Monday, August 8, 2011

What's your routine?

The Co-Dependent Seeker, (right foreground on stand) Dogwood Art Festival 2011, Knoxville, TN
I love variety but I also need structure. Even when I'm feeling spontaneous and about to burst from boredom, I still gravitate towards some kind of sameness within the madness. This year is my first year after school that I've dedicated myself to my work as a professional. What kind of routine am I developing so far?
     I've had only a couple of shows, the Dogwood Art Festival this past April in Knoxville, TN and this upcoming one in Stockton, CA at the LH Horton Gallery at San Joaquin Delta College. I've also gotten a small presence on Etsy and I'm getting ready to do my first glaze firing in my kiln plus a salt firing at EKU in a couple of weeks. After that, I'll be participating in the Richmond Pottery Festival in Richmond, KY again this year. Things are picking up slowly yet I still get frustrated by the pace of my progress. Should I be? I mean really much of this has been about getting used to the routine of being a full-time artist and artisan. Thinking about all the parts needed makes me dizzy and overwhelmed when I list the ones that come to me off the top of my head, inspiration, incubation, designing, making, glazing, firing, cutting, turning, gluing, constructing, finishing, cleaning, mixing, researching, connecting, blogging, tweeting, marketing, learning, bookkeeping, accounting, strategizing and finding time to do the household things in between all that and not feel neglectful, guilty and absent. So, in retrospect, so far, I'm realizing that I've been adding each piece this year as I get more comfortable with all of it and I slide into a routine of my own. That may leave me the opportunity next year to add more applications to shows, add more inventory, add more marketing, add more festivals and outlets for my work to be seen.

Upcoming show, Stockton, CA; Grounded Flight
I dunno. It still overwhelms me but I suppose that's why wine and coffee exist.
     Having said all that, I do try to add things into my daily routine that keep me feeling focused and energized. What are the kinds of things that people do, independent professionals, to keep them steady on the forward track?
     For me, my day starts early in the morning, feeding the animals. In many ways, the fact that they need food each morning and that they rely on me to give it to them keeps me disciplined and gets me out of bed. Otherwise, I can comfortable see having days where I negotiate with myself that I don't really need to get out of bed...not today. So chalk one up for cats, dogs and horses!

     After that, it's the oatmeal and double cappuccino hit for breakfast followed by computer time to check the news, correspond, blog, tweet, list new items, do bookkeeping, shipping and any other office work. I give myself about 2 hours between 7:15 to about 9:15 for all of that and then it's out to the studio to figure out what happens first out there.
     When I do get out to the studio (followed by some of my dogs and cats who love to come in and sleep while I work) the radio goes on first. Every once in a while I find it necessary to have quiet, nature quiet, to gather my energy and focus, but for the most part, I like to have something on in the background and my taste varies from day to day between classical, opera, Bollywood, blues, independent rock, and old soul and R&B. If I could find even more eclectic music from around the world like traditional Tibetan, Indonesian, Japanese, you name it, that would be terrific but for now, Aretha Franklin is helping things along.
     I'll work for hours until mid-day and lunch, go back to the house for food and maybe to fuss with the horses, check email, Etsy and so on, and then back out to the studio until my husband gets home. When he does, I usually quit for the day so I can spend some time with him. He works weird hours so I take what I can get. Dinner, relax and then in the evening, after my husband goes off to bed, three times a week, I'm doing yoga and taking time to meditate for a few minutes. Getting back into yoga has been such a boost to my discipline. I'm terrible when it comes to sticking to any kind of physical routine but for some reason, even if I'm not so sure I want to do yoga that evening, a few warm up poses and I find myself pushing and challenging myself and before I know it, another yoga hour has passed. By then, I'll either wrap up my day with final emails or Etsy work, maybe another short stint in the studio and then usually, a list of what I need to remember to do the next day.
     And then I do it all over again.
     Yup, looking back so far, I think I'm chugging right along. Just keep swimming, just keep swimming...

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