A few months ago I read Lauren Graham’s memoir “Talking As Fast As I Can.” I definitely recommend this book if you’re chasing a dream and need a few of those reminders that nobody got to where they are overnight. I also recommend this book if you’re a Gilmore Girls fan - I loved what she had to say on both of these topics.
Lauren dedicates a chapter in this book to explaining a writing method she learned from screenwriter Don Roos. “The Kitchen Timer Method” is simply setting an appointment with yourself everyday. It may be 1 hour or just 30 minutes, but this appointment is completely and 100% your dedicated time to create. With a timer set to your designated time, and with no phones, no internet, and no distractions - your appointment is to be used uninterrupted until the timer goes off.
This method is geared towards writers but I thought it could certainly apply to making artwork, or any creative passion for that matter. With a growing need for some structure to my studio practice, I decided to give it a try. So around mid-afternoon, when the light is best in my studio, I put my phone on 'Do Not Disturb,' close my computer, and set a timer for 1 hour. I push my to do lists to the back of my mind, mentally log out of work mode, and immerse myself in the process.
I’ve learned that this hour doesn’t have to be anything grand. I don’t have to make leaps and bounds of progress, the important part is being present in the time that I have. Sometimes I paint through the whole hour and other times I pause during painting to write pages in my sketchbook, cataloging my thoughts and actions. Sometimes I take time just to sit and study the panel I’m working on. I notice the subtle shifts of my media as it dries, study the marks that I’ve made, and use these observations to inform my next move. I pay attention to the play of light in my studio and take time to appreciate the the little shells, momentos, and bits of inspiration scattered around me. In the midst of busy days, I’m learning to slow down.
Coming out of this hour, I feel more focused, more energized, and ultimately happier. Some days this hour may be the only time that I get to create, but just knowing that I got that even that little bit of studio time in makes me feel better about my day. If you’re struggling with finding balance for your creative passion, I encourage you to give this method a try. Whatever you choose to do with your appointment, I’m sure it will be the highlight of your day, and I think we all deserve a little time to slow down and feed our souls with what makes us happiest.