Can you relate to this image? The photograph above is by artist Carrie Schneider whose images show artists resting in their studios. When we artists get close to meeting our deadlines for art projects we tend to turn the pressure up and can stop nuturing ourselves with sleep, nutrition and exercise.
In part 1 of this 2 part series I introduced the idea of planning out exercise. The same should be said for nutrition. Without a plan for what you will eat (and where), you can easily fall prey to fast food and due to tiredness you'll actually crave food that is super sweet, salty and fatty. It's essential to anticipate this problem and work backwards to solve the issue so that you can establish a routine for your food intake during the last few days leading up to your deadline. It's starts with a rock solid commitment to grocery shopping for the fast and easy food that you can pre-prepare in little to no time and mapping out restaurants that are near to your studio that you can order take out from that are still nutritious fuel. Nutritious food is your super fuel while you are stressed, it's super important.
Again if you use a weekly planner or digital planner - enter all this information in there and either set reminders for yourself or review your plan each morning. Try to take a few moments after you follow any part of your plan to congratulate yourself on managing to find balance during the stress of meeting your deadline. Allow this satisfaction to be a reward.
"For artists, entrepreneurs, and any other driven creators, exercise is a powerful tool in the quest to help transform the persistent uncertainty, fear, and anxiety that accompanies the quest to create from a source of suffering into something less toxic, then potentially even into fuel." -Jonathan Fields on FastCompany.com
Haruki Murakami is a writer who has long used exercise to help his creative process. He creates routines to stick to a life that allows him balance and harmony in his career. And whatever he has been doing has been working he has written many amazing works of fiction that are highly imaginative and complex. If you are looking for inspiration on work-life balance as a creative person Murakami's memoir "What I Talk About When I Talk About Running" is truly amazing.
Below is an excerpt from Murakami in his interview with Paris Review via fastcompany.com. He emphasizes the importance of routine for his creative production:
"When I'm in writing mode for a novel, I get up at 4:00 a.m. and work for five to six hours. In the afternoon, I run for ten kilometers or swim for fifteen hundred meters (or do both), then I read a bit, and listen to some music. I go to bed at 9:00 p.m. I keep to this routine every day without variation. The repetition itself becomes the important thing; it's a form of mesmerism. I mesmerize myself to reach a deeper state of mind. But to hold to such repetition for so long--six months to a year--requires a good amount of mental and physical strength. In that sense, writing a long novel is like survival training. Physical strength is as necessary as artistic sensitivity. " - Haruki Murakami