I currently work full time at a start-up and have my own business on the side. I also maintain my relationships with friends and my partner. It isn’t easy and sometimes one of those things suffers, for sure, but I don’t buy it when people tell me that I can’t have a great career and a great relationship. It’s all about balance and priorities.
I am not always great. I still get overwhelmed and stressed out. The trick is to have ways to release it in constructive ways, and have non-judgemental friends for when you need to wall up in your apartment and take a two-hour bath.
Balance is key to staying creative. There is a certain level of stress that is useful for creativity, the type that pushes you to solve problems and find a way no matter what. However, too much stress and depression can stifle your creativity.
Here is how I do it:
Make creativity part of your to-do list.
I used to fill my to-do list up! There would be 25, 50, or even more things to do. It was insane and guess what, I never got everything done. I felt defeated. There is nothing like feeling like you need to be doing work that will get you out of the creative mood. I often would put off making art to work on my to-do list, because that was the priority. Now, I stick to 3 bigger things per part of my life. For example, three big projects for work, business, home, and social. Some days have less in these areas, but no more. Having my creative tasks on my to-do list prioritizes them and I feel less overwhelmed by what I have to do.
Find creativity in everything you do.
Some things are harder than others, but if you think of creativity or art making in a broader sense, then you have the ability to pepper the experience throughout your day. I find that cooking, working in the garden, and writing feels creative and fulfills me in a similar way. There are days I don’t have the time or energy to photograph, and that is totally okay.
In college I had a professor that pointed out that just because someone graduates with a painting degree doesn’t mean that if they decide to decorate cupcakes one day that they are any less of an artist. Creativity in all its forms has value. Let’s say that again. Creativity in all its forms has value.
For real, take a break.
I am so very guilty of this. There was a straight year that I don’t think I took a break at my work. I just worked right through it, eating at my desk. Try moving to a different room to work if you can’t stop working during your lunch break, or work standing at a standing desk or counter. I tend to eat while at a standing desk so I can take my break to take a walk outdoors and read a bit.
My creativity flows when I organize my day in cycles of rest and work. I get up and ease into the day by spending time reading or stretching, then get work done. I take a break and meditate, read, and walk, then get back to work, so on and so forth.
Being able to rest and sit with yourself is important for introspection and therefore, art making. I find that I am now not only creating more, but creating art that is authentic to me and what I want. Now I feel like I am always progressing as an artist, rather than forcing it to come out of me.
And lastly, give yourself the freedom to create.
Part of artmaking is practice and routinely showing up, the other is being nice to yourself. You will create art that you hate. You will not even feel like creating anything. The important thing is, just do another thing. Do the thing that calls you and you will come back to what makes you happy. Maybe you will stop painting and pick up another art form, or maybe you just need to explore gardening for a bit to be inspired. Who knows, this new impulse may turn into something that inspires your next creative adventure.
How do you infuse creativity into your everyday life?