The most common complaint of an artist, whether they’re a writer, actor or other creative being is that they never have enough time to pursue their art. If they work full-time it’s a challenge to map out time to be creative and if they aren’t working they most likely have to spend the bulk of their time looking for employment and that can sap anyone’s creative juices.
So how does one stay in the black without feeling so blue?
We all know that being able to pay the bills and put food on the table is tantamount to staying alive. So bringing in an income HAS to be the top priority even in a creative life. If you can make money utilizing your art that’s even better, but most of us need a day job in order to survive. If you have a rich spouse, family members or friends who are willing to support you while you build your art portfolio, that is wonderful. FOR YOU! You’re probably the rarest thing since the birth of Lebron James.
What works for me is to create something EVERY DAY. Even if it’s a one line poem. Or a witty Facebook or Twitter status update. So when I’m looking for work or at work I can still stay connected to the part of me that wants to be writing instead of working. There is no guilt, let down or anger when I’ve created something no matter how small. I breathe deeper and I have a swagger in my walk when I do this.
Of course the goal is to be able to be creative in longer spurts so that’s where your commitment and planning has to come into play. When I wrote my first novel, I woke up at 3 in the morning and wrote until 7 before getting ready for my nine-to-five. I was plugged in and rolling then. It took a while for me to build up to that, but when my schedule was set, I didn’t deter.
Am I there now? Goodness no! But, I’ve done it before so I KNOW I can do it again. So can you if you aren’t already doing it. While I get back into my zone, I’m doing other things that fulfill me creatively. It’s after 8 P.M. while I’m writing this. I’m tired and my eyes are a little bleary from working all day and thinking and doing my day-to-day thing to survive, but I need this time to write and let my fingers flow across these keys. The music is wafting up and around me from my computer speakers. My breathing is steady. My foot is tapping. I’m actually smiling too. It’s feels good when I make time for the things that mean the most to me even if it doesn’t add up to 15 chapters of my next novel. I’m going to get there. I have no choice but to get there.
So this is a part of my process. As an artist how do you balance your books? Books meaning finances and also the creative part of your life. Of course I use books interchangeably here because as a writer a book is the ultimate symbol of creativity.
Please share your challenges and solutions and perhaps we can start a dialogue around this issue that may help another artist.
Stay creative my friends.
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I wish I could say I create every day, but my creativity usually doesn’t work that way. I don’t pressure myself to write if I don’t have it in me at that moment.
But when that burst of creativity hits me… I write until every ounce of creative juice is gone. I write until I’m sitting at the computer and my eyes hurt. If that means 12 hours straight so be it. Days or weeks of writing, then I’ll do it.
Even though writing is my business, I have so many responsibilities that when I’m focused on business its sometimes hard to completely cut that off. So my solution is to relieve myself of any pressure by just doing what I’m able to do and not forcing it, while still being committed to finishing what I start.
I also allow other forms of writing to bide the time until I can crank away at my novel. That includes blogging, tweeting, vlogging, etc…
Thanks for this post!
I get overwhelmed with the feeling all the time. The creative thoughts and inspirations always seem to come when I can’t stop and bring them to life. I actually write my thoughts on my phone so I don’t lose them. I try to do business and paperwork on a monthly basis so I don’t get backed up and this way I have more time to work on my arts. Keeping my computer handy is nice so if the kids are napping or playing quietly then I can work on things. it’s not perfect, but if I go moment by moment, small things get a chance to grow 🙂
Thanks so much for your comments ladies! I love hearing about the process of balancing creativity and work life from others.
Stefanie, I totally agree with your point of not forcing it. That’s why if I know I don’t have anything that day, I will do something else, even if it’s a small piece of writing or perhaps just writing down an idea that’s been lurking. For me, if I don’t I get that gnawing feeling. Almost like a hunger pang!
Becca, I like your phone idea too! I sometimes send myself emails when I get an idea.
I love all of this sharing! Let’s keep it up and support one another!
The best habit for creativity or writing is to set aside a time of day for it and then sticking with it. Even if nothing comes to mind or you don’t feel inspired, sit yourself in your creative place and eventually you will train your brain to know that when you’re in front of the computer or at your desk at a certain time that it is time to do that thing you do. And if possible, remove all distractions by turning off phones and letting friends and family know that it is your time and that you do not wish to be disturbed. They can have you back in an hour or two when you’ve finished your process.
Of course, it’s usually easier said than done, but that’s why they call it discipline.
Thanks for sharing this one. I love topics like this. 😉
Tam, it’s so important to reflect on this. When you love being creative and it isn’t pouring money in yet, managing my time around the more realistic things matters.
I both consider and apply my various talents in the ways I know how to.
If we keep our mind on the goal, nothing can get in the way. Not even the fact that a full-time job will be needed to get me where I need to be in time.
And oh! those status updates and posts. I truly agree with your statement. I follow your updates and smile when I see them because I know something POSITIVE is happening. Staying attracted to what you love in small ways also connects your energy, and the progress keeps flowing and flowing!
Thanks Louminator & Jeanelle! Wow, as I’m reading these comments I feel blessed to have all of this knowledge and positivity around me! My goodness!
I loved the comment about shutting off the phones and other devices. It is so helpful. We are so connected to our electronics that we need that hour or two without them to decompress anyway.
Yes, Jeanelle, I love when my energy is up due to being creative. The only feeling that rivals it is one that takes you out of this world, if you know what I mean. 😉
For me, the hard part is balancing the promo and marketing aspect with creative time. I have five published novels and I find that, lately, marketing has become a full-time job. (And I do not enjoy marketing!)
It’s frustrating that the need for money interferes with our creativity.
Hi Darcia. Wow, I can imagine that marketing your books could take up a lot of time from your creative pursuits. A lot of us would like that problem though. 🙂
It is hard to balance making money and making art, but we have to stay with it. In time it will definitely pay off.
Thanks for your comments!