You’re too busy to get to your creative work? Yeah, don’t even go there, I’ve heard it all before. From myself! That’s why I’ve come up with 10 relatively painless ways to make time for your creative work:
1. Give up 1 hour of TV. I know it’s hard; that’s why I didn’t say “Give up 1 hour of TV every day.” Just try one hour today–turn off the TV, go to your creative space and work. See how you feel afterwards. You might even work longer than an hour. Now try it again tomorrow.
2. Sit in your creative work space. Yep, just go there and sit. Don’t pay bills there. Don’t wrap gifts there. Whether your space is in a closet or the spare bedroom or your dining room table, go there and sit with your creative tools–notebook, pens, paints, whatever you need. You don’t have to write. But you will. Sit there for 30 minutes. Eventually you’ll get bored and write.
3. Listen to music that moves you. Just like actors need prompts to help them get into the right mood for a scene, writers need that too. Let the music take you where you need to go emotionally. Have your creative tools on hand and ready to go.
4. Get new tools or spruce up your old ones. The act of buying new pens, my special pens, especially in fun colors, always drives me to pull out my journal and start writing, despite my to-do list. A new journal or other tools of your creative trade can give you the inspirational boost you need to break it in.
5. Get out of your creative space. When you feel stale, go out. Go to a local coffee shop or park or library. Take your journal or laptop. People watch. Write down what you see, hear, smell, taste, touch.
6. Take advantage of a long commute. Carpool or take public transportation. Make that your writing time. Trust me, if you want to find interesting characters, you’ll find plenty on the bus or train.
7. Get up 15 minutes earlier or stay up 15 minutes later. I am not a morning person, but even I can handle the idea of setting the clock 15 minutes earlier. I go right to my office and start writing. Once you get started, you’ll be surprised at how often you end up working for much longer than 15 minutes.
8. Keep your work/journal to-go. Tuck a small notebook in your bag. Anytime you have “found time,” say waiting to pick someone up or when you’re stuck in a long line, whip it out and start writing. Stealing minutes here and there can add up by the end of a week.
9. Book a creative date. Just like romance, you have to make time for your creative work. One of the best ways is to plan a “date” with your work. Maybe it’s a one-day writer’s workshop or a walk by the lake that always inspires you. Get creative with your “dates” and keep it up every week. If you have a family, get them on board–help them understand why this is important to you so that they support your creativity and help make sure you have time to keep your creative dates.
10. Put it on the calendar. It’s easy to push your writing aside for everything else. But when it’s on the calendar for all to see, it’s your visual reminder/cue to get to your creative work.
I’ve tried every item on this list, and each one has worked at different times for different reasons. Let’s hear what works for you!