So now there's nothing that I HAVE to do in the studio over the next couple of days. But since I'd left that time open, I thought: "Well, I could start the new book, or finish the one I started last month or try that new structure I've been looking at..." To which I replied: "Ha!"
A little later, I saw a quote on Roben-Marie Smith's blog, Every Life Has a Story:
"We should be taught not to wait for inspiration to start a thing. Action always generates inspiration. Inspiration seldom generates action." -- Frank Tiboltand stopped to think how often I stay out of my studio because I have no pressing idea for a specific project and no looming deadline. I know that, as Woody Allen said, "80% of success is showing up" (not quite as good as what most people think he said: "90% of life is showing up."), but it's still difficult to get my foot in the (studio) door, so to speak.
Now, deadlines -- real deadlines are great, and I'm good at rallying to the cause. But I'm not one of those who can use artificial deadlines as a motivator. "Whom are you kidding?" , I always wonder when someone suggests this to me. You know it's a fake deadline, so why would you take it seriously? (actually, I say "Who are you kidding?," but BookGirl, an English major, always knows when she's speaking ungrammatically.)
A better approach, I think, if you have no actual deadlines in sight, is to get your friends to agree to exchange stuff: handmade books, ATCs, prints -- whatever. And set a deadline. This usually does the trick, since I'm embarrassed to be the one who doesn't hold up her end of the bargain. The larger the number of people participating, the more embarrassing it is opt out. It doesn't work for me to do this with only one other person, since it's too easy to call on that one person's sympathy with sad tale about one's dog (BookPuppy) having eaten one's book.
The other thing you can do is to take a class. Somehow paying good money to have someone assign for homework exactly what I should have been doing on my own in the first place works wonders. Of course, it's depressing to think that I have such little self-discipline (and less money for art supplies after paying for the class), but BookGirl never expects life to be perfect.
Coincidentally, this wasn't the first quote I saw today about "doing" and "starting." Here's the other one:
"In fact, the ability to start out upon your own impulse is fundamental to the gift of keeping going upon your own terms, not to mention the further and more fulfilling gift of getting started all over again -- never resting upon the oars of success or in the doldrums of disappointment...Getting started, keeping going, getting started again -- in art and life, it seems to me this is the essential rhythm." -- Seamus HeaneyI'm beginning to think that someone is trying to tell me something (insert theme from The Twilight Zone here). All in all, this is not a bad thing to be told, and certainly something I need to hear. Often. Maybe I'll go back into the studio tomorrow after all.