How can we find time to do the things that we love?
The million dollar question.....
Life can feel like a constant barrage of curve balls that get thrown in our direction time and time again. We bat one thing off and another mysteriously appears! Things get in the way or take up more of our time than we anticipate. Work, family, friends..........stuff! We always find the 'stuff' that stops us from moving forwards.
We make EXCUSES!
I can't because:
I don't know how to do it
I don't have the time
I'm not as good as (insert name here)!
I can't think where to start
I can't afford to buy (insert incredibly expensive item that you don't really need here)!
No one will like what I do anyway.....
WHAT WE SHOULD DO, IS JUST DO!
and not care about what people think or us or how we may be judged.
I'm a PERFECT example of falling foul of ALL of the above.
So here's how I got around it and just got DOING.
Last year was a big birthday. Life begins and all that jazz.
I was having a flap in my head about being half way through life and feeling like I was just going through the daily motions. Treading the everyday treadmill. Not really seeing the bigger picture and ignoring the fact that it was ME, and me only who had to do something about changing this. No one else was going to do it for me. I wasn't living the life I wanted to be living. There was a BIG thing missing and I knew EXACTLY what that was.
I remember at Easter time having a 'life' chat with Stacey (my significant other) I'm very lucky as he's an incredibly positive person and has always repeatedly told me that I have to just get on with it and that I CAN do it (probably to the point of wanting to scream loudly whilst banging his head against a wall!)
The determination FINALLY kicked in! I had to just get on with it.......but in baby steps.
Ironically, between then and August, guess what? Yep. LIFE GOT IN THE WAY! *cheesy grin*
SO...August came and I started my calendar. My calendar to ensure that I put a BIG RED CROSS in the box for every day that I successfully made at least 10 minutes to do something art related. It didn't necessarily have to be drawing or painting of anything. It could be checking out a website, reading a few pages of a book, watching a you tube video.....just something that was linked to what I love to do.
There was no way that I was going to fail.
It WORKED! In 31 days I had done something every day and it felt AMAZING. So much so that I'd now built a habit which has continued for 6 months. I have stacks of new work to show for it, a completed sketchbook and a new one started, resurrected Instagram and Facebook pages (note: these are NOT necessary but very motivational if you feel dedicated to posting a few times a week for people who want to see what you do) and a few commissions under my belt which I never in a millions years ever thought I would do!
What works for me?
As squillions of other people do, I have to work a day job.
I'm also a LOT of a gym junkie and LOVE fitness. It's really important to me so this is another thing to contend with when planning my precious free time. Because of this, I'm a 'routine' kind of person.
Work, Gym, Art. But it works for me.
Weekends I try and hit the art hard! Time allowing.
I'm not lucky enough to have an art studio or room. I work from my old second hand drop leaf 1970s teak table (that's now covered in pen, scratches & tea stains....whoops) in a corner of the lounge of my flat. It's a space that I've dedicated for Art that I can leave in a mess until the OCD tidying up side of my brain tells me to clear up.....which sometimes doesn't help my creative flow!
I always have a couple of things on the go to flit between as the mood takes me. Monday to Friday I can pick these up as I want.
Some days I feel like drawing, some days I feel like painting backgrounds. Some days I don't want to do either of the above so I might have some pre prepped pages in my sketchbook waiting to be stitched.
I have a list of people that I want to make time to google (lunch breaks are good for this!) Videos that I watch on you tube (normally in the bath with a hot choccy so they don't take up my precious working time) The most important thing is that there's always something that I can pick up. There's no excuse of not having anything to do.
If I have a spare 5-10 minutes whilst making dinner then I'll take that time to do something constructive. It's amazing what a big difference all those 5 minutes make!
Oh, and my trusty leopard print pencil case goes with me in my bag just in case of any random opportunity! This contains a few different paper scraps, a really small Pink Pig sketchbook and some of my favourite pens and pencils.
My most favourite thing to do is to throw paint or ink down on some paper or sketchbook pages before I go to bed at night. In the morning it's exciting to get up and see how it's all dried out and what's been created. My latest 'fad' being to leave old wet tea bags on watercolour paper overnight to see how the paper sucks the tea stains up!
So there you have it. My baby steps that are slowly creating a mountain of work, ideas and motivation. And I DON'T always like everything that I do but I do ACCEPT that sometimes, things just don't come out like the image in my head. I now just move on to the next thing.
Get that list started, pages prepped, things dotted around your house that you can pick up for a few minutes and ENJOY. Don't let it feel like a burden to squeeze whatever you love in to your life. We're all busy.....but there's ALWAYS time.