In college I had a painting mentor who told me, "when creating, try not look to look at other artist's work, turn off the t.v. when painting and don't listen to music with lyrics- it can be too influential over your own work". At the time I didn't think much about his recommendations (he was really eccentric), I already didn't look at other peoples work to influence my own- there was not much of an internet then, I didn't have access to t.v. in my creative space but music with no lyrics- that was absurd!!! These days this advice has come back to inspire and haunt me- especially lately. In a world where anything is accessible on the computer, it seems that there is now a place in my life for his words- over 15 years later thank you very much! I have been forcing or maybe I should say "working on" unplugging in my daily creative life. While I still don't depend on other's work to inspire me, I do depend on the computer for marketing, promotion, research and more. I have recently noticed that all this technology is giving me anxiety and fogging my brain and my creative spirit. I find myself thinking of status updates and blog entries when I am falling asleep at night, I watch t.v. and movies when I work, listen to music, twitter, blog, photograph, update, email, check status and so on and so on ALL DAY LONG- sometimes at the same time! It is exhausting, and while I don't think there is any way to avoid technology and perks that come with it (especially when running a creative business) I do think that there needs to be a time and place in order to maintain purity in our creative work.
I want to challenge all of you out there to join me in "unplugging" throughout your week to make time for quiet creating that doesn't have technology attached to it. Here are a few simple ideas to get started-
Instead of t.v or music with lyrics while you create- try listening to jazz or instrumental or even (gasp) silence- just a few times during the week when you are creating.
Pick one day out the week and spend half (only half) the day not checking email, twittering, blogging, checking other blogs, etc. Challenge yourself to work up to a whole day spent away from the computer.
Look for creative inspiration OFF the internet- Look for unique color combos in your everyday routine (grocery store, drive to work, pile of laundry). Get back to basics and sketch. Go on daily, weekly or even monthly photoshoots for unique images or inspiration to use in your art.
Keep a body of your work private. Use some work for promotion, blogging, samples, etc but challenge yourself to work on things only for you. I find that making art without any purpose is best for the soul.
Turn off the t.v. when creating- this is my biggest challenge because often I get bored (while sewing or doing prep work) but have lately that time away from the t.v. while working on creative tasks has helped me thinking clear.
Come up with your own ways to be be authentic and pure in your daily creative life