Creativity and the T-Word
TIME! It’s the number one problem on everybody’s list, or, more to the point, the lack of time is. If you had told me when I was five, that I would one day want more time, I’d have called you crazy and run off to play for the rest of my seemingly endless day. Time was abundant when we were young. Sometimes there was just too much of it! How many times were you guilty of saying, “I’m bored,” especially on those long, drawn-out Sundays when everything was closed. Now I say, “Bored? What a concept! I haven’t been bored in decades!” I don’t have time to be bored. And there’s the crux of the problem – we no longer seem to have enough time so when in the world can we fit “being creative” into our days?! But creativity and the t-word are solidly and unavoidably linked.
I started down this artist-encouraging path (as a Creativity Catalyst) because when I found my creative passion and practice, I thought, “What if I never discovered this part of my life?” I don’t want any other woman to miss out on everything that comes our way as a result of having a regular creative practice! Such a practice is a refuge. The very, very, first step, though, to creating that practice is learning how to take control of your time.
Actually, it isn’t time that has to be controlled, it’s you.
Time is the #1 reason for falling into the Creativity Gap during the Decide Stage of the creative process.
We are all blessed with the same 24 hour day – seven of them every week. How you choose to use that time is key to your creativity – the important word here being choose.
You choose how you spend every one of your 14,400 minutes in a day. You choose to go to your 9-5 job because you want (and need) to keep that job so that you have money to shelter, feed, and clothe yourself and others. It’s a must-do choice. But it’s a choice nonetheless. You choose to keep a doctor appointment because you need healthcare and you agreed to meet with the doctor on a certain day at a certain time. You choose to keep that appointment because it’s something you want (and need) and so that’s what you have to do. It IS an optional choice, though, but you make that choice because of the return on that investment – better health.
You say you want to alter a book, stitch up a quilt, work in your journal or start that large canvas in the corner, but for some reason you never get around to doing it. Hmmmm, why is that? Because you are choosing to do something else with your time.
There are many things you choose to do out of love, obligation or necessity every day: cook, clean, re-stock the household, take care of children or aging parents. And then there are the things you choose to do with the rest of your time: ____, ____, ____. (You know what you’re doing, fill in the blanks.)
Now let me ask you this – do you choose to love yourself? Do you choose to take care of yourself and be happy so you can continue to care for and give to others? Do you want (and need) to do that? Is art necessary to your well-being? I’m pretty sure your answer to all three questions is YES. So what’s stopping you?
Art is at the end of stART.
If, by any chance, you didn’t yet stART and you’re still sitting here reading this, here are five tips, tricks and strategies to help you stART:
- There are 72 – 20 minute blocks in every day. Grab a sheet of paper or a journal page. Draw 72 blocks. After filling in your committed time, I’m betting there is at least one 20 minute block available for art.
- Schedule an art appointment on your calendar and KEEP it. It’s important for both your mental and physical health.
- Commit to making art a habit. You have good habits (brushing your teeth) and bad habits (scrolling through Facebook). Use your 20 minute block for this new, good habit.
- Allow yourself to play. Spending time creating without an agenda (playing) is therapeutic and actually leads to more successful results in the long run.
- Do what you can when you can. When my children were babies, I slept when they slept, because that’s when I could! If you’re waiting until you have large expanses of uninterrupted time, get over it. It’s not going to happen. Paint backgrounds while dinner is cooking. Alter a book page while waiting at soccer practice. Journal in the doctor’s office. Sketch at lunch. If it’s your dream to paint 8-foot canvases, paint 8-inch (or even 3-inch) ones until your 8-foot time and place arrives.
“Don’t worry about quality. Act. Don’t reflect. Momentum is everything,” says Steven Pressfield in his book Do the Work.
Working on something you love creates energy, endorphins, and a sense of timelessness, which is just what you are looking for…..more time.
Creativity and the t-word. Make it work for you. Make the T-word your B-word!