Finding Time For Your Creativity
Do you ever find yourself realizing that you haven’t actually created any new art in a while? I’m struggling with this myself right now and it’s taking a toll on me. I’ve shifted my business focus over the past year towards online courses and a monthly membership and I’m really struggling to find time to create.
Let me explain. I’m creating all the time but what I’m creating is online course content, membership content and content for the LIVE teaching components for each of these parts of my business. What’s falling by the wayside is time for me to do my own personal sketching, doodling, painting and then turning those pieces into surface pattern designs.
I started down this entire new business enterprise because I fell in love with surface pattern design. And I still love it and I’ve created my entire business around it. What I didn’t expect was that creating teaching content for my business would require so much time and create this weird space where day after day I can’t seem to fit in any ME time. ME time for sketching or painting or making a new surface pattern design. And I miss it!
The feeling of loss creeps up on you. I’m feeling a bit lethargic, even a tad depressed honestly because my entire to do list is full of business to dos. Even writing this blog post today feels like a chore and I want to finish it quickly so I can, maybe, squeeze in some time today to sit quietly downstairs with my sketchbook and my pens and sketch something.
One of my students sent me the most adorable pattern of bunnies and flowers that she’s working on for Easter. Now Easter isn’t until April 21st this year so there is plenty of time. But somehow helping her with that sweet pattern made me yearn even more for my own creative time.
I’m an action taker and don’t like to spend time wallowing in my own unhappiness for very long. As I sat down to write this blog today, I realized that I have some good tips to share with you that I’m going to use MYSELF to help us both find TIME for our creativity.
Tip #1: Have Your Supplies Ready
This past week was particularly busy because we host an annual Oscar party on the evening of the Oscar TV broadcast. We have friends over for dinner and we all watch the show together. My husband organizes a pool and everyone submits a ballot with their guesses for who will win each award. He tabulates it all afterwards and declares the winner. His mom came up from Long Beach this year and spent three days with us.
Being extra busy hosting my mother-in-law and preparing for the dinner party also meant that I had to clean up my art supply mess. I don’t have a studio and work either at the end of our kitchen counter or at the breakfast nook table in the corner of the kitchen. I leave my supplies out so they are handy. Leaving them out both reminds me to use them and makes it super easy to just get started on something. But for the party, I needed to put them all away. And I still haven’t gotten them back out again.
I’m going to follow Tip #1 today and get them back out! It’s not hard or a big deal since generally I’m just using my Canson mixed media sketchbooks, my set of 9 Uni-pins, and my small portable watercolor set. Most of my brushes are in a pretty blue pitcher that looks lovely on the table all the time.
Tip #2: Turn Off Your Electronic Devices
One of the biggest time wasters and things I do when I’m procrastinating is to check my phone or my laptop. I wrote about this in my blog Top 5 Tips When Creating Something New. In that context I was talking about going down the rabbit hole of social media. And how destructive and demoralizing it can be spending time looking at everyone else’s beautiful work. It brings up all those voices telling you that you aren’t very talented or that it’s all been done before.
In this context, turning off my phone, laptop and any other electronic devices will help prevent me from checking email. I just finished promoting my dear friend and mentor, Bonnie Christine’s Surface Design Immersion course and I’m dying to find out how everything went. I’m sure she is busy with all the follow up required after a big product launch – enrollment closed last night. My email and social media accounts are calling out to me to check to see if there is any news! I have to resist the temptation and I’m advising you to do the same.
Tip #3: Resist The Urge to Do Chores
This is a tough one when you work from home. I literally just got up from writing this and went downstairs to empty the dishwasher. I wasn’t quite sure what Tip #3 was going to be so I decided to take a short break. As I emptied the dishwasher, and snuck in a quick peek at my phone, it hit me. Tip #3 is what I’m doing right now! Emptying the dishwasher instead of finishing this blog so I can sit down and sketch for 20 minutes. How meta is that.
There is always another chore waiting for you. As I mentioned earlier, my mother-in-law was in town for three days staying with us in our guest bedroom. I started a load of laundry this morning with the guest bed sheets and I’m pretty sure they are ready now to be moved from the washing machine into the dryer. I have to restrain myself from doing that and, later on this morning, from making the bed. It can wait!
Tip #4: Be Prepared That Creativity Won’t Just Flow
This is more of a mindset shift. In my case at least, creativity doesn’t just flow out of me naturally. More often than not, when I do sit down to sketch or paint, I’ll find myself staring at that piece of mixed media paper for several minutes before I can get started. My mind might go blank and I’ll start to have the urge to get up, make a cup of tea, or fold the laundry.
Since I know that might happen, I have a trick that helps me stick with it and helps me get those creative juices flowing. I’ll play with my art supplies. If I’m preparing to paint, I’ll mix a few colors and create a color palette in the corner of my paper. If I’m preparing to sketch, I’ll check the ink flow of each of my Uni-Pins or switch over to my Micron Pens. Just getting my hands moving really helps! Try it and see if it helps you.
Tip #5: This One Will Come From You
I don’t have all the answers on this. I’m reserving Tip #5 for an idea that comes from you. How do you find time for your creativity? I’d love to hear your suggestions. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know.
Let’s wrap up this blog post so I can go downstairs to sketch! When I emptied the dishwasher earlier, I took out my supplies so they are ready for me. I can’t wait. I hope you’ll find time for your creativity today too.
It’s Never Too Late to Create
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My creative inspiration comes from a lifetime of observation living in, and traveling to, beautiful environments in the United States and abroad.