On the discipline of art


I’ve been waking up early to write.

At first I set my alarm for 6:30 and it was a struggle to get out of bed. After a little while, though, it wasn’t so hard. Then I set the alarm for 6 a.m. to get started earlier (so I had more time before the littles wander in with their bedheads and squinty blinking, arms out for a snuggle). Today, I got out of bed at 5:45. In the morning. A.M.

I’m not a morning person. I like to sleep for as long as possible, and then sleep some more. But waking up at 5:45 this morning? So easy. I practically skipped out of bed with a smile, so ready for my time in front of the glowing screen. My husband can tell you that seeing me with a smile on my face shortly after waking up is a rare sight to behold.

Why? Maybe because it’s a bit of peace to start the day, when I can have my coffee in quiet, alone with my thoughts and words, before the chaos of the day. Maybe it’s some time just for me when so much of my day is poured into those around me.

But maybe it’s because art is life. It’s not easy, the discipline of returning to one’s art over and over, looking again, finding my voice, discovering what it is I have to say, fighting the demons of insecurity and not-good-enough and second-guessing and narcissism. But when I give myself to my art, it gives back to me in ways I don’t expect. It’s easier to be intentional. I can think more clearly about my decisions. I’m more focused and disciplined in other areas.

When you give your art life, it breathes into you, too.

What is your art? How are you feeding your passions today? How could you make them more of a priority tomorrow?

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