I get it. You’re busy. You have work, obligations, family, friends, and not enough hours in the day. Trust me when I say I completely understand. There’s just not enough time.
But if you want to build yourself as a creator, writer, artist, musician, etc. you have to make time for what matters—pursuing and working on your craft. And that starts by carving intentional space for this in your daily life.
Here are a few ways to do that:
1. Make a creative plan.
The first step to becoming a better creative is to actually work on your craft. This may sound obvious, but so often we forget that success comes with practice and hard work. We can’t stay stagnant, doing the same things/writing the same content and expect to improve; we can’t just post articles on a blog and assume that one day we’ll become viral. In order to grow, we have to water our soil. (And do so consistently.)
One way you can do this is to make a creative plan. Set aside time in your schedule to work on specific, manageable things. For example, on Wednesdays you’ll wake up two hours earlier and draft some articles for the week, or after work on Tuesdays you’ll attend a drawing class. Set yourself goals as well: by the end of April I’ll be finished with ___. Or I will create a business Instagram page by this date. (Everything that is measurable, while also within reason.)
When you create a plan, you instill commitment. You give yourself deadlines and dates to manage and track your progress. And most of all, you keep yourself accountable.
2. Carry a journal.
Sometimes you’re running from one thing to another with no time to really set aside for creativity. Instead of feeling limited by this, empower yourself by carrying a journal to keep you inspired. Whether you jot down ideas as they come to mind, doodle while you’re working on other projects, or just begin a book of random feelings/observations, this journal will help spark creativity when you do have the time.
3. Create a ‘notes’ section on your phone/computer.
I can almost guarantee you have your cell on you, or somewhere close to your person right now. In a normal day, you’re using your phone or a computer to check messages, interact with clients, answer emails, surf the web, check social media, etc. And what better way to record your ideas as they come and keep them organized in one place than to create a ‘notes’ app on your phone?
I can’t tell you how many times I’m thinking of a poem/article idea while I’m on the go (especially when I’m driving—I use the speech-to-text feature to quickly record and save!) Then when I’m free later, I have a reference place of all my ideas, thoughts, and musings from the day-to-day.
Use the time you’re surfing the net, scrolling through social media, or mindlessly binge-watching Netflix to be creative. If you can make a promise to yourself to substitute creativity for social media/technology use at least 1-2 times per week, you’ll be amazed at the amount of time you actually do have in the day-to-day.
5. Work on something totally different.
Sometimes the best way to inspire yourself and get out of a rut is to work on something that’s totally out of your normal routine. For example, if you’re a poet, try writing an essay. If you’re someone who does pencil sketches, try your hand at photography. When you intentionally set aside time to be creative in another form, you’ll a) surprise yourself, b) engage your mind in a different way (which will open up new ideas/processes) and c) feel more inspired to return to what you’re familiar with.
6. Wake up thirty minutes (or more!) earlier.
I can’t tell you what a difference this makes! I’m a morning person, so this comes pretty easy to me, but even if you’re not, the act of waking up earlier can completely change your day. When you’re up earlier, you find that you have way more time than usual. You’ll also start your morning by getting your creative work out of the way, which will remove any stress you may have in trying to fit it in at the end when you’re exhausted or uninspired. Finishing creative work early will also give you a more positive start to each day!
Personal note: I wake up from 4-5am almost every single morning. Once this became a consistent habit, writing was so natural—it was just a part of my daily schedule and I didn’t question it! When you make the waking up earlier a part of your routine, being creative will feel like a normal part of your day, rather than an obligation.
7. Build a personal place dedicated to inspiration.
When I stumble across something that inspires me, I’ll ‘pin’ it, bookmark it, or send myself the direct link via email. I do this right away so that I a) don’t forget, b) can easily find it again and c) can continually have content that inspires me when I’m feeling stuck in my writing routine.
This simple act of intentionally gathering information will not only give you a never-ending stream of ideas, but help you to feel motivated to create by seeing/saving others’ work.
8. Embrace the messiness.
If you’re anything like me, you might be discouraged by content that isn’t your best. I get it. For the longest time I was scared to share content on my blog because I wanted it to be perfect before going live. (Newsflash for myself and anyone else feeling this way—we’ll never be perfect! So it’s far better to share than to keep content to yourself!)
When I finally got over my fear and hesitancy, I realized that what’s important is the practice of writing, not how ‘perfect’ each piece was.
In being dedicated to working on writing, in sharing content, in getting feedback, and in constantly improving I was able to build myself from a baby blogger to someone who writes professionally and makes a living doing so!
Bottom line—embrace your mess. Becoming successful is an ongoing process. Not everything you create is going to be perfect. But enjoy learning, making mistakes, and growing.
These are my best strategies.
Have any insight or tips to share?
Featured Image Credit: Jessica Lewis