The reason you’re out of ideas is that you’re out of practice.
I was so proud of saying this to a client the other day that I asked her to hold while I wrote down the quote.
I knew to write it down because I’m in the practice of gathering ideas for my writing. I have a regular writing schedule. I can’t say the same for a studio schedule.
No Studio Practice
When Barbara Gilhooly and Ayn Hanna called for “heart art” for their commitment ceremony, I wanted to make a heart for them so badly. I stewed over it for three months before giving up. I had a twinkle of an idea, but no vision for making it happen.
That’s when I realized that the reason I couldn’t make it happen is because I don’t have a regular studio practice. I’m not in the habit of making art, so starting a new project seems like starting over. It would take more energy than I have available in my schedule.
Some of my clients have a problem coming up with ideas for their newsletter or blog, while others go blank in the studio. The root of the problem is the same whether you’re stuck in the office or in the studio: the reason you’re out of ideas is that you’re out of practice.
You’re not writing frequently enough or working in the studio as much as you should be. You’ve neglected your practice.
In a First for This Blog … Here’s Where The Physics Comes In
It’s Newton’s First Law of Motion, which can be paraphrased: An object at rest stays at rest, and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an external force.
In this case, the external force is the voice inside your head that fills you with excuses and diversions. If you want to maintain momentum, you must keep taking action.
If you want to maintain momentum, you must keep taking action.
The minute you stop for a break, you risk watching that short break grow into a longer break and, before you know it, you’ve stopped altogether.
It takes much more energy to restart something than to keep it going.
I’ve witnessed this in my clients and students who “take a break” from writing their monthly newsletters because they think they have nothing to say. That one-month break turns into 6 months and then 12 months.
You may think this doesn’t sound too bad, but consider the implications. What do you tell your list after being AWOL for months at a time? Oops! I forgot you. I didn’t have anything to say, so I didn’t write. I didn’t think you’d care.
You don’t say that because it’s awkward and a little lame after promising them regular correspondence from you. To avoid this, you’re going to maintain the practice. And I promise that the more you write, the more you will find to write about.
When you have a practice – a routine – you’re more sensitive to what you need to maintain it. It feels good to be able to count on this structure.
Likewise, the more time you spend in the studio, the more ideas you will have for your art. The more structure you have in your studio schedule, the more freedom you will be able to express in your art-making.
Out of ideas? Get back into practice!