Many of us have 9-5 occupations in addition to our artistic vocations, and the need to put bread on the table, along with family commitments, can come at the expense of time pursuing our art. It is frustrating to be too tired to shoot, to write, to paint. Your brain aches, eyelids fail, unable to do anything that seems productive.
How do you manage to be fulfilled in your art, with the needs of the world nipping at your heels? How do you hit your 1,000 golf balls a day and still do a 100 mile a day commute?
Take a step back. Breathe.
Art isn’t all doing. Much is thinking and learning. Study and learning are just as vital to your art as sitting in front of an easel.
Long driving commute? Have you tried listening to podcasts? Listen to others in your field, keep up with trends, hear about different techniques. And don’t limit yourself to your own field. The arts have more in common in terms of process than they do differences. How about some art history? Learn perspective from the past. Your art is informed by history even if you don’t know it.
Don’t have to drive? Great, you have more options. Read a book! Libraries are great repositories of books and books on tape. Take something on the train with you. It can be visual or it could be the biography of an artist you admire. Studio photographer? Pick up a magazine and deconstruct how you think they did the lighting or retouched the cover.
Out and about? If you are a visual artist, how would you compose an interesting scene where you are? What canvas would you use, what camera settings? Writer? How about a couple of lines to describe the scene or something that might happen there. It does not have to be perfect, it does not have to earn a Pulitzer. What matters is being in the process. Now you are thinking, “but I go go beautiful places everyday!” Did I say it had to be beautiful? How about the bus stop, the gas station, the laundromat. Images and moments are everywhere. Yours to use to hone your skills. The more you pay attention in these in-between times, the better your art will become. See that person standing in the doorway? Examine how the light plays around the frame and across her face.
At some point you will have to write, paint or shoot, definitely. But in the in-between times make sure you take every advantage of the moments in your day to hone your skills, attune your ears and eyes, connect to heart and art. If you do, you will be in the right mindset to generate wonderful work.