In her book Finding Water, third in the Artist’s Way series, Julia Cameron says “My sanity requires daily maintenance.” Daily maintenance is the practice of nurturing your inner artist, a big theme in her Artist Way books. Like writing the daily morning pages, we must take daily action to keep our creative drive in motion.
Her statement reflects on a necessary part of creative life. We learn to understand and anticipate our needs, to commit to doing the ongoing maintenance of keeping ourselves healthy, balanced and “in tune.”
The metaphor of music and how we play it is fitting. We are like musical instruments that must be carefully “maintained” to remain in playable condition.
The care of instruments is not always daily, but if neglected, even electronic instruments will stop being able to make music. Instruments need to be cleaned, polished, and protected. They need continual adjustments to keep their various parts working.
It reminds me of going to the chiropractor when my neck gets out of alignment. An adjustment makes me feel better, sleep better and have a lot more energy. Without a chiropractor, a yoga workout works about as well.
As artists we are played by the forces of the Universe. When we’re in tune, creative forces flow easily in and out of our lives; inner movements spurring creations of books, paintings and songs, and outer movements expressing our creations to the world.
When we get out of tune, we have to recalibrate ourselves. We have to rest, meditate, turn within and listen. It can take time to make corrections. We may have to renew our commitment to creative life again and again. You have to make time for it, which is not easy at first. But the more you do it, the easier it is.
The payoff for doing the work of daily maintenance is actually having more time (less time recalibrating) and more energy, resulting in more creative and inspired ideas and actions. Like athletes who train daily for peak performance, a well-tuned artist enjoys more effortless creation.
Recommended reading: Finding Water: The Art of Perseverance. Your purchase through our link helps support this website.