Creating Space For Art: Time

Virginia Wolf wrote an essay called A Room of One's Own, which argued (among other things) that in order to write well a woman needed her own space with a lock on the door and her own income. At the time, these assertions were preposterous. But man or woman, it grabs at a the need of any creator. To do something well, you need some sort of space in three categories: Time, Money, and Emotion.

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Ain't Nobody Got Time For That!

Anyone can find an hour in a day. If I flip through my electronic schedule I can piece together five minutes here and five minutes there. But excellence doesn't typically show up for disparate chunks of time, it is sat down with and worked on, discovered as you work through mounds of crap.

You might suggest that time is a luxury you simply don't have, what with all these bills to pay and work to be done. Maybe. There are plenty of people with genuine hardships and seasons of business, I know a few myself. But unless you have young children or some debilitating and/or expensive illness, you're not off the hook. If you are most of the people I know, you're lack of time probably has more to do with your impulsiveness or even the financial demands of your lifestyle choices.

But I'll come back to that.

But to do something well, literally takes days and months worth of work. In preparation for a show in Ohio at the end of January I've put in twenty or so hours on the guitar so far, working out weakness in my arrangements, writing songs with chords I cannot yet play well. And for every song I've written that I hope to record next year, there are five songs in the trash bin.

If you want to create quality work, you cannot do it on a chronological shoestring budget–which means saying no often and almost always to the demands of others as well as your own momentary desires.