Monk-like Focus

I somehow ended up with this article up in a browser on my screen. Where did it come from? Sometimes I forget how I get where I get. In any case, it is incredibly relevant to my life, to me, and to my post-graduation “what’s next?” dilemma/limbo state.

This guy, Cal Newport, cites the struggles that ‘to-do list creatives’ face. It’s so difficult to balance things that require both your left and right brains. What should be a priority? Answering e-mails, doing laundry, going to the bank? Or setting down to work on a self-motivated project to better your portfolio and chances of getting more freelance jobs or, heaven forbid, a real job?

Fellow grads and strugglers: you should check it out. It’s one guy’s route to success and balance, anyway.

I once had to state what drawing meant to me: a manifesto of drawing. It was difficult to differentiate ‘drawing’ from ‘the creative process,’ because they are very different to me. Drawing is more like productivity for me; setting down to work. Getting into the zone. Checking things off the to do list.

Drawing is details.
Drawing is deafness.
Drawing clears the mind.
Drawing demands focus.

Drawing is rubbing; scraping.

Drawing is physical.
Drawing is the manipulation of materials.
Drawing does not demand creativity
It is merely an act of creation.

“Being creative,” for me, is less serious. I have to be in the right mode, not zone. I have to be in the wildly idealistic, goofy-smiling, happy as can be mode to produce anything that I can be satisfied with. It’s hard to find that place in any consistent fashion.

Cal says, “Most to-do list creatives cannot drop everything to spend days lost in monk-like focus.”

He’s right. Life gets in the way of producing your best art, all of the time. If art is your life, you might be willing to make the sacrifice. If art simply enhances your life though, like it does for me, it doesn’t make sense that it should be so difficult to sit down and MAKE IT.

Sidenote: I hate all of the WordPress templates. This one is temporary. I’m trying to find the one I hate least.


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