How to time manage a creative life

I’m not a great candidate for strict routine or habits. Which could be a character deficit when faced with the many things I want to accomplish each week. I prefer to follow “leanings.” Left to my own devices and left alone in general, I usually allow an activity or project to find me. Like, when I had accidentally discovered a fascinating effect on my laptop Photo Booth app one night. (while alone, so left to my own devices as I said). I had stumbled upon an exciting photography tool that could be so creatively employed for artistic expression, was so excited by it and engaged this app so rigorously I wore it out. It no longer does what it was doing before. I may have to buy a new laptop. I did gather a sizeable portfolio to work with though, but that app is toast.

I have much that bids for my attention. Painting, drawing, making something in clay, writing, practicing music, editing photographs, practicing Spanish, yoga, reading, or making/baking food to contribute to my sorely neglected food blog. And I’m married. And he is also retired, and now home, all. the. time. I need to acknowledge my spouse every so often, and feed him. (this isn’t a feminist issue, I’m a better cook, although he makes a fantastic curry chicken.) I can’t just bury myself away in my rainbow room of creative projects and ignore him hours and hours at a time.

Then there’s the house. This morning I was making a batch of apple chutney, and looking up into the stove’s hood vent, and noticing the thin layer of grease inside the hood, thus discovered where all the fruit flies that came in with my backyard grapes disappeared to. None fell into the chutney in case you’re wondering.

There is work to do in the yard like rebuilding that dilapidated back garden gate, and gathering material for making raised vegetable beds, cleaning and organizing the shed, taking stuff to the recycling centre. All the domestic stuff that, you know, those without hired housekeepers or hired gardeners have to attend. There are the sojourns by boat to town to shop for groceries.

The drama.

By rights any clear thinking organized person would in fact set up a type of schedule; to ensure especially that time is devoted to creative work. To prioritize. And I have tried that, starting with the mundane: a morning work out. I get as far as every morning I will rise and do my 25 minute weight work out before breakfast. And I will, for a couple of weeks. I acknowledge to myself how good I feel doing this, how energized my body feels and prepares me for the day. Then, one morning I’ll get up and think that I don’t particularly like changing my clothes twice in the morning.

Because, of course, I wear “work out” clothes to work out in, then after a shower, I have to dress all over again. Some mornings I wake up and think, I just want to get dressed in the clothes I’m going to wear for the day and go downstairs and start my day with a project, right off. No sweating first thing in the  morning. But the fact remains that I need the work-out and I do feel so much better physically in doing it. Starting my day with the work-out I feel helps me begin my day with some vigour at least. I know, the stupid preoccupations of a retired person. And it’s not like I don’t have time to change my clothes twice in the morning.

Then I’m stymied by wondering if I should work outside first, while there is daylight, then spend afternoons and evenings with inside projects. But, by the afternoon and working outside I am too physically tired to think in creative terms-like ok, now I’ll go downstairs to my studio and work up a painting, or get on the wheel and throw a mug. Before having to prep and cook dinner. Ugh, I know this  is such self indulgent mental pre-school!

I think now that I have that freedom to do the work I want to do, rather than the stuff I have to do that once required a schedule, ie: going to my job in town each morning, gives the illusion I no longer need to follow a schedule. But it’s increasingly apparent I do still need to have something, the very least a quasi-firm guideline, some form of time management.

 

 

 

It’s alive! My sourdough starter that is.

I had been away all summer, so when I checked my starter in the fridge when I got home, and poked into the gooey mass, I could see there were still some bubbles in there. Then I  gave it a feeding. And hooray it’s vigorous ! The elastic band indicates how much it inflated with its first refresh. Amazes me still, this “critter” that lives and breathes. Like a pet. A gooey pet.

Not big news, I know, but it made me happy. Anyone else have a sourdough to maintain?

The approach of Autumn

To be honest,  Fall is one of my favourite seasons. I was born and lived in California till I was 14 years old before moving to Vancouver Island with my folks, epochs ago. In California the days were, and I venture to assume are still, warm with regularly clear skies for most of the year. If you wanted to see snow you went to Big Bear or Lake Tahoe. I lived in Huntington Beach.

The trees on our streets never dropped a leaf. If it did the tree was probably dying. And flowers seem to continually bloom. The rare occurrence when rain fell in southern California, and after the skies cleared, I would only then notice clean, clear air. The smog would be rinsed from the skyline for a short while. I could see the details on Saddleback, the highest mountain peaks in the Santa Ana Mountain range. Better still, sometimes I could even see the crown of Mount Shasta poking up on the horizon from Northern California.

When I moved to Vancouver Island in the summer of 1973 I was completely blissed out when my first autumn came and the leaves changed colour and let loose on the wind, carpeting the roads and yards. The smell of autumn was a new thing for me. Rich and voluptuous, and layered. Cool fresh mornings and burnished evenings, blustery days with gusting winds. Love it.

And as autumn deepens in to November and December I’m loving it still.  If there is a snowfall in the mix, then I’m excited and invigorated by it. Even when I had to commute to work by boat, then car. Snow fall here is a novel happening. It might only last a week or two, so even a die hard from Ontario has no grounds for complaint. But sometimes they still do. I’m naming no one. Bob.

January is another story.

Although I just got home not long ago from a busy summer, in another week I will be making one more drive back to Salmon Arm to get together with family for Thanksgiving and to celebrate my granddaughter Saylor’s second birthday. Then life will come down to a simmer when I get back. Well, I would say rather, life will turn inward. For me, I have writing I want to – need to do, and also get to work on some painting in the studio I have yet to fully engage in. It sits downstairs waiting.

Autumn is the perfect time for these kinds of things.