Balancing the Necessities of Life and Art

How often do you have a fantastic creative idea that you are desperate to get started on, only to find there is no time left after doing necessary things like housework and catching up on sleep?

This is something I've found more challenging than ever over the past few weeks. A personal issue has resulted in little or no time or energy for art and, when I do manage to find some time, it's almost guaranteed to be interrupted within minutes. The result being that my paint has dried on the palette and has become unusable.

I think every creative person – or, indeed, anyone who has something they're passionate about – knows how frustrating it is to be interrupted when working on something new. Sometimes it seems better not to start at all than risk being stopped at a crucial moment. Unfortunately, this can become a habit and before you know it, days and weeks have passed without anything creative being done.

That's exactly what's happened to me and I'm determined to find ways around it. It's not easy yet it's very important to make time for what you're passionate about. I'm on the lookout for tips and ideas on balancing everyday life with art. Here are my thoughts so far:

  • Do something creative as soon as you get out of bed (or even when you're still in bed!) This sets a precedent for the rest of the day, as sometimes getting started is the hardest part.
  • Look for little opportunities throughout the day to do fast drawings or scribbles. Always have a sketchbook and pen or pencil with you, so you don't have to waste a creative moment because you can't access paper.
  • If you work with photography in any way, try setting a goal of taking at least one good photo each day – by 'good' I mean something that you personally would want to work with.
  • If you normally spend time watching TV in the evening, consider skipping a programme and using the hour to paint instead.
  • Set out a piece of paper and drawing implements, or collage materials and glue, on a table you pass frequently. Every time you go past it, take a few seconds to draw a line or stick a image down.
  • If you are employed, use part of your lunchtimes to do a little bit of drawing or creative writing. I used to do this and I found that just a small amount of creativity helped wake my mind up; I then felt inspired to look for more opportunities throughout the day to work on my piece further.
  • If you take public transport during the day, other people on the bus or train can be a good source of inspiration. Overhead snippets of conversation, people and their possessions, contemplating who they are and where they might be going... It's a great way to pass the time productively. On a side note, if (like me) you can't read or write when travelling due to travel sickness, try this instead:
  1. Pay attention only to what you're drawing, don't look down at the pad at all. It's best to use a pencil as it's easy to end up with pen on your clothes! If you're writing instead of drawing, again just don't look at the pad. The writing can be a bit messy, but I don't think I've ever been unable to read my notes later on.
  2. If you find focussing on something to much, let your gaze soften and go out of focus; even close your eyes if you like whilst continuing to draw. This can produce fantastic results and is a method I use frequently on public transport

Those are my ideas for the moment and hopefully I'll have more to add soon.

Do you have a tip to share for time-starved creative people?