The Artist – The 15 minute rule

So, you’ve had a crappy day.

You’ve been in meetings all day at your job, your allergies are making your head hurt, and the last thing in the world you want to do is to sit down and make art.
It’s OK, we’ve all had days like that.

You’ve got to make art anyway.

Remember that day when you decided that you were an artist?  Well, the only thing that makes you an artist is if you DO art.  Not doing art and calling yourself an artist makes you a wannabe.  No one wants to be a wannabe.  You want to be the real thing, right?  Well, the only way that happens is if you sit your butt in that chair and do art.

But let’s say you’re like me.

I come home to my wife, dragging my feet across the floor and collapsing on the couch.  I heave a dramatic sigh and say “I really don’t want to have to do anything tonight.  I’ve spent my whole day doing stuff I didn’t want, and I’d just like an evening to do nothing for a change.”  (This happened last week.)

My wife smiled sweetly and said, “Just show up for 15 minutes.  If you don’t like doing it after that, you can quit.”

This is a devious rule that my wife developed when her son was 5.  You parents know what it’s like…”Mom, when’s food ready?  I’m HUNGRY!”
“Soon,” you reply.
“But, I’m hungry NOW!”
“Tell you what, wait 15 minutes, and if you’re still hungry, I’ll give you a snack”.

He never was hungry.

You see, feelings are like the weather.  You can feel one way one moment, and another way the next.  You CAN’T let feelings decide if you make art in the evening, because…well, to put it nicely, they don’t think long term very well.  As in, ever.

So, here’s what you do when you feel like crap and are angry at having to sit down and make art:
Give it 15 minutes.

I swear, if you honestly are doing art for 15 minutes and it hasn’t captured your creative spirit and imagination, you can quit.  I’ll tell you a secret, it doesn’t happen very often.  (I can only think of once for me.)

And DON’T worry if you’re angry and grumbling when you sit down and smugly tell yourself “I’ll show her, I’ll only do 15 minutes and then I’ll quit.” Feelings change.

And when the evening is done, you’ll have been an artist, which will feel very, very satisfying.



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