Last weekend, I took a tour of Andrew Wyeth's studio in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. It was a thrilling experience for me because I've loved Wyeth's work for a long time and read his biography while in art school. I still have the newspaper from the day he died. His work has very much influenced my own. Out of all the Wyeth's, Andrew's work is my favorite for its spooky quietness, high horizon lines, and borderline abstract silhouettes. I was so excited to lay my eyes on the tiny school house that was his studio for many years. And I grinned when I saw the sign that's been permanently fixed to the door. As soon as Andrew walked in the studio, and the door was shut behind him, he was working.
It's very hard to defend the territory of a creative life. If you're unsure of what to do with your time, it will more than likely be swallowed up by someone else's cause. It takes real discipline to carve out the time to create.
Set aside the time and "clock-in". I find it super helpful to set a timer. That way I don't have to look at my phone and avoid the risk of getting sucked in. Let people know when you're working and they'll begin to learn how important it is to you. The territory will get easier and easier to stake your flag into. Besides, you won't ever have to awkwardly announce your "Artist" title if you're constantly telling people, "Sorry I can't meet up, that's when I work on my art." Be a recluse - it's the only way the art will get done.