Neither self-regulation nor the art of boundary-making are easy to master, but in practising such approaches one arrives at a greater sense of satisfaction and the reward of achievement, both of which are fairly essential for a sense of wellbeing and purpose.
A feeling of either stagnation or redundancy is an uncomfortable state of being. It is always good to observe the self in a moment of discomfort and appreciate that so often we are having a very normal encounter with self and existence. Once we can more readily determine any negative experience, we can quickly shift into another state, not by way of avoidance, rather awareness, seeing things are they truly are.
Dedicated and wholehearted participation is required for both working or non-working (ie. rest or reflection) phases in order to realise both reward and consistent and measureable output. There is a delight in realising contrast of experience; it is a worthwhile endeavour to create a greater sense of this in our creative lives. For each individual, an individual measure of appreciation exists.
Any vague approach to either phase does not realise an entire experience of either, yet instead a universal experience of restlessness during downtime, and frustration during unproductive work phase. The ability to create and contain more defined phases is an advantage in terms of enjoyment I find. If boundaries are indeterminate, it simply dilutes the possibility of a peak experience of either, which seems wasteful and the eternal struggle of the artist.
The difficulty of the creative process is that so often it is ongoing, in progress and evolving. Mastering the mind, and closing projects, are both challenges. Artistry is compulsive for most and herein lies the challenge for self and others; typically I find creators to be compulsive in their process. They are seeking of the new, the original, and can be self-orientated and introspective for the most part. Characters can be temperamental and inconstant.
Obsessive practise inevitably leads to successes, yet focussing entirely on one aspect of life, can lead to neglect of other aspects, leading to potential losses, and one must be mindful of this.
I remember and appreciate, on reflection, both the quality of routine and contrast experienced in full time work being more readily available. For the most part I am too free-spirited to be contained, but there are benefits to being regulated. The pattern of conventional working days are clearly defined (if you do not take your work home) into work and life beyond work, which are polarized states.
An experience which is of a mix of work productivity and non-work leads me to restlessness and a desire to shift into a more extreme, or controlled and quantifiable, state, to either escape this condition or realise an alternative state of otherness or peak experience ie. this less ideal state into a more present and sensorial state, move from fixedness to motion, a lesser shift to a more extreme state shift, routine to reckless, or mediocre to metaphysical, cerebral to sensorial. Artists and creatives are more prone I find to addictive tendencies, and in addition so often these states inform the work outcome or are central to the successful process and output of artistry or craftsmanship.
Being freelance and creative there is no ‘switch’, rather an ongoing journey punctuated by a cadence of frustration and realisation; always a colourful landscape! I just wonder if the ability to refine practise is an advantage to how much one can enjoy all process by way of contrast.
If we cannot experience either state fully, we lack the genuine fulfilment of positive feedback, and instead have only a partial experience. Contrast and presence bring relief rather than otherwise a discomfort. Perhaps the realisation of completion and closure is also a defined and therefore happy experience, especially when working to a deadline!
To contain or tame creativity is perhaps not necessary, but for me the experience of contrast, arrived at through better self-regulation, is most acceptable.
What is desired vs. what is required can be quite different things: the artist’s mind is broad-ranging and expansive which is attractive in theory, but in practise the opposite can be more useful. Clear defined practise/process. A training and exploration of both is advantageous therefore to arrive at best practise.
It is a task to be both autonomous and self-disciplined and in addition consistently output quality works. To master and navigate one’s process more adeptly enables the harnessing of our greatest potential output. Presence and contentment are easily attained once practiced at contrasting states.