Creatives get pulled in many directions. Others often seek our time, assistance, or opinions on everything from what color to paint the kitchen to landscaping ideas for the yard. We push aside our studio time to help others, clean the house and finish the laundry. We dream about the unfinished painting, or story or how perfect the autumn light was for that gorgeous shot we could have gotten but didn’t get the chance because we were too "busy".
Setting boundaries in the workplace or in family situations is common practice, so why don’t we consider the importance when it comes to our creative time? Often, we devalue work that doesn’t bring in a hefty income or we might think we are not worthy of the time to create because others are more talented. Creatives all need practice to gain and maintain skills, so creating a habit and sticking to it will provide conditions for your best art to grow and bloom.
Your creative time in non-negotiable. You wouldn’t skip a job to go have coffee with a friend, and you must think of your creative time like your job. Turn down invites, hire a sitter and don’t cancel your studio time unless it is an emergency (example; the house is burning down). Creatives often use excuses that the kids need us or the house is a disaster, but most of the time, those things can wait. Set your time, mark it on the calendar and tell everyone around you that you are not free on those days. This time commitment in non-negotiable.
Saying "no" is really saying "yes". Because you are at home, people often think you are free. Think differently about using the word “no”. When you say no, you are saying yes to life flourishing, vibrant creativity. If you are quick to give in to everyone who needs you, your friends will expect it, and it will continue. Be serious about your committment and others will take you seriously too.
Find what obstacles are holding you back from that creative time. If you need daycare, could you swap days with a friend? Could you write at the gym where there is free childcare? Could you get up an hour earlier in the morning before the family stirs? Are you wasting a commute where you could be sketching out paintings on the train?
Don’t forget self-care and a supportive community. General wellbeing will ensure your ability to remain creative without burn out. Are you sleeping enough? Do you move your body and eat healthy foods? Are you surrounded with a community of supportive creatives that want to see you grow? If not, seek out a group that feels right or check out our own online group, "My Creative Community." https://www.thrivecreativecommunity.com/my-creative-community.
Building structure and boundaries in your everyday life allow time for self-care, promote respect from friend and family, and make it possible for creativity to flourish.