How to make more time for creativity in a busy life. Here are 3 ways to begin.
I get these questions or comments a lot. Where do I begin? How do I find the time to make art? How do you manage to have a full time job and also make art regularly?
These questions remind me of myself before I started painting more regularly.
Also, for me it was art and painting. For you, it could be making sock puppets. There's not one right way to be creative. You do you.
When we see an artist sharing their art online, one painting after another....after another, it can often feel like its almost impossible to even start...let alone get to a point where you could do it that regularly. This stops us from starting at all. We give up before we even start. We limit ourselves before even trying. Making art everyday is not a sign of success. You do you. You find what works for you. You make as much art as YOU want, as frequently as YOU want. The important thing to remember is to find a rhythm that works and to get into that habit.
We have to give ourselves permission to nourish our souls and invite creativity in on a regular basis. I have found these 3 ways below to be helpful when time is seemingly a hurdle to begin.
1. Find a space where your tools can remain undisturbed
Often the thing that keeps us from starting or developing a new hobby is the need to set a stage to begin that activity EVERY SINGLE TIME. The setup itself can take a long time and therefore we don't even start or we start a few times, but then we don't continue because who wants to start from 0 every single time if you only have 15 min to spare?
I found myself painting more regularly after I made the tools and the setup more accessible. I had a small table that always was ready to go. Already set up. Inviting me. I might as well do it. Right? After doing it for a while, now have a home studio where I create, where no one is allowed to move anything. But, for starting out, this does not have to be a big space. You don't need a full blown studio or a whole room or a huge table to dedicate to your tools and setup. You just need a small relatively undisturbed space that doesn't need to be setup every single time you plan to spend time making something. Make it such that you can use this space in those little moments you have through out the day, even if its just 10 minutes.
This could be:
A table you don't use as often for other endeavours
A tray you can pick up and put away or hide from kiddos
A drawer you can set your tools in, in a readily accessible manner
Perhaps an unused corner in your garage?
Could be a nook in your basement?
2. Put a value on your time
No one has time to make *enough* art, not even full time artists (or so I have heard). There is no one perfect moment to begin when you will finally have all that unused time. That day will not arrive.
I realized this in 2020 when Covid struck and our lives changed forever. Life is fleeting and every moment counts. I did not want to wait till I was 56 and then start. I wanted start now, in this moment, and make art now, even if all I could make was bad art in the 20 minutes that I did have today.
I am not a full time artist. I have a day job. I saw having a full time job outside of my art making as a hurdle to making art. But, I have gotten around to accepting that being a creative person does not result in the activity making you money right away, and I need money. Little y'all, but I need it. So, until I can convert my colourful blobs into cash by waving a wand, or selling my art super frequently at a super high price or all of a sudden generating multiple streams of income from my creativity, I'm gonna need a job. Reality. And, surprise, its an 8-5.
So, how do we find the time?
What is that one hour you have available just before sleeping worth to you? Would you spend it making art if you could? Or is reading a book of more value? I don't mean to say that there's a better way to spend that hour and you should make art in that hour and miss time with your loved ones. These equations change daily, weekly, yearly..and how much time you have will change depending on the phase of life you are in. Many days could pass with a sick family member at home or in a work emergency where you get no choice in the matter. But, when we do have a choice, how do we spend it? Once we decide to put a value on our time and make it clear to friends and family that, that particular time is reserved for creativity, this can help build better boundaries. With work, if it means leaving at exactly 5 pm, do it! Put a value on your time. Wake up an hour early. You decide what that time is worth. With practice you would have made space in your day for something you love doing.
The second aspect is using those little moments. 5 minutes before you leave for a dinner? Use it. 20 minutes while the rice cooks? Use it. These little slots of time are often that matter more than the big singular uninterrupted chunks of time. You know why? The big chunks are rare, especially with a full time job or a family with young children. You will be interrupted. Your employer will rightfully demand your full attention during work hours. But, those little moments here and available. They are yours. Use them.
3. Start small
In a sense, this one is unrelated to time, but it kinda is.
When we start a new activity or get back into an activity after a long break, often it can feel daunting to think of the end result and how much time it will take from our commitments.
Don't start by committing to making a 40x60 inch canvas painting with a complex subject. The idea of how long it will take to accomplish something that big can demotivate us entirely, especially when we are new. Start small and make it a habit. Start by colour mixing exercises to get your feet wet. Start by scribbling in your journal. Start with doodling regularly.
For me this was a twisted process. I should have started small, but I ended up starting medium. Lol. I got used to creating a 8x10 inch original painting every couple of days and that ended up exhausting me quite a bit and I almost stopped painting altogether because of the burnout.
Start small and make that act of spending time creatively a habit. Soon your mind will crave something more complex and that's how you get hooked. It may take a while to get to that 40x60 inch canvas, but you would've made 100s of paintings by then just by getting into the habit of it, and who knows what possibilities will open up along the way.
Okay, ya'll. That's all I got for you. Have any of you found sneaky ways to get around never having enough time for the thing you love doing? Let me know in the comments below!