No matter our faith, the holidays remind of us of our higher power and the promise to start anew.

White Sands Ntl. Monument, NM

“For artists, discipline is the bridge between inspiration and actual creation. It’s about showing up for your art, even on days when the muse seems silent. This disciplined approach can transform sporadic bursts of creativity into a rich, steady flow of work. And just as Aurelius disciplined his mind to rise above the chaos of ruling an empire, so must we train ourselves to focus amidst the distractions that vie for our attention.

Here are some suggestions for incorporating discipline and consistency into your creative practice:

Establish a Routine: Carve out dedicated time for your craft. Whether it’s early mornings or late nights, find a rhythm that works for you and stick to it.

Set Small, Achievable Goals: Rather than being daunted by the end result, focus on attainable objectives. Completing a sketch, writing a paragraph, or composing a few bars of music each day can add up to significant progress.

Embrace Rituals: Create a pre-work ritual to signal to your brain that it’s time to enter a creative state. This could be as simple as tidying your workspace, brewing a cup of tea, or a few minutes of meditation.

Minimize Distractions: Identify what commonly pulls you away from your work and find ways to eliminate or reduce these interruptions. This might mean turning off your phone or using apps to block distracting websites.

Stay Accountable: Share your goals with a friend, join a creative group, or find a mentor. Accountability can significantly increase your commitment to your practice.

Reflect and Adjust: Regularly assess what’s working and what’s not. Be willing to tweak your routine and goals as needed to stay aligned with your artistic vision.

Forgive and Move Forward: On days when discipline goes by the wayside, be kind to yourself. Acknowledge the slip, learn from it, and return to your routine without self-criticism.

A disciplined approach to art does not confine creativity — it cultivates it. As we move through the holiday season and into the new year, let’s adopt the stoic discipline that Marcus Aurelius practiced. Let’s make it our foundation, upon which we can build a consistent and fulfilling creative practice.”

-Chris Davies

Chris Davies writings