Three times a week I swim at my local YWCA. It’s an older pool occupied mostly by individuals who take aerobic classes and children learning to swim—so my slow laps are not unusual. I swim ¾ miles, 27 laps, using my version of a front crawl and side stroke. The idea is simply to stay afloat and swim the length of the pool at least 27 times.
Sometimes it takes a similar approach to art because I know to be a better artist I just need to put in the time (10,000 hours, if you believe Gladwell). There are many days that other things try and interfere, but I have learned a few tricks: (1) Get started early. I usually have at least 3 paintings and several collages going at one time. So I give them each at least 10 minutes first thing in the morning when my mind is at its best and the same amount of time later in the day. As a mixed media artist this usually means getting everything wet before you even think about opening that computer. (2) Give yourself the same amount of time doing something you find almost mindless, but fun. For me, this is the monotypes I use in my paintings. Many are produced on a simple gel plate. (3) Add another 10 minutes or more of work on the painting that is proving to be most difficult. Yes, spend more time on the one that is least fun at the moment. By this time I am several hours into the day, so I can open the computer and start the business/social side of things.
This small amount of discipline that has kept me propelled forward.