Thinking is Working
Look, I get what you’re thinking – how is it possible that an artist is working when sitting in a café watching the world go by? There’s no way to put this on paper, but it’s true. Not only that but the artist is probably working longer hours than you when sitting at your desk. The artist can’t shut off. I am thinking about art from the moment I wake up to the moment I close my eyes at night, even when I’m teaching English to my business students. I think about my paintings, my projects, my ideas, my past, my present, and my future all the time. Artists believe that there’s art in everything. This is every day, seven days a week, 365 days per year. It never shuts off, and I like that. In fact I love it. It defines me.
How to View Time
But this doesn’t answer how the artist puts in as many productive hours as the corporate worker does. Look, the corporate world wants you to believe that creativity needs reserve time to shut off the logical world. This is true to some extent, but there is also a very large hole in this argument. In order to “reserve time” then the opposite must be true. If one reserves time then one must also have “unreserved time.” This latter part of the equation is not productive to the artist, as I noted above about not being able to shut off art. In order for the artist to be productive he or she must not have any time that is “not reserved.” An artist dedicates all time toward art.
Reporting is Nothing
How does the artist work then? He or she must think, a lot, before putting these thoughts into action. The corporation gives the worker tasks to do and measures how many of these tasks the worker ticks off the list, so to speak, within a given amount of time. Corporate projects vary in length, but it really is possible to show progress in relatively short periods of time (days, weeks, quarters, for example). Most corporate workers should be able to file a progress report at the end of any given day. An artist can do the same thing, but instead of showing Excel spreadsheets or pdf documents the artist can list “thoughts” as accomplishments.
The difference between the corporate worker is that the corporate worker has physical work to show on a regular basis, whereas the artist shows physical work in bulks of time – or bursts of productivity that can start after weeks of nothing but thoughts and can end as quickly as they begin. For example, I will go weeks without having a decent painting to show as proof of my labors, but then I can produce six or seven paintings in a four-week span. What happens? Four weeks or thinking immediately explodes into four weeks of paintings.