Ask Magpie: 7 Ways to Find Time for Creativity

Ask Magpie Girl: 7 Ways to Find Time for Creativity from Rachelle Mee-Chapman on Vimeo.

Neato Things Rachelle Mentions in this Video:

And the Questions We Need YOU to Answer (pretty please.)

  • What are your biggest roadblocks to creative pursuits?
  • How do you find time to pursue your creative projects?
  • What sticking points can the Magpies help you past?

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chel August 3, 2010 at 4:57 am

My biggest roadblock to creative pursuits? Interuptions. I have a four year old and a husband who works from home so I NEVER get to sit down and just work. How do I recover from interuptions? How do I prepare for them? What can I quickly do when I’m interupted to help me jump back into my work when I sit back down? Help me figure out a way to work in bursts since whenever I sit down to work, I’m almost always asked to get back up and attend to something. Thank you! :)

Kirsty Hall August 3, 2010 at 9:03 pm

Awesome video, Rachelle, I agree so much with these tips.

My biggest challenge is definitely my health but my distractable nature comes a fairly close second. I make it a rule to make some art every single day – I sometimes don’t manage it if my health is very bad but more often than not I do. Even an hour a day mounts up.

rowena August 4, 2010 at 5:05 am

great suggestions. some I do, but I like your idea of base work when you’re tired. I have to say I use the television to keep one half of my brain busy while I create art or craft. I know it is anti-intuitive, but it works for me. TV helps me create. But the internet is definitely a suck for me…. except for all the inspiration. Must limit that surfing though.

My biggest challenge might be my temper. Feeling like I should be somewhere I’m not yet. Feeling like I should be able to work when I have so much going on. Missing the days when I had all day to work on my creative pursuits. Sigh.

And yes, I am working part time. Thanks for the shout out. I need to come back and look at those other links when I have more free time. I don’t usually get to watch podcasts. Glad I had the chance this time.

stacy August 4, 2010 at 5:51 am

Rachelle, these are awesome tips! I picked up some things here too. I love how you say to be a lioness. I am definitely putting that word in my bag of tricks. ROWR! xoxo

monsterpants August 4, 2010 at 10:08 am

Bood post, Rachelle! I’d say my hugest roadblock to creativity is jealousy. When I get jealous of other musicians creating really beautiful work (not jealous of their success, or connections, or fame- almost always only jealous of the beauty of what they’ve been able to create) it puts a destructive energy in my belly that makes it almost impossible for me to create. Horrible, isn’t it?!

I wanted to add 2 other things to this conversation:
1- Rowena, I agree about TV helping me create. Just like some people need complete quiet (i.e., less stimulation) to do their best work, some people need more noise (i.e. more stimulation) to bring them to the right frequency to be creative– it’s a brain wave thing. (Thinking of my ADHD friends now, who can’t flourish without the right amount of things to bounce around between.) If it’s too quiet, I usually just start to fall asleep.

2- The idea of doing base work when tired is great, but I wanted to mention it also works kinda in reverse. When I was in college studying music I wasn’t tired at all, I was totally energetic. UNFORTUNATELY that energy really needed to be focused on school work and exams. This energy sparked tons of musical ideas but I couldn’t flesh any of them out– I just didn’t have time. So, I’d write down whatever tiny snippet I had time for. I wrote tons of tiny snippets! Then, I forgot about these ideas for 4 years. My life took shape, things got going in the right direction… Last week I found the book with all these snippets and there are some pure genius things in there, if I do say so myself! ;) The best part is: now I’m at a point in my life where I can actually use these ideas! I’m scoring a short film at the moment and a few of them are perfect for it, so it’s helping kick-start my work for a current -and PAID- gig! A lot of what we do in those “tiny snippet” moments or base work as you call it, can actually pay off in the long haul whether you pay off is financial or not.

monsterpants August 4, 2010 at 10:08 am

Excuse me, that was supposed to say “Good post” but I do think it’s funny how horrible “bood post” sounds, haha!

Rachelle August 4, 2010 at 9:13 pm

Gwen – I think we should make Bood our new word. Sort of the cousin of Boo-yah! :-)

Sometimes TV helps me too, especially if I have to do a repetitive part of a creative task, like knitting a swatch or making repetitive edits on a document. Or it can be a nuturing thing — esp if I’m watching something fascinating or beautifully made. Sort of a on-the-cheap arists dates. Other times it is just a time suck. The key is to know what is functional for you. (Functionality is a big thing for me.)

Chel, I actually have several thots on this and will do a follow-up video post for you this Monday or next. (Depending on if the 4yo in our current place of resident will let me record this Monday!) :-)

lauren martin gauthier August 4, 2010 at 10:07 pm

thanks for this video, rachelle. right now i struggle with all THREE of the major obstacles you mentioned- i am working full-time, have a 5-year-old daughter, AND am struggling with unidentified health issues that cause extreme, persistent exhaustion. but i’m finding that i can either use those 3 conditions as reasons to stay stagnant, or i can embrace my reality, and work around it…as you said, usually in ‘snippets.’ right now that translates into posting almost-daily creative snapshots with very little supporting text on my photo blog. it’s not the end goal, but it’s a step in the direction i want to head.

my situation (financial and otherwise) is such that i will never be able to leave the non-creative job (biggest obstacle & energy-suck) until i can make a decent sum of money at my creative work. and i’ll never get to that spot unless i make it happen while steeped in my current set of obligations. so i trudge on. and look appreciatively to those who are carving out a similar path, and can provide tips and tools for the journey…

Rebekah August 5, 2010 at 1:33 am

Love, love, LOVE this post!

A full-time job is definitely my biggest obstacle, because after the work day is over I’m so drained. Then I still also, for my own good, need to squeeze in some exercise and spiritual time and so forth after work.

TV watching and surfing are, I admit, two of my biggest time sucks, as far as free time goes. I say to myself that I’ll just spend this much time watching TV or engaged in online activities, and then two hours or so later I realize I’ve been doing that much longer than planned. But, I’m also torn. Blogging is an outlet for me right now. I just need to be less obsessive about comment checking.

As for finding time, I totally agree with the snippets tip. Like this afternoon, it was too hot in my car to get directly in, so I opened the doors and while the breeze blew through and cooled my car down to the point of being tolerable to touch and sit in, I snapped pictures of the growing storm clouds and light coming through them. At my job, I frequently have lulls in activity, so, while I’m sure this isn’t professionally sanctioned, I often use that time to write blog posts or scribble down ideas in this little notebook I carry around for the purpose. (Lately, though, most of those scribbled ideas have been ignored.)

My biggest stumbling block is protecting my time. That, and focusing on doing the work rather than whether the project is a “good” idea or what the finished product is going to be like, because doing that often psyches me out.

Lisa @MindfulBIZ August 5, 2010 at 5:00 am

Great video post! Love the snippets tip and getting real about *not* having blocks of time to get stuff done, especially this summer while my kids are home with me full time. I’d have to say that getting rid of the TV about 5 years ago is the single best thing I’ve done to find time to pursue my creative projects.

chel August 6, 2010 at 5:41 pm

I have been thinking a lot about all the things you discussed here (thank you again- totally made me rethink my approach to creativity, especially about the whole “I don’t have enough tiiiiiiime” whining I do on a regular basis to my husband). One “ah-ha!” moment I just had while watching the video again is about limiting *supplies*. I’m the kind of person who spends an hour agonizing over what color paint to use, which brush to use, which stamp to use, etc. It’s always easier when I have a lot less to choose from. Do you find this to be the case? Just thought I would throw that out there.

Jen August 9, 2010 at 2:42 am

I work full time+ running a creative business with my husband, work part time at the library, homeschool my 12 year old and am involved with too many volunteer projects. Whew. Sound insane doesn’t it? Feels that way too.
Our finances are precarious so I pretty much work every second I’m awake, trying to drum up more business or taking care of all the other tasks. There is creativity in what I do but the stress is rough.
The thing I’m taking away from your video is “practice non-resistance, accept reality”. Damn, I needed to hear that. I tend to turn into a cranky, resentful, mean person because I am SO resisting my situation. Takes a lot of energy to do all that resisting.
I haven’t watched TV in years and my housekeeping has never been more than basic. I’m working on finishing up my volunteer stuff and saying NO to more. Also recruiting my son to help out a lot more around the house.
Thanks for the gentle nudging!

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