
10-01-2003, 02:12 PM
Three weeks or so ago I got kind of desperate because I just wasn't getting to the studio. Every morning I'd wake up and go straight to the computer. "I'll just check my email...." Then I'd think of something I could do to work on my website....then something I really really needed to do for a computer client....and the day would be gone.

Every night I'd think, "Tomorrow morning I'll get up and go straight to the studio."

But the next morning, the same thing would happen. My habit was too strong to break.

Finally I told my life partner about this and asked for help. Reply: "Tomorrow I'll stay till you wake up and get you out the door."

I decided to go straight to the studio to work for 28 mornings in a row. If I could do this, I knew I'd have established a new strong habit.

My partner did get me out the door that morning. The next morning, I did it on my own. Yes, I did gaze longingly at the computer, but I got out the door. It took a few days to get over that first longing to just go to the computer. (Easier, more comfortable, no anxiety.) But after a week or so I no longer thought about that.

Today was day 18. I know I'm going to make it. Just wanted to share this technique in case anyone else gets into a habit that is keeping them away from the studio. It does work!

DanaT
10-03-2003, 11:56 PM
That's a good one Cathy. I heard that if you do anything for 30 days straight, you've created a new habit so be careful what you start doing.

AshleyShea
10-04-2003, 12:29 AM
Thank you for posting about how you broke your habit and got into the studio. Each morning I head to the computer, too. I started doing this as a good habit. I keep a journal online. It's my Morning Pages. Well...that is...when I can keep myself from checking my e-mail first. If I check my e-mail, I'm hooked. I'm reading e-mail and off visiting sites. But if I open my journal application first, I'm ok.

I'm going to think about starting a new habit. Maybe I can do an artistic form of morning pages first, then get on the computer for my written morning pages...and then get to work. I may be able to do that...IF I can get my studio cleaned up and organized.

Thanks again!
Shari

DanaT
10-04-2003, 10:42 AM
Hmm, Shari. Why don't you do the morning pages longhand on paper?

AshleyShea
10-04-2003, 11:49 AM
If I had to do my morning pages by hand, I would never do them. My mind works/thinks so fast that I can't keep up with it writing by hand. I end up musing about a thought rather than writing it down because I don't want to stop the thought and I can't write that fast. I found that most of the time I spent trying to do morning pages by hand I was actually just day dreaming. It would take me over an hour to harness my thoughts enough to write 3 full pages.

Instead I allot myself a minimum of 15 minutes. I start typing and my fingers fly across the keyboard. I rarely stop because one though flows right into the next. Some mornings, 15 minutes is enough. Other mornings, if I need more time, I give myself more time. But it rarely, if ever, takes me an hour to do my morning pages. I don't have that kind of time to put into it.

Shari

cryingraven
10-04-2003, 11:51 AM
I'm feeling you I've been doing the same thing. I have 3 canvases started and cant seem to work on any of them. This has been going on for 3 weeks!!! I draw a blank when I go into the studio. I sit there chain smoke, look at the canvas, get up and play cards on the computer. what makes this so back is that I'm supposed to be part of 2 shows.... one in January and one in Febuary. My wife has talked me into painting in oil. I usally paint in acrylic. 2 of the 3 canvases are oil. I cant work them. I'm gonna try again 2morrow morning while everybody is outta the house.

pampe
10-04-2003, 12:06 PM
Good for you , Cathy

Actually...the studies show that anything you do consistently for 14 days....becomes a habit


You may already be there!
Good luck!

DanaT
10-04-2003, 12:51 PM
Originally posted by AshleyShea
If I had to do my morning pages by hand, I would never do them. My mind works/thinks so fast that I can't keep up with it writing by hand.

Ah Shari, my mind works that way too but that's the whole point of writing the morning pages longhand because it forces you to stay with a thought to completion. That way you can figure out what you're really thinking rather than flit from thought to thought and impression to impression like going from one stimulus to another without settling down on any one thing.

Slowing down the thought process is the biggest advantage I've found to the morning pages because it allows me to actually do some ideas that I've come up with rather than be overwhelmed that I can't do it all.

DanaT
10-04-2003, 12:55 PM
Hi crying raven. Try to write down exactly what is keeping you from those canvases. I bet its the oil medium if you're used to acrylic. Once you figure out what's keeping you from it, you can usually find a way around it.

I had the same problem when I started oils, so I found a book on 60 minute paintings in oil by Craig Nelson and I found that if I treated the painting like a drawing or study it was a less intimidating way to learn a new medium.

AshleyShea
10-04-2003, 02:16 PM
Originally posted by DanaT


Ah Shari, my mind works that way too but that's the whole point of writing the morning pages longhand because it forces you to stay with a thought to completion. That way you can figure out what you're really thinking rather than flit from thought to thought and impression to impression like going from one stimulus to another without settling down on any one thing.

This is exactly what I am able to do by typing my morning pages on the computer. I can capture my thoughts as they come, rather than letting them get away. I can stay with my thoughts rather than worrying about writing fast enough to catch them.

It's not that my might flits from thought to thought. I don't have that problem at all. My mind just processes things, buts 2 and 2 together and comes up with a solution faster than I can record in long hand.

I'm sure this comes form my occupation. I am on the computer typing most of the day. My handwriting skills have been reduced. And I'm used to thinking at the speed at which I can type, which much faster than I can write...especially since I can no longer write very fast.

I know this isn't the way Julia Cameron suggests that one do Morning Pages. But after months of trying by hand it not working for me, I went to the computer and...viola...it worked! I can explore my inner thoughts and see what's going on inside of me. It's a way that works for me, but will likely not work for someone else. That's what makes us all unique and exciting people.

Shari

JamieWG
10-04-2003, 06:47 PM
Oh wow, Cathy, a kindred spirit! Well I just came here to the Creativity Corner to write about the exact same thing! I'm so glad you've found a good solution. I've heard that 21 days is the magic number to form a new habit or break an old habit. You are well on your way! Please do keep us posted on how this goes. Do you then take a break during your work in the studio to check mail, etc. on the computer? Having done this 18 days in a row, how's it going with your work? Are you seeing great strides?

In my case, I have to get up at 5:30am. Usually I have to work my "real" job late afternoons and evenings, and don't get home until between 9 and 10pm. I'm tired. :crying: My initial plan was that as soon as my daughter leaves for the school bus at 6:50, I'd start painting in my studio. (I have time to do the quick email check and look into my WC forums while getting her ready for school.) But then once she leaves it seems the dog needs to go out, the laundry has to get done, I start a two-hour internal debate over whether I'll paint plein air or in the studio, phone calls start coming in, I need to do the dishes, prepare something for dinner (since I'm not there to cook at that time)....and before I know it, it's 1pm. My daughter gets off school at 2. <sigh> If I could get myself to start painting at 7, I could put in 3 hours and it would only be 10am! Plenty of time to do the other things and even take a nap before work. The procrastination is beating me up!

So...I find your case inspiring. I need to organize my time better. Thanks for the boost.

Jamie

Cathy Morgan
10-04-2003, 07:04 PM
Well, remember that my resolutions and "decisions" just didn't work till I got someone to help me really do what I said I wanted to do. If just deciding to start painting doesn't work, ask for help!

It could be a phone arrangement - you agree with a friend that you'll call the friend at 7 a.m. to tell him or her that yes, you're starting RIGHT NOW. Then you call again at 1:45 p.m. to say yes, you DID IT. That arrangement works well for a friend of mine. She uses it whenever she feels overwhelmed by her tasks and thinks she might just procrastinate.

It could even be email - same arrangement.

Once years ago, I actually hired an answering service to call my studio every morning at 8 a.m. or whenever I'd decided I should get there. If I wasn't there to answer the phone, I'd be truly embarassed. The answering service people didn't care of course - but I did. So it really doesn't take much! Just something - what the coaches call "accountability."

JamieWG
10-04-2003, 07:13 PM
Cathy, thanks, that's a great idea! Now I just have to think about who would be awake to call me at 7am to be sure I'm working! LOL! :D Just kidding. I could even ask my hubby, or another art-crazy mom in the same school district who's awake at this ungodly hour. I'll try hubby first. He's very supportive, and besides, if he tells me to go work in my studio, he can't then complain if the laundry's not done, right? ;)

Jamie

Cathy Morgan
10-04-2003, 07:17 PM
Originally posted by JamieWG
and besides, if he tells me to go work in my studio, he can't then complain if the laundry's not done, right? ;)

Well, realistically - since he's human, he can still complain about that or about most anything.

However, his complaints probably aren't the issue, right? :)

JamieWG
10-04-2003, 07:21 PM
Well, if he complained, it would be an issue for me. But fortunately, he doesn't. :) He knows I'm on a tough schedule and tries to help. He also knows that in a family situation, when Mom is happy, *everybody* is happy! ;)

melaleuca
10-04-2003, 07:25 PM
Originally posted by Cathy Morgan
Well, remember that my resolutions and "decisions" just didn't work.

That's an important point you've made, Cathy. I often beat myslef up for not being able to act on my "resulutins and decisions". Makes me feel more of failure.

Originally posted by Cathy Morgan
till I got someone to help me really do what I said I wanted to do. If just deciding to start painting doesn't work, ask for help!

I like this practical & simple solution. Thanks.

DanaT
10-05-2003, 12:38 AM
Originally posted by JamieWG
Well, if he complained, it would be an issue for me. But fortunately, he doesn't. :) He knows I'm on a tough schedule and tries to help. He also knows that in a family situation, when Mom is happy, *everybody* is happy! ;)

LOL Jamie! That's right, and like my Mom said, if you didn't cook it, its delicious! :p

Welcome to the Creativity forum. Just thinking off the top of my head. Do you have a Palm Pilot or something that you could plug in a little alarm to go off at 7 so you can say to yourself, "OK Jamie dear, time to paint"? You're usually pretty good at motivating yourself. Arrange a still life or pick your plein aire spot the night before and make a plan of action of how to start painting. Then when the little Palm Pilot alarm goes off, you get into gear with the plan thats already in place.

JamieWG
10-05-2003, 09:58 AM
Dana, yes I'm pretty motivated almost all the time...but still find it hard not to procrastinate! So, I can't even imagine how difficult that must be to tackle for anybody who also does not feel motivated.

Dana, you're right that setting up in advance...the night before....is something I need to improve on. When I get home from work so late at night, it's the last thing I want to deal with. Perhaps I have to switch my efforts around timewise, and organize for the next day of painting before I leave for work. I think I could do it then---I'm just not focused on it at that time....<make note to self!>. Generally our plein air spot is chosen at least 12 hours in advance, but the weather doesn't always cooperate....Well, in a few more weeks *that* part of the issue will be resolved, and I'll be painting indoors.

The alarm clock idea to start working is excellent. You know the layout of my house....so you can envision that when I see my daughter off in the morning, I am *in* my studio. Perhaps at that time (6:50am) I just shouldn't let myself go back into the main part of the house!

Cathy, I see you keep such a nice online journal! Is that hard to do? Does it take a long time? Do you program it in HTML, or use some kind of software to do that?

Jamie

DanaT
10-05-2003, 12:48 PM
Yes Jamie, I've had to get creative of when to set up especially with coming home at 11pm. There's no way of my being productive after I get home.

Originally posted by JamieWG
Generally our plein air spot is chosen at least 12 hours in advance, but the weather doesn't always cooperate....Well, in a few more weeks *that* part of the issue will be resolved, and I'll be painting indoors.

Unless you're Larry Seiler :p Well snowscapes and frozen lakes can be picturesque too. :rolleyes: Maybe you need an alternative; if the weather cooperates then do Plan A , but if not, pull Plan B out of your pocket.


The alarm clock idea to start working is excellent. You know the layout of my house....so you can envision that when I see my daughter off in the morning, I am *in* my studio. Perhaps at that time (6:50am) I just shouldn't let myself go back into the main part of the house!


That's an excellent idea, Jamie. I can see that working for you. :) Let us know how it goes.

Cathy Morgan
10-05-2003, 01:34 PM
Originally posted by JamieWG
Cathy, I see you keep such a nice online journal! Is that hard to do? Does it take a long time? Do you program it in HTML, or use some kind of software to do that?

Jamie

Thanks for checking it out! It couldn't be easier to do. No HTML coding is needed. I use the Radio Userland software, which comes with free hosting for the weblog too. It's no harder to update the weblog than to post a message here. I took my time learning some of the extra features like adding links to each month's entries, making more permanent "stories" and links to them, etc. But you can have the basic weblog started the day you download the software.

Other weblog software that many people like include blogger.com, and livejournal.com. So you might look at all three.

artbybradgreek
10-05-2003, 02:47 PM
this is a very interesting topic Cathy :)

I find myself getting nothing done in studio or at my job either..stay on the computer all the time LOL either here or in the gaming zone ..playing spades with a group of friends there.
I"m self employed (maintenance/ manager of rental property) I've found that I can't get out the door to work in the mornings and at night not in the mood to paint..I have to waite till everyone goes to bed...my studio's in my kitchen LOL then it's too late to paint. So I stay online. I have a painting that I've started years ago that I want to finish before starting a new project.. I've done many inbetween time. But really want to finish this one. Can't get in the mood to paint. I have to be in the mood LOL

Here's what I do know ..that may help everyone that's responded. Make a list the night before of the next days plans... with time allotments. example..7:00- 10:00 paint, 10:00-11:00dishes & start laundry, 11:00-12:00 prep dinner & dry laundry, 12:00 - 1:00 take nap, 1:00-2:00 fold clothes and write tommorrows list. something like that.

I do this alot when I really have alot to do..otherwise I just don't know where to start..so I don't.

As far as the oil painting goes..I think I'm in the same boat..want to finish..but can't break the lack of inspiration. I paint in oils and acrylics both..plus do scratchboard ..and usually have alot of projects going at once.. I've found that some times to get reinspired I start a painting that I would rather be doing ..then move into the ones that I need to be doing.. try this ..see if it helps. well talk about journals..I wrote a book LOL Brad



My Website (http://www.artbybradgreek.com)

artbybradgreek
10-05-2003, 02:55 PM
P. S. then I play beat the clock with the times I set.. get alot more done and you feel good for having a productive day!:clap:
I usually list more then I could possible do. be surprised how much you can accomplish when you know exactly what to do next. Make it a game. Have fun in everything you want and have to do. Brad

Cathy Morgan
10-14-2003, 11:02 PM
Just want to report that I did make it for the 28 days...and since. Last Saturday was my 28th day in a row of going straight to the studio to work in the morning.

Now I'm going down every morning to work on photographing the completed bowls. Yesterday was a good day and I felt I made progress. Today I tried a zillion lighting setups that didn't work. Came away confused and discouraged. Tonight I looked at the digital photos and there's really only one spot that's totally bad lighting (too much). And the black background mostly works. Anyway, this is a whole other topic. At least, I'm showing up!

RobinZ
10-15-2003, 09:16 AM
Cathy, good for you!

JamieWG
10-26-2003, 10:15 AM
Originally posted by Cathy Morgan
Just want to report that I did make it for the 28 days...and since. Last Saturday was my 28th day in a row of going straight to the studio to work in the morning.

Cathy, 'just had to pop in again to say "Congratulations!" to you. As soon as I make the switch from plein air to studio work (to be determined by weather conditions), I'll be embarking on a similar course, but 21 days. I hope mine proves to be as successful as yours has! Thank you for the inspiration. I've really enjoyed your online artist journal as well.

Jamie