show up and get to work

The problem with starting something new is that at some point you actually have to start. Even if it’s something you’re really excited about, it can be really hard to find the courage and the motivation to take those first steps. I’m finding it a daily struggle to get back to the torch, even though it’s something I’ve planned for and wanted for a long time. Those emotional blocks can be hard to overcome, particularly in the realm of creativity.

I’m making a conscious effort to outsmart myself and just get to work. I think many artists wait until the mood strikes before sitting down to make things and I’ve generally been guilty of that. But I remember being in art school where the sheer volume of work that you do is unbelievable. Every day, all day, you’re creating. Some of it is good, some of it is bad, but creating is no longer a choice. It’s just a fact of life. And you learn that sometimes, something truly amazing happens, and that’s the magic that creates the excitement and the anticipation of finding out what comes next. My goal now is to nudge myself into this kind of routine… getting to the torch most days, with the simple goal of creating new stuff. Some of it will be good, some of it will be bad, but in making a constant stream of new work, progress is inevitable. The more you do, the more you get done. And that’s how you move forward.

Last night was a struggle to turn on the torch. I promised myself I would work for at least one hour, and see how I felt after that. I felt exhausted. But instead of giving up, I took a long break and convinced myself to work a little bit longer. After I was done I felt great. Some good things came out of taking the time to just experiment with the glass, even when it felt like the bead I was working on was not going to a good place… And besides the beads I made, I emerged with a bunch of ideas for what to work on next.

I have to keep reminding myself that making anything at all feels so much better than making nothing. It’s good motivation to take it one step at a time.

“The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who’ll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up & get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part & a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself. Things occur to you.”

~ Chuck Close


5 thoughts on “show up and get to work

  1. If/when you get stuck, and we all do, be sure to keep an inspiration file (book, whatever) so that you can look back thru it and see what looks interesting. I like to collect photos online of great color schemes. I dunno if I’ll ever get to make a set of beads with them, but I have them and like to just look at them. or – just grab two colors and see what comes out. black and white, red and white, purple and lime, and get goin’…. 😀

    • Hi Donna! A week or so ago I found a box full of magazines that I was ‘saving’ for inspiration. I finally decided to go through them and tear out photos of colors and patterns I liked… some really good stuff. Always love having that kind of inspiration around. There’s always something I’d never have thought of putting together! Lately I also find it’s kind of fun to pick a color combo that I’ve used before and see what I can come up with…

  2. Pingback: don’t stop believing | Uglibeads – handmade art glass beads by Julie Wong Sontag

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