Honouring Your Creativity: Part II – Carving out Creative Time

©Samantha Chrysanthou - Are you sabotaging your own creativity?

©Samantha Chrysanthou – Are you sabotaging your own creativity?

To read Part I one of this series go here.

The Roadblock to Creativity

A major roadblock to creativity is you. Often it’s a simple case of not knowing yourself that prevents you from blossoming creatively. Finding yourself isn’t that hard if you remove the expectations of who you ‘should’ be and really look into the mirror. Our journey of the one-year ‘creative sabbatical’ ended up being less about doing creative exercises and more about finding ourselves as creative entities. Not everyone needs a year-long journey to do a hard reset; many of you already know who you are. For those who truly know themselves, the problem isn’t about lack of knowing, the problem is about lack of time to honour your creativity. How do you carve out creative time in a world that seems increasingly designed to suck up your every waking minute? Below are a few strategies that Samantha and I recommend to make sure you get to do the creative stuff you desire.

©Darwin Wiggett - Time just seems to flow by.

©Darwin Wiggett – Time just seems to flow by.

Make Your Creativity a Priority

Any time someone says, “I just don’t have time to do my creative project”, what that really means is creativity is not a priority for that person. Actions speak louder than words. Inaction on your creative work means it’s really not that important to you. Maybe you’re afraid of failing so inaction is simply self-sabotage. It’s easier to tell yourself you would be a great painter but your circumstances don’t allow you the luxury of painting than it is to put in the long hours and practice and potential rejection to become a great painter. If you want to be creative, then schedule creative time. To nourish creativity you need blocks of at least three to four hours to get into the flow. Try to have at least two of these blocks of time per week. At the beginning of each week schedule your creative time in your calendar. This is your sanctuary and you must protect this time. The universe will conspire to take this time away from you, and mostly you’ll conspire against yourself to give up this time. Don’t let that happen. Put in the time even if it feels like you are a fraud. You’re not a fraud – you’re just scared!

©Darwin Wiggett - ©Darwin Wiggett - Do creative work that is meaningful to you even if other's 'don't get it'.

©Darwin Wiggett – Do creative work that is meaningful to you even if others ‘don’t get it’.

But Where Do You Find the Time?

We all think we are so busy and scheduled but really many of us are inefficient with our time. Two of the most relentless time takers we know of are the T.V. and the internet. Most of us watch way too much T.V. and really what do we gain from the experience? Not much. Years ago Sam and I turfed the T.V. precisely because it’s such a mind-numbing, time-eating machine.

Same thing for the internet. We are all so addicted to our smart phones and every ‘ping’ stimulates a Pavlovian reward response. Our attention is constantly diverted from the life we lead to the virtual life we long to be a part of. If you actually measured the amount of time you spent on the internet and social media, you’d be depressingly surprised. All of this time spent watching grumpy cat videos and following the escapades of rich celebrities could be spent on your own creativity.  Put a limit to your online time. Sam and I have decided that we will only go on the internet twice a day – once later in the morning after our creative time is over, and then once at the end of the work day. Each session is limited to ½ hour. If we can’t get done everything we need to in that time then we need to examine what we are doing online and streamline things further.

We also purposely chose not to own a smart phone because the temptation to be online all the time is too great (we are not immune to the seductive powers of online living!). We only go online if we are in the office, and we really don’t want to be in the office all day, so we become more efficient with our internet chores. And finally, together we take one full day off a week from the internet and trust us that day is so awesome! This is our ‘family time’ and it’s sacred and is a way to reconnect with ourselves and with each other.

©Darwin Wiggett - Spend one day a week free from the internet!

©Darwin Wiggett – Spend one day a week free from the internet doing things you love with your loved ones!

You Do Have the Time – Hell Yes!

We all have the time to be creative, we just need to ditch the stuff that sucks our time or distracts us from pursuing our creativity. You’d be surprised at how much time you can free up when you look at your life and decide if a particular activity is a ‘hell yes’ or a ‘hell no’ pursuit. Is it something you love, something that gives meaning to you and others you love, something you won’t regret giving time to? Then that’s a hell yes! Mostly our lives are full of hell no’s and we let them control us instead of us controlling them. Ditch a few hell no’s and you’ll have the creative time you need. There are no excuses – most of us are simply afraid to be creative and use these external demands as an excuse on why we don’t have the ‘luxury’ of exploring our creative selves. Be brave, be creative; your life will be so much richer for doing so! Share with us some of the tips you use to carve out more creative time in your life.

Resources

Much of what we say here has been distilled from the great books listed below – check them out if you need a further kick in the pants to get on to your creativity. And if you have read a book that influenced your creative journey, please mention it in the comments.

The Artist’s Way – Julia Cameron

The War of Art – Steven Pressfield

Do the Work – Steven Pressfield

The One Thing – Gary Keller and Jay Papasan

The Four Hour Work Week – Tim Feriss

The Icarus Deception – Seth Godin

 

©Darwin Wiggett - Dogs know all about Hell Yes! We could learn from them.

©Darwin Wiggett – Dogs know all about Hell Yes! We could learn from them.

 

About the Author

I am a Canadian landscape and outdoor photographer who loves long hikes in the woods, yummy food, hairy dogs, good company and a good guitar jam.

4 Comments

  1. Guy Kerr
    November 18, 2015

    A book I am working through is called “Let the Elephants Run” by David Usher. It is about unlocking our creativity. Some interesting exercises.

    Reply
    • Darwin Wiggett
      November 19, 2015

      We’ll check it out… coffee chat sounds in order sometime.

  2. Connie Quinton
    November 18, 2015

    Darwin and Samantha, there is a lot of great words and thoughts you shared here.
    The TV is so dumbed down that there isn’t much worth watching. Good question are we sabotaging our own creativity. Maybe. Things I say like, I am not very good, but, (love that word), wait a minute I stop myself right there and say, just not yet. I watch elmo songs on you tube with my grandson and one song I love is called, “The Power of Yet” sung by Janelle Monae. Well if anybody doesn’t have time that is me as I work, running my own business, and babysit but I still make some time to get out there because I love it. So practice, practice. There is a great big wonderful world out there and I want to capture some of it on my camera and just enjoy being out there. So thank you Darwin and Samantha for encouraging us and giving us the tools to get better.

    Reply
    • Darwin Wiggett
      November 19, 2015

      Connie, you prove you can make the time if your creativity is a priority. Thanks for being part of our little community!

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