Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Goal Without a Plan...


...is just a wish. I have a lot of wishes in the works. If you haven't gathered, the dark of the year is when I do my best navel-gazing: evaluating where I am and where I want to be, and what it takes to get there. I made some good progress in the past year, since my last prolonged episode of pondering. My reach exceeded my grasp, but I got much further than I would have had I not reached in the first place.  I had hoped we'd rebuild the kiln; instead we built the kiln shelter and amassed about 10 percent of the necessary brick. I do spend more time making pots, and as a result make more and hopefully better pots. I got three new consignment outlets to sell the extra inventory. And I had one big project that resulted in many new techniques and forms in my standard vocabulary. Planning works a little like prayer: you don't always get what you plan for, either.

Speaking of, I have learned a little motivational trick using my planner. Non-artist friends are often surprised when I tell them I have to motivate myself to get into the studio. They sort of picture a potter's life as a grinning jubilee of fun-fun-fun! in the studio. Don't get me wrong, I often do have fun in the studio, and that thumpingly good feeling of satisfaction I get when I have made something that I know is good, is compelling all by itself. But that doesn't mean that I don't get up sometimes and just feel like lazing around re-reading the Harry Potter series. The intellectual engagement necessary to make good pots can be a challenge to bring myself around to. So I trick myself using a much shallower system of reward: I give myself happy-face stickers for time spent in the studio. I also earn stickers for working out, and sometimes foil stars for completing tasks that I've been avoiding. If I get fifty stickers in a month, I buy myself something. Nothing grand: perhaps a lipstick, or a CD.

I just had a sudden, embarrassing thought: what if it is just me? What if other potters are gleefully shoving aside the Netflix when it arrives, because it will only subtract from their studio time!?! Maybe other potters have to be restrained from staying up all night, and dragged away for meals. Maybe I really am just lazy. 

No, I can't be the only one. Can I? If you need motivational tricks to get yourself working, share them with me!

2 comments:

Linda Starr said...

beautiful rose photo with the snow; I just wish I had a dedicated studio spot now, but I don't need tricks, I just need to get in there and then time flies by, just getting there sometimes is the problem, at least with the last location, hopefully the next it will be different. now try to movitvate me to do paperwork that is another story.

Francis said...

I love my life as an artist! But to make good work you need to plan and follow through. So I try to separate playing time from making art. Play time can be spend reading books, playing with clay and stamps, listening to music, experimenting with pottery and glazes. It helps for me to have a piece of paper nearby when I just play to catch all the thoughts about the good art I wish to make when it is time for that again. Then I know exactly what needs to be done. Fix kiln, get wood, make new stamps, eat pumpkin pie, make a vase with the glaze I just loved whilst experimenting. I hope it helps! :)

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