I'm currently reading The Art of Learning by Josh Waitzkin. It's interesting to try to apply his ideas (which he's taken from his experiences with chess + martial arts) to creative habits. Chapter 5: The Soft Zone is about concentration. Most of us are familiar with the idea of being 'in the zone.' He says there are two zones. The hard zone is when you are tense and concentrating. Your whole body is working to concentrate while fighting off distractions. If you are in the soft zone, you are still intensely focused but you look and feel relaxed. You may seem to be in your own world. Distractions are all around you but you don't notice them.
The last two weekends I had the opportunity to practice my creative habits while away from home. I mentioned on Instagram a couple days ago that I noticed it is more difficult for me to draw around other people and away from my own space. At home, I can easily get into the soft zone. While away, I notice all the distractions. Someone was shaking the table where I was working. Another time, I didn't have a table so I was using my lap. I could feel my muscles stiffen up, imagining what others were thinking about my work. I was hesitant to take a photo, I mean who takes photos of their sketchbook and breakfast?
"I have come to believe that the solution to this type of situation does not lie in denying our emotions, but in learning to use them to our advantage."
"When uncomfortable, my instinct is not to avoid the discomfort but to become at peace with it."
"...seek out challenges as opposed to avoiding them." -Josh Waitzkin, The Art of Learning
This is an interesting challenge but one that I think is very relevant. There will never be ideal working conditions. I can't let that keep me from doing creative work. While I'd prefer to draw from home each morning, I also love to travel. I'm going to need to find ways to be at peace with the uncertainty and awkwardness.