…….we have to have an income in order to live (rent, groceries, utilities, children), finding time to be creative may seem like a luxury. It isn’t – it’s vital to our well-being to make time to express ourselves through the creative arts. Stephen King wrote early in the morning and late at night – he did this while teaching English in Maine. So did Mary Higgins Clarke, Danielle Steele, J.K. Rowling, Edward Stratemeyer (creator of the Hardy Boys & Nancy Drew). I know that many other artists do and have done the same thing – they found a way and made time for it.
Even if it’s just for an hour a day, once you’ve got that hour, guard it fiercely. Even if all you do is stare at a blank page, a blank canvas or a blob of clay and make nothing for that entire hour, you are training yourself to be present for that hour. Write a thousand words in that hour, walk away and edit it the next day. Sketch out on a blank piece of paper what you want to paint in bold colors on canvas.
Making deadlines for yourself will help, as well. For example, for the writers out there, set a goal to write a specific word count each day. If you write a thousand words a day, make it a goal to increase the daily word count and give yourself a deadline as to when you want to have the first draft written. If you fall short of your word count one day, make it up the next day, if you can, but keep your eyes on your deadline. A great example of writing to a deadline is National Novel Writing Month, held every year in November.
Deadlines help keep you on track and can give you the bit of inspiration you need to knuckle down and go for the goal. And while Douglas Adams enjoyed hearing his deadlines whoosh past, when you meet yours or even accomplish your goal prior to it, you can take satisfaction that you whooshed past it.
“I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.”
Douglas Adams, author, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
Editor’s Note: This blog post is concurrently published on Citizens Journal VC