Finding time for creativity is hard, no matter what your life situation is.
When I was single and living alone, I would stay up all night and my daytime work would suffer. This seemed to come in spurts and wasn’t very conducive to my creative development.
When I got married, I wanted to regulate things more. I set up a schedule for a project I was working on, and I got the project done. This seemed to work well.
When I had a kid, everything changed.
Suddenly, I was more productive than I had ever been.
I’m not sure why, but something about knowing I didn’t have the freedom of all the time after work seemed to kick me in the behind and set me in motion.
And these kids? They’re the best reason to play hookey from Creativity and sleep when there’s a spare moment, yes. But they’re also the best reason to live the life I am passionate about, because they’re watching and see my energy and happiness, my passion and joy, all of the things that are ME that come through when I am living my life creatively.
Here are my top tips on finding and sustaining creative time and opportunities:
- Schedule your creative time. If that means you get 30 minutes, 3 times a week, then that’s what it means. If it means that those 30 minutes are from 7-7:30 after the kid goes to bed, or if it means that you just owe yourself 30 minutes before you go to bed, then that’s what it means. Only able to carve out 10 minutes? No problem. But stick to it. No excuses.
- Small but regular is best. Don’t tell yourself “I will work 40 hours on this project this week!” That isn’t manageable and it isn’t attractive to think about. Make the time reasonable and doable. If you go over, then great!!! I usually find that my 30 minutes that are scheduled turn into more, depending on where I am in the project. Momentum is powerful.
- Think about what it means to be creative to you, and for your current project. In writing, it isn’t all about writing the prose. It’
s planning, researching, plotting, reviewing, revising, and writing the prose. My 30 minutes last night consisted of reading over the last 2 chapters and touching up some phrasing issues (about 20 minutes) and then plotting the next 3 chapters in very concise point form notes (about 10 minutes). The alarm went off after 30 minutes and I worked for about 4 more minutes before feeling I’d wrapped up my current work well enough to go on with my night.
- Be kind to yourself, but be hard on yourself. It’s all well and good to say, “It’s okay that you didn’t do X, because it’s a hard week and maybe next week it will come easier.” It won’t. And it’s never going to be finished at that rate. So roll up your sleeves, be gentle with yourself about the work that you do create, but for Heaven’s sake, create something. Get something done.
- Tidy your work space. I’m sure I’ve blogged about this before, but sometimes the thing that gets in my way is the massive pile of crap that piles up when I’m knee deep into a project. A 20 minute tidy (maybe that could be the first scheduled goal) and you will feel refreshed and ready to work. I usually do, anyway.
- Seek out inspiration. Right now I am reading Flying Lessons, by Kelly Rae Roberts, and it has got me ALL KINDS of INSPIRED! I can’t slow my heartbeat or simmer the passion that has been bubbling up all of these years, and this book is amplifying all of this!
- Life changes, life happens, but creators must create. Don’t belittle yourself by saying your creativity can wait. It can’t. And it shouldn’t.