I got to draw this week.

I know that sounds weird coming from an architect. That’s what we do. We draw. If we weren’t drawing, there wouldn’t be much getting built.

However, very rarely do I get the opportunity to draw for extended periods of time. Since 2008, there’s usually been something on the calendar that works its way into my drawing time. Meetings. Marketing. Accounting. Sometimes just email. There always seems to be something that interrupts the day, no matter how well I believe I’ve planned out my time. Today it’s the surprise Zoom call at 3.

One of our dinner rituals is James and I asking each other what’s in store for the following day. For James, that’s usually meetings in the morning (and hopefully just the morning). The big question is when do they start. I on the other hand will occasionally look at my calendar and in surprise realize I have nothing on the schedule. Nothing. Even though I know full well that’s apt to change.

Yet it’s still delightful to see, because yes, I do have projects that need attention. Whether that means sketching out preliminary designs or cranking my way through construction documents. There is drawing to do. If I’m lucky enough, I’ll have bursts of uninterrupted productivity but more than once, I’ve found myself bouncing from task to task. On those days I go home knowing I’ve done something but with no idea of what that was.

Which I suppose is the challenge of owning a practice. Even if a client, contractor, or consultant doesn’t require my immediate attention, plenty of options exist to pull me in a different direction. Writing a blog post for example. Or recording and editing the podcast. Or just networking. Every owner knows how much time what seems like simple tasks will take.

One of my first business partners spent 20+ years managing her previous firm. In the midst of working with her clients and running projects, she was dealing with other issues like invoicing, contracts, and hiring. It was no surprise when we started the practice and she said she just wanted to draw. 

At the same time, looking at an empty calendar can make you worry. Not to mention make you wonder what you’re going to do with yourself.

Oh, that’s right. Draw. I have to draw.