the fight is over

I’ve finally decided to accept me just as I am, to go with the flow . . . water is a powerful force and I could do worse than to emulate its properties.

I have always wrestled with developing habits that would lead to some sort of self-improvement or help me towards a goal.   As a child I did not practise my music, do my homework or even remember to feed my guinea pigs on a regular basis nor do recall being encouraged to do so.  My children could well say the same and although I remember asking them if they had homework, I probably did it irregularly. As an adult there is very little I do regularly but that may have something to do with having had a working life regulated by appointment times and school bells.   Routine and I?  Well it’s always been a difficult relationship: I have a low threshold to boredom and for me, Routine and Boredom seem to have some sort unholy alliance.

My latest attempts to instill some discipline into my practice have all ended up as failures.  My attempts to place limitations on how many directions I go in . . . playing with encaustic medium almost didn’t happen and, right now, I’m really enjoying its possibilities.  And that’s it . . . words like limitations, discipline and routine give rise to a negative, almost visceral reaction however possibilities makes my Self sit up and smile and start to sing.

Why do I keep trying different things? In the hope that something will enthuse me so much that I fall in love with doing it and never look back?  That we, the activity and I, will be romantically entwined for life and . . . what?  We ride off into the sunset to live happily ever after?  Like that is ever going to happen!  And before you go telling me that it just doesn’t work that way with ANY passion whether it be something or someone, I know, I wasn’t born yesterday!   I’ve given up trying to limit myself or form beneficial habits.  I gave it a damn good try many times . . . giving up is just not the same as giving in.

There is much written about the positive effects of having a daily regimen and having a daily practice and I don’t discount it but it simply doesn’t work for everyone . . . and it’s not some virtue and I will become, by some miracle, a much better person on the inside if I somehow crack this Sisyphean task and do something ‘good for me’ on a daily basis.  Read it here now . . . I will never be that person, who when asked about the secret of their success will say, “I XYZ EVERY DAY AND HAVE DONE SO FOR X YEARS.”  The only thing I do almost every day is get up, use the bathroom, make coffee and take it back to bed and read (a book or online) and I have done that since I did my MEd which I completed in 2002 (working full-time I could only do the necessary reading between 5:30 and 7:30).  Now, I wake when I wake and shower when I shower . . . I don’t wear a watch.  And while I try to hand the car keys in the same place there is a second thing I do . . . I make all sorts of stuff.

For me, trying to set up a new habit opens the door to those voices that tells me I have no will-power or won’t-power, I’m hopeless.   The loudest voice of all, tells me positively screams at me that I’m lazy.  I then spend most of my energy digging a hole to fall into and then have to struggle to get out again.  No more.  No more will I set myself objectives that need to be done daily at a certain time.  I shall continue to be haphazard in my approach to what I do.  My weekly goals will continue but always have the rider “unless something more interesting turns up.”

Recently I decided I would draw every day, make marks if you will, the ‘authorities’ (and yes I know, I have ascribed that title to them . . .  they haven’t, however most of them are teachers so, to some extent, they have).  The most I ever managed to keep this up was for 10 days straight and then something happened and I never got back into it.  Maybe it was a visit from my grandhearts (who love to draw), a particularly stunning morning that demanded I go for a walk or perhaps I got waylaid in the workroom on my way to make coffee and didn’t get out of my pyjamas until 11:00.  Does it matter?   Did time stop?  Was there some cataclysm in some corner of the universe?  (And such is my level of spontaneity, it is now 12:15m and I have not showered nor had any breakfast. And don’t get me started on the difference between being impulsive and being spontaneous.)

For me, having to do something kills a lot of the pleasure . . . this probably means that deep down I’m a hedonist but that’s okay . . . I’m sure the world can cope with a few and might be the better for it.

By now you could be wondering what started all this ranting and rambling.  Yesterday on Face Book I read ‘Action opens the door.  Consistency keeps it open.”  You might nob in agreement and say that’s fine, that’s true, but for someone who will have the epitaph “She Analysed” on her gravestone, that isn’t good enough.  First I finished admiring the penmanship and use of watercolour and then, perhaps because it doomed me to failure, perhaps because I am a bit of a pedant around the edges, I found myself disagreeing with the word choice . . . big time.

Consistency (Oxford Dictionary)
consistent behaviour or treatment. “the consistency of measurement techniques”

synonyms:evenness, steadiness, stability, constancy, regularity, uniformity, equilibrium, unity, orderliness, lack of change, lack of deviation
Consistency was perhaps used with the idea of turning up, applying yourself on a regular basis but more and more I realise I can’t do that . . . it’s just not me.  I think perseverance is what keeps the door open . . . persevering thought the discomfort, extending to a point just a little out of reach, not giving up until you can stand back and know, deep inside, that you did well.    For me, consistency and development just don’t go together.

Maybe I’m splitting straws but in my mind the difference between consistency and perseverance is a bit like the difference between equality and equity.

Of course if it really is consistency that makes the difference between me just mucking about with art supplies and being an artist I’m really sunk.   Regardless of whether it does or not, I’m off to persevere in my making and mucking about.  My plastered forms are waxed and ready waiting for me to apply colour.   Next week I could be weaving, embroidering, making more charcoal, a book or perhaps even drawing or painting, miracles do happen . . . but  whatever I do, I’ll be making because that’s what I am . . . a maker (which is not too far from my childhood nickname of Mucker and that’s fine by me).

Plastered forms ready for waxing. Wendy @ Late Start Studio

Plastered forms ready for waxing.
Wendy @ Late Start Studio

And my mottos?  1, Necessity is the mother of invention and 2, Strike while the iron is hot . . . .and there a millions of power sockets in this world.

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About late start studio

I think the blog title says it all! Or so I thought when I began blogging. Since then I realise that I began my life as a maker very young. The 'late start' is in taking being a Maker seriously . . . giving it the capital letter it deserves. Over the years I have acquired a wide variety of skills , some through need and other through simple curiosity and now that I have resigned from the paid workforce, I am happily pursuing Making with creativity, originality and discipline.

29 thoughts on “the fight is over

  1. The ability to explore–the natural world, your heart, your talents–is a wonderful way to use time wisely. To me, that looks exactly what you are doing. Do more of that!

  2. so that’s where I get it from 😉 ………. well I remember you regularly made beautiful baked cheesecakes and Took Them Away 🙂
    I’ve also found life’s a bit easier if I go with my own flow as well

  3. Ah Wendy! I do so love your rants and envy your gainfully unemployed status to me that equates to freedom- of choice, a life to be lived at one’s whim and will……freedom and fun…my day may come but for now the barriers enforced by employment and marriage stifle my spontanity and wish to fly with the wind. Continue your rants as they fill me with dreams and fantasies of days to come.

  4. Hear hear. The word I am dropping from my vocabulary right now is Deadline. Making and creating to a deadline was totally killing the joy of the activity and limiting creativity. I have a weekly the do list that takes care of the chores , after that how I spend my time is open to the moment. Thanks for writing this post so eloquently

    • Thank you Cathy. I’m not one for deadlines for the same reason. I’ve had my time of making to order, making to sell but no more . . . I make for the joy of it and if I sell anything, well that’s lovely.

  5. What a wonderful post. I used to be fairly organized when I worked and when I had young kids but since I stopped working and mostly since I got to be sixty I just do mostly what I feel like, though do feel a bit guilty still if I sit and read all day, WHY, cause it tends to be drilled into you when you are young. I like this word ‘maker’ I try different stuff, there is nothing to say if you have mainly done one thing that you can’t try others. I do still have some deadlines but have cut down to exhibiting only twice a year so have plenty of time to day dream as well.
    Its great that you can put it all out there and be so honest about your life, its so refreshing to hear from somebody who seems to have really taken charge of their life.

    • Thanks Debbie . . . There are those who would say I have always been in charge of what I do and how I do it. The difference now is that I’m a bit louder about it. And reading all day? I’ve never had a problem with doing that . . . a good book, the odd glass of wine . . . Bliss!

    • Which all goes to prove I can’t change who I am . . . and is it possible to think too much? How much is enough? If I think a lot will it make up for the people who don’t think at all? 5555

  6. Lol! I m laughing at me and not u! I find a safety in routine and fear in chaos! I m trying to learn how to putter and relax into doing nothing or being in the middle and stop! I have a hard time beginning anything and get determine to finish it and so the joy gets sucked out of the doing. I think both of us need to learn how to relax in our own nature.
    Love your blog. Happy creating!

    • I’m glad you enjoy the blog Iva. There’s a lot to be said for routine and we all need a certain amount of structure to help us feel safe and secure. I guess I find too much routine, for me, feels like my choices are being taken away and I certainly find developing new routines very difficult . . . more trouble that they are worth for the most part.

  7. “Consistency”? Bah. Who wants to do the same thing over and over? Patience with yourself is more important, and *that* is what gets you on your path, YOUR path. If i see one more “100 pieces in 100 days”, i’ll puke–what are these people trying to prove? I don’t know about a lot of other artist’s, but my Muse shows when she wants, and forcing her is like forcing that dang invisible maid of mine (FiFi) to do the dishes every day. 🙂

    • Way back I tried a couple of challenges and all it did was open myself up to HUGE self-criticsm so I know better . . . it worked in reverse for me when I got “You’re just bloody LAZY!” yelled at me all the time. There is a big difference between CONstinent and PERsistent though . . . and I’ll take the latter any day (but just don’t expect me to stick with one art form). That being said I do have a friend whose work I have bought, who applies herself diligently (5:30 every morning when she was working) and has made wonderful progress in her work so from that perspective I can’t knock having a structure or setting challenges too much . . . her work is vital and varied.

  8. a Great post and i’ve read it multiple times, thinking about how to respond, but
    just read it again…it’s 5/30 and there are still so many ways to think about it all…
    and i guess i just think stuff is how it is in the moment. So….i’m just going along
    with you, wherever you go, however you go there…Love to you…..

  9. I read your post with a big smile. That is approximately the point where I am now too. After retiring I tried to plan my time with the same efficiency as my working time even if I know that this made me sick at the end. But all this time with only a third of duties scared me a lot. The fear of being lazy or anchorless thats what always pushed me and avoided to hear my inner voice. But I´m learning not to be the slave of my conceptions. Perserverance – that is a word that I love too.
    Tomorrow when I´m in bed with a book and a cup of tea at 6.30 I´ll send you a smile.

    • I found the word ‘retired’ a poor fit and so described myself as having resigned my job and I was ‘gainfully unemployed’ but now I say I work from home. At first I regarded what I do as play but now it is becoming more . . . developmental perhaps?So, I work.

      That will be about 4:30 this afternoon . . . I’ll raise my cup of tea toward the northwest.

  10. The word YES! kept growing larger in my mind as I read. There is a part of me that craves organization and routine, but it has never been part of my creativity. Even when I worked, my only routine was what was imposed on me by my job, my husband’s job, and then my son’s schedule. When my husband retired 11 years ago, routine became nothing more than a word in a foreign language. And, for me at least, there is no consistency without routine.

    Lately I have been struggling with all this laziness. Finally, I think, I have decided just to be. My husband is totally fine with it. It surprises me that he (who was one of my routine imposers) is so comfortable with it. And I’m truly fortunate that he way more than just helps with the chores that need to be done. Reading this is another confirmation of simply being.

    I have always been a creative person. Whether or not this makes me an artist or Artist or artiste is not something I ever really cared about. Just being, for me, means creating (and learning), and doing that in cycles of interest is what works for me. I hope to let my mood/muse lead me. My son can decide if I was and and what kind of an artist after I’m gone (if he wants to).

    Sorry to write such a long comment, but it was just so refreshing to read this point of view.

    • Long comments are every bit as welcome as short one Faith. Almost 2 years after leaving the paid workforce I’ve found some routines have emerged but they tend to last a short time and are dictated by the current passion . . . and as it’s the depths of winter here, a good book might delay the time I rise. I know how fortunate I am to have my choices.

  11. “I’ve finally decided to accept me just as I am, to go with the flow . . . water is a powerful force and I could do worse than to emulate its properties.”

    I do that, a lot. And then fall back. >,-) Something/one says I *should* be doing thus and so. And I internalize the message. And feel-all-duty-bound again. Bahhhh-humbug….

    Oh well, I never want to be *perfect.” LOL Then I would be *done,* and I certainly don’t want to be *done,* yet!!!

    So I too, seek the way of water. Flow, damn it! Flow!

    Thank you for your musing…. It is inspiring……

    • I know what you mean about the ‘should’. Why does disciplined seem so grown up? My flow has been productive though and developed a pattern but now I have a new puppy so I guess that’s going to go right out of the window.

  12. I know this is an old post, but had to chime in “me too”. Doing the same thing all the time to me is like having the same meal 3x a day x365. As soon as I set an intention of doing a thing every day I want to skip class and go smoke behind the bike shed as another friend put it. And in fact, my ideas dry out. If I rotate my crafts, they feed each other somehow. It’s not ADHD, I can focus very deeply. Until I need a break and then I do other stuff rather than sit around moping about having writer’s or xx block.

    You are simply multicraftual! Do you know the website (I think it is)

    • It’s that low threshhold to boredom for me Pia. After I wrote this post and started just doing what I felt like when I was moved to do so, I became much more productive and a natural rhythm to the day emerged. Unfortunately all of this went out the window with the arrival of a puppy and now everything seems to revolve around her initial training . . . NEVER get a puppy in the middle of winter!

      • I’ve been saying this since our last dog passed nearly 2 years ago. Doesn’t help now that my new studio is up a ladder – can’t bring a dog there and I’d go nuts if I couldn’t either for 6 months!!! So no puppy. I feel your pain exactly!! (but puppies are wonderful of course)

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