Have you ever told someone, “I really like to _____,” only to realize that you haven’t done it in what seems like forever? I realized this with painting. I was listing it as something that I enjoy doing, only to realized I hadn’t painted in years. YEARS.
The reason? I felt busy. I worked all day, came home to make dinner with my hubby, got ready for the next day, repeat. And those things were all good healthy things. I just needed to own that if I wanted to paint, I needed to make time to paint. Scratch that—I needed to make time for painting a priority. And I think that was a mind shift…that personal creative time is important. That it can make you a better person, wife, mom, friend, etc. That it is valuable and life giving and honestly, kind of beautiful.
But even after making the mind shift, I still had to figure out how to do it. After some trial and error, here is what I learned about how to develop creativity in what seems to be a busy life.
First things first: choose a time and stick to it
It may seem obvious, but this is a GAME-CHANGER to any new habit you are trying to create—even if it’s a fun one ☺. If I don’t schedule when I am going to the gym, so that when that times hits, I think “dang, I should be going to the gym,” it’s not going to happen. Same thing. Specify a time to be creative.
It may be a small chunk of time. That is OKAY. My personal creative time is during my Monday lunch hour. That means I drive 10 minutes home from work to paint for 40 minutes to drive 10 minutes back. You may have to pick a nap time on Thursdays. Or an evening after work on Tuesdays. But once you pick it and protect it, I promise you, you’ll start to crave it.
Next big thing, schedule for that time
What do I mean by that? It’s easiest to give another example. The first time I decided to paint on during my Monday lunch hour, I got home, starting making a sandwich, watched some Project Runway while I ate it, got out my paints and was shocked that it was time to leave. (Sounds kinda obvious now 😂 ) But the truth is I need to schedule for that time to be painting time. For me, that meant packing a lunch, so I would eat while working before or after. It meant figuring out what I wanted to spend my time painting before. Maybe even getting the materials out and ready to grab. Not to beat a dead horse, but when I go the gym on a lunch hour, I pack a lunch and a gym bag. Why not prep for a creative hour?
Make it a happy space
I love this one. I think it makes a big difference. If I am taking time to myself and trying to enjoy the creative space, but staring at a pile of laundry on the couch, it doesn’t work out so well. Pick a space that feels comfortable to you. Safe. Homey. Move the laundry to the other room if needed. Turn on music that you enjoy. I, honestly, listen to Harry Potter on audiobooks while I paint. I love it. Recently, I’ve been lighting my favorite smelling candle. Yes, in the middle of the day, in 80 degree weather. It smells good, and I like it. Find out what that is for you.
Start small; don’t go crazy
The first time I set aside time to paint, I painted a giant watercolor of a horse. Let’s just say it’s not my favorite painting. Actually, it’s pretty bad. I was excited and ambitious. And afterwards, I felt frustrated and overwhelmed. Am I really this bad at painting? Slowly, I learned to start small. Paint something way easier. Literally, leaves. A cactus. That kind of thing. Give yourself small wins. Don’t choose something so difficult that you don’t enjoy yourself.
Show up again and again
The truth is I had to grow into enjoying painting again. There are some things that I still paint and don’t like. Give yourself the freedom for that. Enjoy the process. Learn how to play instead of focusing on results. Build that muscle that has been neglected. Find what inspires you and keep showing up.
Those are my best five tips for jumping into a creative space and how to develop creativity amidst all the craziness and other priorities of life. I hope this is helpful! Is there anything that works well for you?