My show opens this weekend. The to-do list is short – a little bit more framing work to do, print out the wall tags and load things in the car. And to think, just four weeks ago I was going to say ‘no’ because I didn’t think I could do it.
Here are a few things I was reminded of along the way.
1. You can do a lot more than you think you can
When the original invitation came through, I thought “There isn’t enough time”. Then I said yes and found ways to make it work. Longer hours in the studio while guarding that time while at the same time knowing I needed some “me” time if this was going to work (Hello, Van Gogh Show).
2. Creative ideas show up when you do
I experimented and played with ideas and methods because one of the reasons to do this exhibit was to share my thoughts and ideas. That meant moving away from the safe and sure. The more I played around, the more I discovered. That was part of the flow.
Once the show opens on Saturday, I’ll come back to the studio and keep playing. I don’t know if I would have gotten out of my creative rut if I hadn’t had this deadline. Which brings me to number three
3. Deadlines are our friends
A deadline forces me to think creatively. It focuses my attention, clearing the mental clutter so I can spy a path forward. That got me moving.
That deadline was the starter pistol, so to speak. Once I committed, I didn’t have a lot of time to waste so I moved into high gear. I did take some time to make a quick project plan, identified the paintings I wanted to do and gathered the materials required. Then I showed up in the studio with actionable items for that day to close the gap between me and that deadline.
I also understood that I needed timely breaks so periodically, I’d step away for a bit without guilt and come back refreshed, ready to work again.
4. Find your champions
When I let the people in my life know what I was up to, they were fully supportive (and I really have to say thank you to any of you reading this. )
They understood I wouldn’t be as available (temporarily) as they were used to but they cheered me on. They took an interest. At times, they even stepped in when I didn’t have time to do something that needed to get done.
If you have people in your life that get in your way when something big like this comes along, well, they’re not your champions. They may make noises like they are but if they put up roadblocks, you need to pay attention.
I’ll say it again. Find your champions. They make the trip easier and will be there to celebrate when you achieve that goal. (‘Cause it’s not a party if you’re the only one there!)
5. Sometimes good enough is good enough
Not always. For instance, I want the paintings for this show to be the best I can produce at this stage in my career.
However, I was stressing over how I was going to write another blog post today and then I realized I just needed to write it and it will be what it is. Letting go of trying to make something perfect, lets me do more, achieve more. Besides, perfection is an illusion, like a mirage on the horizon. Looks great but I’ll never get there.
I promised myself to do a weekly post and if I break that promise, it becomes easier and easier not to do it all. Keeping promises to ourselves and saying yes to things outside out comfort zones keeps us moving in the right direction. And it’s almost guaranteed that we’ll also learn something along the way.