A painting I did years ago, acrylic on canvas
How do we live a creative life and pursue our passions and dreams while still raising our kids, having full time jobs, caring for elderly parents, etc.? We speculate on how those people out there do it, those folks in the magazines who seem to be so shiny and happy. We assume that everyone else has somehow figured this one out and we are the only ones who are exhausted, depleted and undernourished by creative juice at the end of each day.
You are SO not alone people.
Here are some tips for creating more balance and creative nourishment for YOU:
Give yourself permission to do your creative work. Yes, your work is important (even if you are not making money from it) No, it is not self-indulgent. No, it does not mean you are selfish or that you don’t love your family.
For creative people (that means you) part of nourishing ourselves is making time for our art. It is our life blood. It is part of what makes us feel alive. Just like food, sleep and love, we need to feed our creative spirits to stay vibrant and happy.
In the end we are better partners, better friends and better parents when we are nourishing ourselves on all these levels. When I don’t have time to do my art, I am resentful, anxious and not very present. Ben gets a better mom when I take care of myself.
#2. Tiny slices
Stop waiting for some grand sprawl of time to do something creative. Use the little slices. Quiet those gremlins that tell you that you don’t have the right supplies, you need a better space, you need to learn photoshop, you don’t have the right camera, or you need to do laundry… and just make something. That is the best way to shut those gremlins up. They are no match for action.
My favorite way to write is in 15 minute “wild writing” bursts. I set a timer and write as fast as I can for 15 minutes. The only rule is to write quickly and never take the pen off the page. Everything I’ve ever written, good or bad, was done this way.
#3. Ask for help
Are you willing to ask for help? Seriously. Are you?
This is possibly the most difficult point for most of you, and the most necessary. We can’t do it alone. And we shouldn’t. (It’s so much less fun.)
Allow others to help you. Receive the gifts that are offered. Create trades with friends and neighbors. Let go of trying to control everything and give others the opportunity to help you. Ask.
How would it make a difference in your life to have one day/evening a week dedicated to your creative work?
Don’t ask if that would be possible. Ask yourself HOW it could be possible. (How puts you in a creative frame of mind and creative solutions will follow)
#4. Create time
Okay. Another thing. How many hours a night do you watch tv or movies? For most of us that’s about two hours. How much time do you spend surfing the internet, reading blogs, checking email each day/night?
There is absolutely nothing wrong with any of these choices, but we have to remember that they are precisely that- a choice. Get conscious about how you are actually spending your time. You might be surprised. You can even time yourself and log the hours for one week. Then decide what an even more alive choice might be.
#5. Polishing the silver can wait
Maybe while the little dude is napping you could let the house be exactly how it is and use that time for you. Maybe it’s as simple as creating a collage from old magazines and a glue stick, doing a 15 minute wild writing exercise in your journal or pulling out the paintbrush and getting wild and free. The housework will be there when you’re finished and you’ll be all the richer in spirit at the end of that hour.
#6. Share your intention with your community
This might mean creating a pact with a fellow creative girlie, gathering a group that meets up regularly (in person or virtually) or even working with a coach to keep you on track. Declaring your intention has massive manifesting power and is inspiring to others! It also creates opportunities for loved ones to help you. (I am always shocked at how much others want to help me) Share with a partner or trusted friend that your spirit is thirsting for this change and inspire them to make this happen with you. Again, you do not have to do it all yourself!
This is all about choice, and it’s yours to make. If you find yourself saying you don’t have time but your spirit is aching for something more, consider a moratorium on that phrase and go nourish your creative heart instead. You have my permission!