I know what John Updike said. Jon’s told me many times, and I’ve even repeated it to other people, sharing the wisdom of how to focus on your creative work when you work from home. The mantra is: Mornings are for creative work, you get up and get to work. A writer (Updike’s talking about writing but it can be applied to any work) can be originally creative for 3-4 hours a day. The rest of the day is used for grunt work (my words, editing for a writer, piecing together quilts, shipping etc. for me) and chores.
It’s a good rule for me. I’m a morning person, it’s when I’m at my best, by the time 9pm rolls around I’m ready for bed. But even if you’re not a morning person, if you tweak it a bit, to your most creative time of the day or night, it’s a good rule. The point being, don’t waist your creative time balancing the check book. (unless your a book keeper that is).
So, like I said, I know this and it’s worked for me in the past, but somehow, over the past few weeks, I’ve strayed from it. After feeding the animals and then ourselves, I’ve been finding myself at my computer, doing my email and shipping and yes, even balancing my check book. No great sin, except that I’ve been having a hard time focusing and concentrating when I finally make it to the studio, sometimes not till after lunch. So when I mentioned this to Jon yesterday, he brought up Updike’s Golden Creative Rule.
The strange thing is I didn’t even realize I had gotten off track as much as I had. And when I thought about getting up and getting right to work, something dark inside of me lit up. It was as if we had won an all expense paid vacation to some quiet getaway for a week. Freedom was the feeling, the freedom of going to my studio without having to do a mornings worth of chores first. Such a simple thing really, just a habit to get back into.
So this morning, when I woke up, I thought of John Updike and my studio waiting for me. And just in case I forgot, Jon was there to remind me. As I turned on the water to wash the breakfast dishes, he yelled from his study, “The dishes can wait, remember what John Updike said”.