Developing Your Creative Practice–Part IV The Magic of “Me Time”

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Carving out time to be creative can be a challenge. It’s often hard to set time aside on a regular basis to devote to our creative practice. Here are 3 ideas to get you started:

Start Small. Remember, it’s not an All or Nothing Thing.
Often we don’t have large expanses of time to devote to our creative practice. But it would be a darn shame if you chose to skip it because you didn’t have an hour. Even a short stretch of 15 or 20 minutes can be productive and do wonders for your psyche.

While it’s wonderful if you have a devoted space and can leave your current project or materials out, I know this isn’t always possible. If you can’t get out your materials, take paper and pen (or your favorite electronic device) and jot down some ideas for your next project or view your current project and make note of a few “next steps”. Perhaps you can make a quick sketch or leaf through your inspiration file.

View “Waiting Time” as an Opportunity
????????These days we’re often waiting—for a medical or other appointment or we are waiting while picking up someone. If your current passion is portable, make sure you always have some basic tools on hand. My passion, pen and ink on paper, is very portable—all I need is a small notebook or a scrap of paper and a pen—in a pinch, any pen will do. Same goes for aspiring writers. Knitters, why not?

Make a Regularly Scheduled Appointment with Yourself & Honor It
This idea may have been beaten to death, but in our super scheduled lives, why not book an appointment with yourself? It could be a class you’ve registered for but it doesn’t have to be. You might take yourself on an “Artist’s Date” à la Julia Cameron¹, or schedule time with a buddy or buddies to work on “creative t’ings”.

We may think that we can’t do such things because too many people rely on us to do for them. Taking “Me Time” is not selfish, it’s necessary. Establish boundaries—trust me, people will respect and like the “replenished you” much more than you realize. The best way I can reinforce this concept is to relate a personal story about a member of my art group²:

“The art group I have belonged to for the past three years is made up of some wonderful and unique individuals. Members have come and gone but there is a small, committed core of ladies who have been there since the beginning. One long-time group member refers to our class as “Me Time”.
This lovely lady is the rudder of our ship. If stars were given for attendance, she would be out in front of the pack. She is almost always the first to arrive, sometimes before me and I’m the facilitator! Her skills and confidence have grown immeasurably since that first class. Members say that class isn’t the same if she isn’t there.
Her entire family knows where she is on our weekly art mornings. She has made it clear that she is unavailable to do for others during these few hours every week. This is time she’s carved out to pursue a hobby she enjoys and is passionate about.
As a new grandmother, she often cares for the baby while her daughter is at work. And yet with this new demand on her time, her weekly “Me Time” is still respected– her daughter adjusted her back to work schedule to accommodate her mother’s weekly art classes!”

We need time on a consistent basis to be creative. Regularly scheduled creative time can be challenging but doable when life is running on an even keel.  It is even more important for us to keep this commitment in the busiest and most frantic of times. Take some regularly scheduled “Me Time”, starting now. Trust me, you deserve it!

Notes:
1. The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron
2. This story originally appeared in the January 2015 L’Inspired Living Newsletter.

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