I recently learned something about myself and it surprised me.
When I was younger and working in various bands my creative time was at night when the hour was late and the sky was dark.
The rest of the world was asleep (not many 24 hour businesses in those days) and you were left on your own to do and play as you pleased. No one was there to rein you in or tell you that you can’t do that.
Recently over a weekend my wife went out of town to an art school reunion which left me with two nights to do what I want and not feel guilty that I might be neglecting her.
I have two nights to hole up in my office/studio away from the rest of the world. I can stay up as late as I want since I don’t have to get for work the next morning. What more could I ask for?
Here is my chance to spend hours uninterrupted writing lyrics, working on business plans or maybe even try to crank out a short story, something I always wanted to try my hand at but never had the time.
Ok, so the first night wasn’t so successful. I had a long day of messing with a riding mower that needed the mowing deck dropped and the main belt replaced, or so I thought. This coming right after I had just picked it up that morning from the repair shop after having the steering mechanism replaced.
I run all over town locating a replacement belt and then put it all back together. That process took about three hours and it still wasn’t fixed.
Now I’m sitting there on a mower that I just picked up from the repair shop, it’s broken again and I still have half of my yard to mow.
My dad helps me out by finishing the other half of the yard with his mower and then helps me load up my mower to take it back to the repair shop.
I also decided to make turkey burger chili (no beans please) on that day since I had plenty of very ripe home grown tomatoes that needed to get used up before they start to rot. There’s nothing like homemade chili made with tomatoes right off the vine.
Once all of these chores were completed, I cleaned up the kitchen, showered and did my daily hour or so of drum practice. By then it was almost 8:00 PM.
It’s time to get creative.
Scratch that. I’m tired, have a headache and all I want to do is space out on my big screen TV.
“Tomorrow” I say to myself, “Tomorrow I’ll rest and take it easy since I got everything done today. Then in the evening I’ll be ready to spend hours creating.”
The next day, which was a Saturday, that is exactly what I did. Besides hauling the broken mower back to the repair shop. I pretty much did nothing the whole day.
Now it’s night. I’m sitting in my office/studio. I have all my writing material and sketches of lyrics in front of me and I’m nice and comfortable on my reclining leather couch.
I have a preseason football game on for background noise. It’s preseason so who cares and if need be I could turn it to a baseball game. They’re slow and boring, again just background noise.
I sat and thought and sat and thought. After two hours I came up with two lines.
I just wasn’t inspired and I couldn’t make myself inspired.
Now I’m getting depressed.
My wife will be home tomorrow afternoon and over a weekend where I expected to do great things I got two lines.
I bagged the whole creative thing for the night and just allowed myself to get sucked into some movies. Another creative night lost.
I get up the next morning and it’s raining so I go back downstairs to my office to work on my monthly household budget and listen to some of my vinyl records.
At 9:00 AM I’m back in my office paying bills, looking at financial records and listening to some great vinyl from the seventies and early eighties.
When I was done I thought let’s see if I can finish a set of lyrics.
Lo and behold in less than an hour I had completed a set of lyrics and was pleased with how it turned out.
What have I learned?
First, turn off the TV, put on some music and sit at my desk.
The second and perhaps most important lesson is that from working an eight to five job for over 25 years my really creative time has gone from late at night to mornings.
This may be because when working eight to five I had to start out sharp and my mind was most active and alert to start the day. As the day progressed my mind would grow tired, worn down. When night finally arrived my mind just wants to shut down, it just wants to left alone.
It is a habit.
When I do have more time to work on the creative projects I need to schedule them in the morning, at least until I retire. Even then I may carry on with the creative mornings.
When is your creative time?
© Otis P Smith and About the Groove, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Otis P Smith and About the Groove with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.