Thursday, October 18, 2012

3 more radical ways to make time in your life for creative persuits when you aren't doing it full time (yet).

I hope you enjoyed my last post on making time for art with kids. Here we go one step further in rearranging your relationship to time and work. These ideas work equally well for those who do not live with children, but who have day job responsibilities as well as creative dreams.  I am really inspired by how Steeb manages this in his life and I appreciate the work he does outside the studio so I can spend more time doing my craft. If you aren't familiar with my husband's art, check it out here.

1.Use vacation time and sick days to make art.

steeb in the studio during his week of vacation.

Steeb does this every year and takes his one week paid vacation to prepare for an art show. He stays up late,  goes to concerts and paint paint paints. Even if you don't have the luxury of paid vacation, consider planning a creative vacation to push a project forward. You won't have money coming in necessarily, but eating at home and no airfare makes it more economical than a regular vacation. Save for it as you would any dream to Hawaii or NYC. And if you need something official to help you request the time from your boss and sweet talk your co-workers into covering your shifts, consider taking a class, scheduling a public event, or going on an organized art retreat.

bonus inspiration: Our friends Jen and Will applied for an artists' residency in Iceland to make their schedules have room for a month of art. They are there right now! With a toddler! You can read about their adventures right here. For the record, she works in a bakery and he in a bar. They applied, saved and filled in some financial gaps with a Kickstarter campaign.

2.Stop working in your field.

steeb works in a grocery store and as a waiter.
  You may have a job in your field of interest that sucks your energy and keeps you from creating your true art. This is often the case with teachers and those in administration of nonprofits. When a job is close to what you really want to be doing, you take it seriously and give it your attention. But so many times it doesn't leave time and energy for your truly creative work. It may feel like a step backwards if you are actually employed in an arts organization, but working in a coffee shop may be better for your muse. A job that can be left at work and doesn't expect as much from you can free up your mind. Food service and retail are tough, and have their own cycles of energy wasting, but they tend to be more flexible in letting you work half time or take the week off to go on mini-tour. They may also have different regular hours that allow you to fit in other art and family commitments. Steeb works nights at that grocery store so I can get to the studio in the day and we both get to enjoy Franklin's fleeting early years. You may need to go corporate to get health insurance, but there are some out there that can offer you lifestyle support if not prestige.

flip side:It is super important to have habits in place to support your creative life as after shift drinks and bitch sessions can eat up your studio time. It can also be super rough on your body when those very hands that make your gorgeous art are heaving cardboard boxes,flipping eggs, or  slinging steaming hot lattes. So please, take care of yourself.

3.Be anti-social (occasionally.) 

While it is important to have quality connections with friends, family and creative community, it is not necessary to go to every party. You can skip a coffee date, mail a birthday card late, say no thanks to the movie marathon. My extended family knows I won't travel for Thanksgiving because it is always right before my big holiday craft shows. Steeb and I do not spend as much time together right now because we are taking turns making art, going to day jobs and raising Frank. Being slightly anti-social to make time for art includes Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and your television friends. Your authentic friends will support your dreams. As long as you don't become a shut in and gracefully let people know why you are absent, your community will understand why you missed cocktail hour the week before your big show.
just sitting on the couch being silly can be a mini celebration in the middle of big production.

flip side: Be sure to celebrate your success and journey with those you love. Especially if you missed some important events, make time to celebrate together when you get through with a big production push. Concerts and art openings are natural ways to gather together while honoring your hard work. A special coffee date or glass of wine to catch up with a buddy can celebrate a less visible deadline. Just cooking a meal at home after too many nights of eating whatever fits in your hand creates a moment to pause an celebrate.

It just isn't realistic for most of us to quit it all and "become artists." Mostly because being an artist isn't something that happens overnight, it is a habit that happens every day. Or at least once a week. When you really honor your creative work and make time for it, in sometimes radical ways, you will find yourself living your dreams.

Let me know how you make time for your creative passions in the comments below. I can always use some more inspiration myself!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Libby I thought of you Tuesday while I washed the dishes and folded clothes with kids climbing all over me. I thought of you because I knew that come Wednesday that when the kids were off with their dad I would not have to focus on cleaning the house, but rather on whatever I wanted to do, which included some painting. Seems like such a simple thing, but it made for a HUGE difference come Wednesday.~ Adrienne