Being Kind About Productivity and Making a Pilgrimage to South Dakota

Reb Carlson she cave

I'm kicking myself for not spending more time in the past month on creative projects. To be fair, the past few weeks have been a bit life changing, but that's another post for another time and website. When I had the initial idea for Creative Office Hours, I wanted to use it as motivation to spend more time in the studio. I wanted to buy into the perfection of being someone who could balance work, friends, partner, self, and creativity all at once, easily and seamlessly.

The truth is, things get messy.

Schedules get full. You squeeze in a sketch during a rushed lunch hour. You end up multi-tasking by writing a blog post (creativity) while soaking in the bathtub (self), pushing away the fact this is a very bad idea (denial and anxiety). Your studio is a hot mess. You get oil paint all over everything (your laptop, your desk, your college sweatshirt).

However, that's the process. You need to make time and commit to the point of being a crazy person. You have ideas and talent and the need to make something. Because you don't want to be a cog in a machine. Because you want to have something interesting to say at parties. You accept that your work or your process is not going to be perfect. But you're doing it.

As of now I have a painting that is about a third finished and is the third of a series I started back in December dedicated to the Great Plains. I have a plan and a method so the time I spend on it is efficient, productive and mindful.

I'm also flying out to South Dakota this week. I'm road-tripping with my little sister Angela to celebrate her grad school graduation. We're planning on revisiting some sites we haven't seen since we were children and then some. We'll also be visiting my grandparents, one of which is my grandfather who I've mentioned I've been wanting to write a book about for a few years. If you're so inclined, feel free to follow me on Instagram to see our journey.

He's very proud of his service to his country, and there are tons of interviews and materials about his time serving in the US Navy during WW2. However, I'm most interested in his childhood growing up during the Great Depression and what led him to serving, so I'm working on developing a few questions to guide our conversation. I'll also be recording on both my phone and DSLR camera.

I've also been ramping up my involvement in a local Greenpoint-based arts group. We had a quick meetup yesterday in one of the members' studios and it was lovely to discuss our work, but also let the conversation drift to topics about the value of "service" and following your passion. My hope is to use COH to highlight their efforts in making more time for creativity as well over the next few weeks.

Have you been struggling with being productive over the last few weeks? As the weather has been getting warmer, I'm becoming more accustomed to the humidity creeping into my she-cave, despite it being 10:30 pm on a Monday. Let me know how you've been trying to push through and commit to spending time being creative in the comments below.