Have you seen any of the articles talking about the glorification of being busy? That we've evolved to the point of busy-ness ruling our lives and somehow, without feeling overwhelmed we simply aren't doing enough? Here are a few thoughts about reframing the idea of busy and how it applies to creativity.
1. We make time for what we love.
It's true. We really do. I live far away from my parents, cousins, aunts and uncles and when the opportunity comes up to see them, celebrate with them, I rearrange other things to make it happen. Last New Year's my uncle had a layover in the MSP airport for a couple of hours. I was thrilled to move meetings and pay for parking and take the time to drive to and from the airport in holiday traffic so I could see someone in my family.
With Creative endeavors, it is much the same. I love sewing. I love painting. I love drawing. At the end of my days, after we put the kiddo to bed and the dishes are done... I will sew, paint, draw, write. Because these things that we love, they are rejuvenating. Watching TV and turning my brain off doesn't make me feel refreshed. Sewing in a bodice lining and listening to some Netflix in the background moves my brain from the tasks and hub-bub of the day into flexible, excited spaces. For me, sewing is Zen time.
2.How long does it take you to...? (aka, more reasons we tell our selves we can't instead of we can!)
Nothing happens quickly except regret. Skills take time to learn and I enjoy learning. I like investing the time to learn. To practice. With more skills and more experience I earn some speed. Inevitably, though, I want to learn something else and this slows me down again. As much as I want to wear that new dress, use that new bag, send that new sketch to a friend, the time I take to make something is part of the goal. I want to be making. I also want to be enjoying. Making things regularly means getting to have both; I can wear a dress I've made and paint a new postcard.
3. Isn't it expensive to...?
Sure, sometimes. Do you know where your money goes? Are you using your money to serve your desires? Or are you letting yourself desire money? I spend less on making a dress than I used to going out for a night of dancing. I spend less painting a stack of postcards than a week of Starbucks lattes. I spend less making my own clothes than I used to spend buying clothes that I never wore and ended up donating before I cut the tags off.
And you know what? I like going out dancing. I like getting a coffee with a friend. I love shopping. I know that if I spend on one thing I have less to spend on another so I find I am constantly investing in my longer term happiness. Isn't that how everyone thinks of their fabric and notions stash?
4. How do you stop/put it down/get other things done?
I would love to say it's easy to juggle the dishes and laundry and kids and money, my dayjob, my relationship... We all know it's a lot of work. I also know that I am more of my best self when I do things for myself. I am happier and more relaxed. I am less likely to spazz out about how clean the kitchen is or when my kid yells at me. I need the me-time to be better at we-time.
I also need sleep. I make better decisions when I've had enough sleep, my craftsmanship is stronger, I take better care of my tools and materials. I am a better partner when I've had enough sleep. So even when I am deep in the thick of something I know, from experience, it's better to put it down, hit the hay for the night or even just take a break and do something else for a bit.
4. a) Because what happens when I don't stop/put it down/get other things done?
I break stuff. I bust needles, spill water, blotch paint, feel achey when I have to get up on too few hours of sleep. My fridge stays empty, I argue with my partner, we rush to get chores done and don't want to talk to each other. Sounds fun, right?
Instead I make sure I get some me-time, a little sewing, get the dishes put away and GO TO BED. I didn't finish that last line of stitching? That's cool, I'll get it tomorrow and it'll make the end of that project a breeze. Didn't pull ALL the dishes away? That's cool, too, the dishwasher got emptied and we have plenty to make dinner with. Give yourself a break, not all of life is a deadline. Love yourself and get some sleep.