Battling The Voices In Your Head

Do you go into your studio only to find yourself thinking you should be doing housework? Or yard work? Or anything but creating art? I don’t know about you, but I constantly start thinking about what I should be doing instead of spending time in the studio. Those voices in my head tell me I should be outside pulling weeds, or cleaning the house, or doing laundry.

Maybe it’s from years of conditioning that art “isn’t a real job” or “is just for fun and relaxation “. Or it is from years of working full-time and knowing that I only have 2 days (Sat/Sun) to get all of my personal chores done. Why do we let those voices in our head distract us?

I think (no real research done here but just a gut feeling) that this is especially hard for women artists as society has conditioned us to be the Queens of the Household. We raise children, maintain the house, cook meals, run errands, and often run a career outside the home. We “do it all”.

Only we can change this mindset. No one else can do it. While we are empty nesters, I still struggle to change my thought process. My time in the studio is important to my well-being and to my success as an artist. What works for me (since I’ve spent a lifetime of living by the calendar) is to block out time for art – hours, days; it doesn’t matter as long as I do it. When I was looking at retirement, I wrote down what my typical day would look like – start time, activities, end time – just like I would when I worked full-time. Does it work? Not always, but it does help me. When I’m in the studio I crank up my music and forget the things calling me to distraction. It doesn’t always work, but I do find those times of “losing myself in the creative process” are showing up more often.

I still struggle to stay focused and when those days happen I don’t sweat it. I embrace it and just “rearrange” my schedule. Maybe I bite the bullet and get those errands run. Or, spend an hour cleaning the house. Maybe I take time to do the little jobs in my studio such as putting away reference materials or finally matting watercolors that I have had sitting around. Whatever it takes to clear my mind of those taunting voices so I can focus on art when I go back to the studio.