My former life as a blogger was at Art as Usual. The reason I’d started the blog was to encourage others, and myself, to make art everyday. I had somehow gotten into the mindset that art was something special that I could indulge in when I had a couple of hours to spare – which I don’t know about you, but it never happened. However, I did come to realize that it could. I could be creative EVERYDAY if I changed how I thought. Here are three tips to help you be creative everyday.
Not what I dreamed it would be.
The way I discovered all of this was out of sheer necessity. Before my son was born I had been an Art major who had morphed into a floral designer, who had eventually started her own floral events business. My house was clean; in fact I was kind of crazy obsessed with it. I remember my mom shaking her head, as she warned me it couldn’t last. Sure enough, a couple of months into new motherhood and I was trying to figure out how anyone got anything done with a baby. I was sinking, and knew it. SO I threw everything I had left into being super mom. Naturally, that worked (insert sarcastic eye roll here).
Determined, I began making my own healthy purees and mixing them up in his food, I took my toddler son to cultural events (in his stroller), I enrolled in ECFE classes; I was the nap nazi- because I’d read in a book that’s what was required for a normal, well-adjusted child. I spent ALL my time reading parenting books, sometimes to my son (they said he would learn better if he heard grown up language sounds from the start). Like seriously- I was over the top. I sound like a caricature of the first-time mom; and like her, I completely lost myself in my child.
Take it back to before. My dream had always been to be an artist. I thought that to be an artist meant to have a studio space, to get represented in a gallery, and to have people purchase your art. And that was the generally agreed upon career path for an artist at the time.
I was not on that career path. I was a stay at home mom with a toddler.
Moms know best.
Thank goodness for my mother. Every time I showed up at my folks with a kid and a bad temper she brought it up. Get a hobby. Make something. Do art. Til I wanted to throw something. She didn’t get it– I wasn’t that person anymore. I couldn’t be her, and I felt like any dreams that I’d had, they’d been left smoldering on the altar of motherhood. But the real tragedy here wasn’t the death of my dreams, it’s that I didn’t fully appreciate that time with my toddler because I was trying so hard to be a great mom. I was striving for an ideal and ignoring essential elements of who I was.
But eventually, I got what she was saying and probably with some eye-rolling decided that my mom was probably right. I did need to do something creative, because I needed to be creative.
But really, I thought, who has time for that?
Tip 1: Find the small margins of time in your life
By using the small bits of time I found in the “margins” in my day. It’s a a great concept. Think of the margins as the white areas around the big things you do during the day.
- Stuck in the car with a sleeping kid? Knit or browse Pinterest.
- One night a week to yourself? Just sit there and move the pencils across the page.
- Waiting for the dishwasher to finish or have a 15 min window while waiting for something? Sketch out an idea for a craft, or brainstorm plots.
In her study, Breathe, Priscilla Shirer wrote, “Margin is a powerful concept. It creates opportunities. For businesses, margin is one of your top priorities. Margin in business can create profit. In families it creates memories. Margin in our personal finances creates generosity. In our friendships it creates significance and impact. Margin in our lives overall creates options. Options to pursue dreams, think, pray, relax, meditate, process, grow and ultimately live life more fully.” She was arguing that we need to leave margins in our lives. Don’t double and triple schedule. Leave some margins. Then use the margins to dream, and create.
Tip 2: Commit that little bit of time to showing up.
You have to realize that YOU NEED TO CREATE! So sit your butt down at the table and make something. Anything. The alternative is feeling hopeless, irritable, and like a shadow of yourself. The truth is, as someone creative, you NEED to create. Makers gotta make. It’s essential to who you are. It’s essential for your happiness. It’s essential for your family, for you to be you, not just parts of you. Be willing to commit that little bit of time to showing up, regardless of what you do.
Tip 3: Be okay with making bad (or just mediocre) work.
I told myself that whatever I made, it didn’t have to look like anything. It didn’t have to be good. I just had to use the time to make something. And it was so bad at first. I’d sit there with my stupid pencils at the stupid table with my… you guessed it, stupid paper.
But here’s what I learned: To reawaken the artist inside, I had to be willing to make bad art, and I had to set aside the time to do it. It took months of those nights. But after a bit I found myself paying attention to the way one color looks next to another, how a squiggle kind of looks like an antelope, that with a little more work became a waterfall. Then, I remembered I loved waterfalls and started to paint those again. I had to breathe, focus on the process and not the product, and be willing to make bad art. Give yourself some grace and be okay with making something mediocre or just plain bad.
Bonus Tip: Just show up and make something.
It may take you a little while. Until I came out of that fog, I didn’t realize how far away from myself I’d wandered. And it won’t be easy coming back. You have to fight for it. Use the margins; use them to dream, plan, experiment, and to play. Know that whatever the result is, it’s the process of showing up on the page that matters. You can find time to create everyday in the margins of your life; and if you’re willing to create without criticizing yourself.
Love this? Share it!
If you found this post helpful I would LOVE to have you share it. You can do that on social media or you can just pin the image below! I’d also love to know how you find the time to create, whether that’s cooking, crafting, writing, gardening, or something else all together. Do these tips to help you be creative everyday really help? Please leave a comment below!