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For use as personal mantras, motivators, reminders and conjurings:

1. Go to the art store. Look at materials and pretend money is no object. Get inspired and then get what you need.

2. Go to museums if you can, otherwise explore online. While you might spend a lot of time looking at images on Instagram, it actually is for work. Just don’t veer off into goofy meme accounts or accounts created to watch small dogs get groomed.

3. On days you don’t make it into the studio: you’re working even when you’re not. All the visual material you absorb every day is preparation for when you get down to Making the Thing. Don’t feel guilty...

4. ...that said, you must make it into the studio eventually. You have to sit down and actually Make the Thing. That requires being in the material and being in the room. It won’t get made with hopes and dreams.

5. Have other interests. One enthusiasm feeds the others. Use different parts of your brain. If you don’t feel like painting or drawing, see #1 and #2. Or do a crossword. Don’t stew. Feel free to make a stew.

6. Act as if you are doing your homework or you have a deadline. Stay in your workspace long enough to make a dent. Even if the dent is a terrible drawing. I have a stack of these and I will one day have a large bonfire.

7. You could skimp on materials, but you’ll only end up using triple the amount in an attempt to get the results of lesser amounts of quality materials. It evens out. It might hurt my wallet at the store but I don’t have to go to the store as much. I’m also saving on gas. Bonus.

8. Find a network if you want feedback and inspiration. If formal education isn’t your bag, find a community. But if it is online, be prepared to hear whatever Joe Nobody has to say.

9. Be prepared to make some sacrifices. In order to be in the studio one more day a week or for an extra hour each night, you might have to do some things you’d rather not. Like not hit snooze.

10. Get a dog. No reason. They’re just wonderful beasts.

Polly Shindler is an artist out of New Haven, Connecticut. She has an editorial flair for interior spaces. Check out more of her work at, or on Instagram @pollyshindler

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