I’m sure the vast majority of people, not just creative types, will agree with how difficult it can be to find the time to do what you love, especially if what you love is not how you make your living. I consider myself fortunate as my commitments are simple. I work full time… and that’s pretty much it. Besides doing my errands, paying my bills, and cooking something besides a bowl of cereal, I have a lot of free time to spend as I wish.
So why do I get sucked into a youtube vortex when I get home from work? Because there are endless hours of kitten videos to watch, that’s why!
But seriously, this is a pattern I’ve noticed with myself lately; I have quite a bit of time that, if used constructively, I could get a lot done with my art. And not just the actual art making, but I could also be sharing photos on Facebook, posting here, sketching and painting ideas, searching for shows, etc. When I choose to troll around aimlessly on Facebook for an hour, I am choosing to not create my work, to not bring into physical form the ideas and images I want to share with others, to not fulfill my life’s purpose: to be an artist.
I have a lot of creative friends, some of them with as much time as me to make their work, some with less. I’ve seen the friends with less time produce incredible artworks that came from making a choice and a commitment to their art, no. matter. what. I admire that, and I ask myself, “What’s my excuse?” If I have a vision for my next piece, why am I choosing to not take the next step?
I have this book sitting on my shelf, perhaps you’ve heard of it…
And yes, that is a little peek at my finished tapestry!
I actually have not read this book past page 37, but I think it’s time. My resistance to making my art is not serving me and is preventing me from bringing forth the thoughts and ideas I want to share with the world.
When we deny ourselves, through fear of failure, criticism, or even success, the time to bring our artistry out into the light, we are doing ourselves a disservice. I think of it as a form of self-sabotage, and other people lose out because they never get to experience our creations. Our audience, our readers, our listeners will never get the chance to be inspired, to be influenced, or to be changed by the messages we wish to share as long as we continue to deny our creativity. When we perform a disservice to our creative self, we also do a disservice to others. It’s a lose-lose situation.
Now, I should also clarify that I’m not supporting the whole work-you-butt-off-until-all-joy-is-sucked-out-of-you kind of work ethic. In order to be at our optimal creating capacity our minds and bodies need rest and relaxation. Life is for enjoying, for spending time with friends and loved ones, for being inspired by others’ creativity, and for recharging.
One of my fave places to recharge, the Portland Japanese Garden
Without this time for self-care, our artistic process can lose it’s feeling of fulfillment and satisfaction, and that will surely manifest itself in the end product.
What it really comes down to is a choice. When we have the time and energy in our busy lives to either pursue our life’s purpose or to stare blankly at the computer screen, I hope we make the first choice. I’ve been wanting to write this post for a month now, and I guess I just needed to make the time.
How do you overcome your blocks to making your art, music, writing, dancing, or other pursuits? If you struggle with this like I do, I encourage you to pick up a copy of “The War of Art” and read it with me. Let me know how it inspires you to make the time for your creative work.