This year, I'm holding nothing back in a series and exhibition called 'Balancing Act,' a behind the scenes insight into balancing commitments and creativity.
Each Month I’ll share two posts – the first (out on the first Monday of the month) will be a monthly insight into the studio of how I balanced the previous month’s workload, life and business with the pursuit of something that’s on the heart - a Solo show. This will be packed with honesty, tips and lessons learned from deconstructing the month.
This is how I balanced February.
February and Wrestling Resistance
I’ve been well aware that I’d be facing my own resistance this quarter as I took off so much time for the wedding in November and December which has a knock on effect 2-3 months later (more to come on this effect in an upcoming post). But knowing it’s coming and facing it are two different things.
In Steven Pressfield's book 'Do the Work' he likens the resistance we can feel as a entity we've to combat:
'On the field of the Self stand a knight and a dragon. You are the knight. Resistance is the dragon. The only intercourse possible between the knight and the dragon is battle.'
I’ve tried to keep the dragon at bay but it has raised it’s ugly head more times this past month than I’d care to admit. When it does, it can feel debilitating because instead of taking action that moves you further from it, you literally resist, stuck before it.
You’ve two options: Retreat or Fight..
When I retreat, I find myself procrastinating by over thinking, researching, worrying, scrolling and Netflixing - sheer withdrawal and avoidance of getting the work done.
When I fight, I employ weapons or strategies.
When resistance tries to prevent me getting started my strategy is to set a stopwatch for 15 minutes to work on whatever activity I’m avoiding. Whether it’s painting, writing the next blog post, admin, finance or sculpting, I know I can sit for 15 minutes and try regardless of how I feel. Usually after the time is up, I’ve past the biggest hurdle and the dragon has shrunk because I’ve started to take action to move away from it.
What weapons will you choose to combat your resistance?
Inside the Studio
Week beginning 4th: This week began my term time classes at the Island Art Centre but for some reason we struggled with uptake. Tuesday ceramics launched but we had to cancel the Thursday evening portraiture sessions which was an unexpected hit. I’ve made note to strengthen marketing efforts going forward as well as aiming to secure an additional teaching venue. Began some work on Solo show and had meeting with The Beat Carnival about our next public event. The weekend brought an overnight Spa trip with friends, silk painting with my niece and a trip to see Lord of the Dance with my father. This week the balance was good.
Week beginning 11th : Mark has been working away for 3 weeks so I made use of my cancelled class on Thursday and took a flight to London to spend time with him. A trip to the British Museum, dinner in a French restaurant and the most chocolately mocha refreshed my creative soul. Progress on portraits and teaching at the University this week left no time for solo show.
Week beginning 18th: Worked with my usual courses and the University. Delivered a day course on Colour Theory on Saturday which was fantastic to reconnect with some past students and new. Time in studio was dedicated to starting a new sculpture for an outdoor exhibition and the solo show which has unintentionally started to look like me.
Week beginning 25st: I’ve blinked and this month has disappeared. My usual classes have taken place this week plus a few extra with Dementia Ni and the Beat Carnival. Numbers for the month show that although I’ve had a cancelled class, it’s been my most profitable and balanced February to date, making more income with more days off and time in studio - another blow to resistance.
Next month: March will involve reaching out to new contacts to meet during the lower season of April, as well as spending time in the studio to complete sculpture and Mother’s Day portraits.
What about you?
Let me know in the comments below how you found this month, what you’ve created, or are struggling with. What are your resistance points - do you have a nagging voice saying it won’t work, does money worries halt you, is it available time or space to create? I’ll offer my support and guidance and if you want an added dose of support, sign up to Studio notes to receive free tips, lessons, discounts and insights into the studio.
I hope you have a creative March and stay tuned for the second part of Balancing Act - a thought, tactic or strategy to help you make time for your he[art] coming out on Monday 18 March.