“I need to clear all the day-to-day stuff before I go into my studio. The problem is, once I do that, I usually don’t feel like painting – I’m too tired or I don’t have enough time. I just don’t seem to be able to make time for art.”
I hear this A LOT! And believe me, I completely relate. (I wish I didn’t, but I do!)
Funny how, as artists, we have a deep need to create, to express our artistic vision, and yet that priority, our first priority, our primary duty as artists, often seems to sink to the bottom of the to-do list. It keeps getting pushed below mundane tasks like laundry and email, things that hardly matter in the big scheme of things, things that won’t be remembered a year from now and certainly not at the end of our lives.
And more importantly, these aren’t things that lift us up, nor are they things that satisfy us in a richly rewarding way. And this is what making art does for the creative soul!
Recently, however, I made a discovery that was such an eye-opener, such a revelation, that I had to tell you about it.
During the October 31-pastels-in-31-days Challenge, what happened was I did my painting first, to get it out of the way. Let me repeat that. I did my painting first to get it out of the way. So, contrary to the days outside of the Challenge when I would get my blog done, my emails
This is most interesting don’t you think?
Let’s have a look at the reason this happened:
- I had made a commitment to myself, to paint daily for a month
- I also had made a commitment to the HowToPastel Facebook group, to show up daily and post my finished piece, no matter what it looked like
- This was a goal (paint daily) with a deadline (31 October)/ this was a project (a 31-day Challenge) with a finite end (after 31 days)
We all know the benefits of painting in a regular consistent way. Benefits such as:
- The more you paint, the more it becomes a habit
- You end up with a stack of paintings which is a reward in itself
- You’re more open to risk-taking and trying new things (doesn’t work today? try something different tomorrow)
- You grow as an artist
What I’m talking about in this blog post, however, is how to make time for art. So let’s have a look at how we can make this happen.
How to make time for art
- Make appointments with yourself. Go right now and find at least three times in your week where you can book at least 30 mins. And if it’s possible, make that an hour, or two, or three. Write it in your planner or calendar or daybook, wherever you check to see what your day ahead looks like.
- Create accountability. Do your painting and post it. Ask artist friends to help you stay accountable. What is your reward for staying on track?
- Set a goal or a project and give it an end date e.g. in three months I’m going to have 10 finished paintings OR I will paint Mon-Wed
10amto 1pmfor 2019 OR I will arrange a solo show for the end of 2019 and will have 30 paintings ready for it. Write down that plan where you can see it. Then break it down into doable chunks and book those chunks of time into your calendar to make it happen.
This is how you make time for art.
Soooo carve out that place in your week for the one thing you feel pulled to do – your art. Think of it as a gift to yourself.
Also, consider it as vital and unmissable as a doctor’s appointment or any other kind of appointment you wouldn’t dream of missing. You turn up no matter what. This is non-negotiable time. And that means saying ‘No’ to social engagements during those marked-off times. The same goes for errands, or email, or cleaning, or any day-to-day task that distracts you from your art-making time. Also, r
Life has a habit of eroding this precious art-making time away. So make a schedule and hold yourself to the commitment. That’s how to make time for art!!
To end this post, I want to share with you a poem by John O’Donohue called “A Morning Offering.” My sweetheart Cam gave me a printed version years ago and it continues to remind me to stay true to my own artistic journey. I hope it will move you as well.
And now I’d LOVE to hear your thoughts on this topic so please be sure to leave me a comment. Do you make a concerted effort to block out time for your art? Or is it a random happening? Let me know!
Until next time,
PS. Here is the book the poem “A Morning Blessing” comes from. It’s a book full of moving poems for all sorts of occasions. If you click the link and once there, click ‘Look Inside’ the book, you’ll be able to read the poem.