First of all, let me say that this is definitely not a complaint. I recognize that I would have a hard time in the regular schedule of 9 to 5 through the year with the exception of vacation time. I like being self-directed and at times free to attend to my creative projects - even if it means that several months out of a year I work 24/7. It's the transition from being 110% structured on a schedule to being 80% not on a schedule and free to decide what to do next that I want to change. In the end the total sum of "work" is probably close to the same, it just doesn't have the same set of parameters. And by "work", I mean being a full-time contributing faculty member September-May (teaching, meetings, planning, running the program, that kind of stuff. A little cello playing) and being a full-time creative artist June-August. (as a side note, I know a lot of my colleagues manage to be creative artists during the semester as well, and I hope that next year when the twins go to regular school, I can carry over a little bit of that stuff). I suppose if I was to use language that artists often hear, it's the transition from "real work" to "creative work", the implication being that since there are no hours and at times no tangible evidence of "work" since a lot of it happens in the head, creative work is not real work.
There's a lot of talk about creativity these days, and about how we should/need to/do apply creativity to every day life - so that it is not just something artists do, but engineers and lawyers too. But I think there are different kinds of creativity - and certainly, different creative processes. The obvious one here is structure versus no structure, a lot of rules (or parameters) versus few rules (parameters). I think it would be interesting to compare the differences in the processes from one to the other. I deal with this in a very fundamental ways when I move between classical chamber music (very highly structured, a lot of subtle yet important rules that differ between styles - and, since the music has been written by a composer at some other time, more of a re-creative process), structured improvisation (like jazz -- a lot of rules but more choice as to how to apply them) and free improvisation (it's free so there's no rules - except the rules that apply to all good music...which are many). I think analyzing these transitions and processes will help me in the other transitions in my life, so I am planning to write a series of blog posts trying to do that - live-blogging the transition from an academic to an artist!