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How to Win at Creative Adult – I, Experiment

Comments (6) How to Win at Creative Adult

To all of those intense, Type A, hyper-critical, and high-drive people out there, I think you might love this. If you suffer from a lack of self-esteem, self-loathing, or imposter syndrome, you might like this as well.

I want to tell you about a relatively new thing that I’ve been trying which has been helping me improve my productivity, fitness, and creativity.

I stopped viewing myself as “the person.” and started viewing myself as “the experiment.” Then good things really started to happen.

Here’s why I needed to become an experiment.

About two years ago, I had recovered from an arm injury that took me out of the game for the two previous years. I went from someone who worked out everyday and drew or sculpted every night to someone who could hold a pencil for no longer than ten minutes, never mind hitting the gym.

Once I’d mostly recovered, after two years of doing PT exercises, I found myself at a crossroads. I was out of touch with a art community, and I hadn’t had any significant practice for two years. I couldn’t jump back into my old schedule because my injury could still flare up. This applied to my gym life too. I felt lost.

I realized that I would have to find a new routine that worked for me, my high-drive personality, and my angry elbows.

So I started to “experiment”.

I’m not sure how I arrived at the experiment concept. One day, I simply said. “I’m going to try this new art routine for two weeks and see how it goes. I’ll be like a scientist doing an experiment.”

It went awful. (see item #4 below)

Normally, “Sarah, the person” would have beaten herself up over it, and felt like a lazy failure. However, “Sarah, the experiment” said “hmmm…how can I tweak this to make it work better?”

The evolution of my art routine has been thus:

I did parts 1-3 as “Sarah, the person”
and regularly would beat myself up over bad drawing days, elbow fatigue, etc.

1) Draw on Thurs night only for a few hours with many breaks
– highly painful and crappy art but I was able to keep this up. I had essentially decided that after two years, I was done waiting.
-stretching and PT exercise performed diligently.

2) Draw 3 nights only for a few hours with a few less breaks
– went well enough, often sore by Fri
– added meditation to help my muscles relax.

3) Draw each night after work only for a few hours with breaks
– often only painful a few days a month
– stuck to the pervious routine and increased strength training
– artwork started to improve.

I did parts 4-7 as “Sarah, the experiment” and thoroughly enjoyed the process of tweaking my routine to find the best one for me.

4) Draw 3 morning a week from 6am to 8am then go to work
– elbows were pretty much fine
– seeking to maximize productivity
– performed terribly and I was a total zombie
– can’t focus for 1st hour of session
– crap artwork

5) Draw each morning from 6am to 8am then go to work
– figured a more solid routine would make me less like a zombie
– didn’t work
– artwork still crappy

6) Go into work at 7am, leave by 3pm
– draw all afternoon and into the evening, stopping for workouts and whatnot
– DING! This one is great!
– started to see great results.

7) Started getting up a 5am once a week to draw at the zoo
– noticed a marked increase in productivity in art and a regular workout schedule IF I took a short nap.

8) Got permission to transition all my work days into the eariler zoo day schedule
– will test until Oct.

I fully expect that I’ll need to alter the new earlier schedule, but that’s okay, it’s just an experiment.

I think this is a great way to try new things stress free. What do you think? Are there any experiments you’ve been meaning to conduct? Let me know in the comments below!


If you liked this post, you might like these others.

How to Win at Creative Adult – The Two List Method

How to Win at Creative Adult – Mindfulness and Fighting Stress

How to Win at Creative Adult – Exercise

How to Win at Creative Adult – Drawing at Zoos and Aquariums

How to Win at Creative Adult – Dealing with Frustration and Fear

How to Win at Creative Adult – Focus

How to Win at Creative Adult – Finding Inspiration

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If you’d like to see the fruit of my labors…
I post daily studies and sketches here Twitter.

If you like to ask for private tutoring, win prizes, or simply see my best studies, check out my Patreon.

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Thanks so much for everything!
-Sarah

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6 Responses to How to Win at Creative Adult – I, Experiment

  1. Kate says:

    YASSSSSSSSSSSSSS, I do something similar but I call it playing with things, but then I am five, so.

  2. What a great idea and concept, I think I could apply this to my whole life and maybe get much better results in everything! Thanks for the inspiration.

  3. Dawn Lawson says:

    This describes my entire year perfectly so far! 😀 I’m an early bird, but I tend to start being most active around the afternoon and then I end up not completing anything (e.g. sketch, painting, or otherwise) until late afternoon into the evening. So, these past few months have been nothing but experimentation for me in managing my uptimes and downtimes. I’ve noticed that the earlier I go to bed, the earlier I can push this sort of schedule up but I’ve also noticed that too much sleep will make me too tired and offset my whole program. I’m still figuring out this schedule of what works for me and what doesn’t.

    I feel like I’m close to figuring out a good way to manage these sort of shifts, but you mentioning breaks for exercise and recreation sounds like something I can definitely use in my own program. This post is so inspirational! As an artist, I feel like I take stamina and exercise, which I need the most, for granted by way of just mundane activity. I don’t consider them enough, especially when my natural clock is so dependent on my physicality.

    • Breaks for naps, stretching, meditation, and exercise is really the backbone of my routine. I find that if I meditate in the morning, I remain calm during the day which makes it easier for me to create.

      If I exercise and stretch I get may benefits – energy boost in the afternoon, stress reduction, and no soreness from sitting all day.

      I find that I sort of “hang the art off” the clothesline of all the physical stuff I do and that if I’m a good girl and do what I’m supposed to, I’m definitely more productive 🙂

      I’m so glad you liked the post and please stop by again if/when your tweak your schedule into an even better one! 🙂

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