Finding the time to think!
Work, Kids, the dogs…
Modern life can be so hectic. There are so many demands on your waking hours it can be hard, if not impossible, to find the the time to spend with yourself. The day starts for each of us, all to often with an annoying alarm clock, and the demands are right there waiting for us. Sometimes it even clouds the very act of waking up!
“I know I am in trouble when my eyes open up and the first thought in my head is…Oh Crap!”
Maybe grab a shower and a cup of Joe to get things started… then it comes on us. Get the kids off to school, see about doctor appointments, gather grocery list, feed the dog and put out the cat (don’t worry, he is a crafty devil and okay on his own!) These are just a few of the things we might encounter while we are still in the house!
Then most of us hit the road so we can get to work on time. After all, there is that boss watching the time clock, those work loads that must be completed, those deadlines that have to be met. Carefully, we maneuver through that daily mine-field. Oh yeah, don’t forget about that Weenus report that is due by Friday!
At last, the workday ends and the world is ours! Well, not so fast, there, Tonto. There is football practice, ballet, PTA, dinner, the dog, the cat and homework to manage. Then add to that a whole host of one-offs, like the Doctor, the Vet, a parent-teacher meeting or two, (yup, little Johnny has been acting up a bit), the insurance guy and the auto body shop, because a tree had some sort of issue with your car…
Days, Weeks, Months and Years
So, where can one find time to be creative, because, let’s face facts here, creativity does take time. The answers are many and varied, because just the term creativity is quite a broad stroke, to say the least. Even a few lines of well written prose will require some time for crafting the words, the tones and the emotions into the vehicle we dream it to be when we send it out into the world at large. It may not need as much time as needed to paint the Sistine Chapel ceiling (about four years), but so what if it did?
Even in the busiest of days that we modern folks live, we can learn to get snippets of beneficial time for crafts we want to hone. The main thing is to realize you have a drive for something. Consider this exchange form 1991’s City Slickers…
Curly: Do you know what the secret of life is? (he holds up one finger) THIS! Mitch: Your finger? Curly: One thing. Just one thing. You stick to that and the rest don't mean ****. Mitch: But, what is the one thing? Curly: That is what YOU have to find out.
For me, this is one of the most memorable exchanges in all the movies that I have seen over the years. It’s funny, it’s flat-out ironic to modern lifestyles, and the point Curly was making is true, all rolled into one. Now there’s a useful Easter egg for you creative types.
No one can give you a clear formula to regiment your day where you magically have all the time you need for all the demands you find day to day. Modern lives are just generally too dynamic for such a static plan.
This is where Curly’s ‘…one thing‘ comes in handy for the creative bug. This is because once you have decided your one thing, you have started. Now, when [insert your one thing] related opportunities present themselves, you can exercise your craft, because you already have a starting point, which is where you left off last time, no matter when that last time was. Having a starting point can’t be over-emphasized in the flow of creativity!
The best I can offer is that your remove notions of instant gratification. And, yes, there are many ways to achieve that if that is the goal. But it is a whole different thing than what I am talking about here. What I am really driving at here is that you shouldn’t limit yourself by thinking things like; ‘I want to write a poem, but if I don’t finish it by next Tuesday, then I’m really not capable’. I know this seems, and is, simplistic, but deceivingly, it is the king slayer of creativity. These thoughts can be right there to blunt any possible start.
Remember Curly, stick with it…
…Even if it takes you Twenty years. Let your creativity grow, no matter how long it takes. You take the moments, all of them that you can gather, whenever you can get them, until it becomes the thing you dreamed of. I am not suggesting that you cut other important things out of your life, because, if you do, there is a chance you will be terribly lonely in your journey. I am suggesting that if you don’t follow through, it isn’t really because all the things you have to do, it will more likely be because of certain things that you don’t do.
When you create, you are using pieces of yourself; your experiences, your relationships, your elation, your rejections, to name just a few. When you are creative, you are using the total you, and that being all inclusive of all the highs, middles and lows of each segment, whether you are aware of it or not. A whole lot of the creative experience is happening on the subconscious levels of your brain all the time. How can you let it out?
Stewie: “Remember, Brian, whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.” Fox’s Family Guy
So, what does this all mean to your creativity and limited time for the work.
Tweak your mind. Start using all your day to fuel your creativity. Turn the things that were the excuses into the fertile ground to grow your own garden of creativity. It is all around you, all day long. It’s already in your mind. Practice turning the trials of your real life into the exploits of the one you want to create, no matter of the medium you are pursuing.
A good painting needs colors and hues to elicit a feeling from viewing it. Isn’t your life filled with colors and hues that elicit feelings from you? A good novel needs an interesting cast of characters doing things. Isn’t your life filled with a cast of characters doing things? Things like this can be the basis of your creativity, and with practice, the every day things of your life can be turned into the fertile ground that you need to turn your seeds into sprouts!
Once you get your thinking connected with your creativity, notions and even full blown ideas will start coming to you during all parts of your day to day life. When these things start populating your conscious brain, suddenly you will find the time to start melding them into the things you desire them to be. Why? Because at that point in time, you have a starting place for your dream. A big bang has happened for your new universe.
Just jot a few notes down, sketch a doddle, hum a tune in your head, whatever the case may be for you. From that point on, you get to pick right up from where you left off, whenever that was. The theme of a body of work is most likely to be successful when it has the inspiration from real life. This is the very thing that gives a work the best chance that it would be accepted by other people, because guess what? They have real lives just like you.
“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost.”
― Martha Graham
Please leave your comments and let me know your thoughts on your creative processes, I am interested!