I Don’t have TIME to be Creative!

My colleague is in the middle of what no one wants.  She has an in-home business, using a spare bedroom for her office.  Three teen-aged rowdy boys plus a husband plus a large extended family makes this time of year even more hectic.

Then her husband’s grandma passed away.  Her mother-in-law, who lived with Grandma, is now moving in. 

That peaceful spare bedroom of an office?  It’s now her Mother-in-law’s bedroom.  And who’s going to clean out Grandma’s house and handle dispersing her worldly goods?  Who do you think?

Between the demands of the holidays and extended family, the demands of moving furniture and adapting spaces and the normal demands of her business, this woman has NO TIME!

Yet, she’s in a creative line of work and needs time to noodle around, time to think a process through and time to… WORK.

I cannot imagine how it is for her, but I do know she is tenacious and devoted to her craft.  She is a professional and will make it work.

Creativity-on-demand is a real thing – ask any writer or visual artist or web designer.  When you have a commission or project due, deadlines drive the pace.  No matter what else cries for your time, deadlines put food on your table.

How do you find time to be creative?

Maybe external deadlines around your creativity don’t exist. 

You have an idea for a creative project, and it sits on the backburner.  You say, “One of these days…,” or “I’d like to try…,” and nothing ever happens.

I know how frustrating it is.  When I was working the day job, I would purchase all the materials for a project, planning each step in my head and savoring how it would look when it’s done.  And then never start.  Or never finish.

True story:  When I was packing to move last year, I found a half-made sweater I started knitting for my son when he was 11.  He’s now 49.

Any boxes of UFO’s (unfinished objects) lounging in your closet?

Here’s the deal: you find time to be creative by planning for it.  You make creativity a priority and get into consistent action around a project. 

You set a deadline and then meet it.

But that whole “set a date and work backwards” directive has never worked for me.  Has it for you?

Deadlines that actually work

I have to look at it in the opposite direction.  How much time WILL I allocate to the project, then how long will that take?  That’s how I keep creativity fresh and my interest high.

For example, working full time, I have 2 hours/day to crochet.  Say I decide to make an afghan.  I know that given the width of the project I can probably add 4” per night.  To make a piece 60” long, that’s 15 nights. Then, I add the planning/design and materials purchase time.  There’s blocking once it’s finished; that’s 2 days by itself.  Plus, let’s get real, I’m not going to crochet every night.  And what about that trip I planned?

Knowing what’s available to allocate for a creative project, I can more accurately plan for completion.  It could also influence what the project will be (a graduation present?). 

Because I have a plan that makes sense, I’ll stick with it.

A realistic deadline builds anticipation, prevents hand cramps and staves off the “God, I’m so sick of this color”-burnout-syndrome.  It makes time for me to be consistently creative.

This project will get finished.

Completion is satisfaction

Creative people must create.  I believe our life’s work is to release our unique soul’s expression through our creativity no matter what form it takes.

The satisfaction of doing the work, of getting lost in the process and seeing your finished creation in its final form fills your heart with gratitude and appreciation.  Sharing it with a loved one or client who is pleased by your effort shares that bountiful joy.

Feeling those feelings on a regular basis will change your life.

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