december's been a crazy month. it always is isn't it? i feel like once thanksgiving is over, it's just a whirlwind rush of non stop activity right up till Dec. 31st. as this year is drawing to a close, i haven't much subscribed to anything holiday related as of yet. i'm going home to hawaii for christmas, so i haven't bought a tree... or decorated. or made christmas cookies. or have bought a single gift yet. my travel schedule has caused me to miss every single one of the holiday parties i've been invited to (4 at last count), + i wanted to send all my clients a holiday card, but alas i didn't get on it + now it's too late. (although, i think i'll adopt the french tradition of sending out a new year's card instead... time bought!) all that to say, that while i've somehow managed to avoid alot of the bustle of the holidays... it isn't lost on me that yet another year is closing behind me + a new one is opening beyond me. which causes me to pause + think about what i've accomplished... + what i've yet to do. as a creative, an artist, + a freelancer I'll be the first to admit that sometimes i have a hard time focusing. someone once described a creative's mind like having 23 browser windows open at once. it's so true. i've got so many ideas. so many directions. so much inspiration from so many different places... i often feel overwhelmed at slowing it down + focusing on one. even in my work ethic while on my computer i need to train myself to not multi-task (actually not effective) but to finish one task at hand before beginning another. i'm incredibly inspired by those who have come before me + seem to have mastered this idea of getting the work done. Stephen King in his memoir "On Writing" talks about the importance of a daily routine + the importance of eliminating distractions. for ex. he says :
if possible, there should be no telephone in your writing room, certainly no TV or videogames for you to fool around with. If there’s a window, draw the curtains or pull down the shades unless it looks out at a blank wall. For any writer, but for the beginning writer in particular, it’s wise to eliminate every possible distraction...amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.”
Joan Didion, E.B. White, Maya Angelou, Jack Kerouac + Ernest Hemingway have all written about their techniques for getting the work done. Mostly it's about creating boundaries where distractions creep in. Susan Sontag had a rule to be up at 8am 6 out of 7 days, + to only have lunch out with people once every two weeks. Haruki Murakami gets up, writes, runs + reads every day without variation. Jonathan Franzen famously superglued an ethernet wire into his writing laptop + cut the cord to avoid the distraction of the internet.
“The most important thing about art is to work. Nothing else matters except sitting down every day and trying.” Steven Pressfield, The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks & Win Your Inner Creative Battles
i had a really great chat with my friend patric a couple weeks back. i was telling him how many things i wanted to do... so many projects + ideas to throw myself at. he looked across the table at me + said "the most important thing Brooke is that you do the work. don't just talk about doing the work. don't network + have coffee + lunches + drinks with people to talk how much you're going to do. just do it. ain't nuthin' to it but to do it" suckerpunched. there was so much truth in what he said to me + i'm taking it to heart. so as this year settles as another year gone by, + 2014 is looming upon me i'm really reaching for the work. the hard stuff. the unglamorous boring bits of being a creative that'll push me to be a better artist. a better mother + a better business owner, a better person. i'm really straining for 2014 to be an incredibly productive year. + i feel good about it. here's to eliminating the distractions + getting it done.