Making time for art… means making time for ourselves

Escape at Twilight by Vanessa Valencia

I have a guilty admission to make.  Even though I am co-creator of Gauche Alchemy and our focus is to inspire people to express themselves creatively, I have a lot of trouble making time for art.

I have my own reasons and challenges that tend to create this situation, but what it comes down to is that I have not been making time for myself to create.  As you may know from reading my last post, I believe that creative expression is a necessary element in a holistic life… so why do I have so much trouble practicing what I preach?

I’m going to sidestep that question because, really, the way it’s asked sounds suspiciously like the snarky tone of my inner judge, and frankly, I’m trying to drown my inner judge in the toilet at the moment.  Instead of saying I should make time for art and creativity (I’m the master of shoulding all over myself – you too?), I’ll say, “I could make more time for art.”

And here’s the question that encourages that response:  What might I do to show love for myself?  (Doesn’t that feel so much better than “Why do I have so much trouble practicing what I preach?”)  And the answer might be, “I could make time for my creative self to play.”

But how?

What do you do when every day seems shorter and shorter?  What can you do when you’ve got so many obligations and interests pulling you every which way?  I don’t know about you, but I am often tempted to all-or-nothing attitudes.  I think, “Well, if I can’t spend [x] amount of time doing what I want to do, then I don’t even want to start.”

So, here’s what I’m trying to wrap my head around these days – small projects.  Partial projects.  Spending 10 minutes if I have it and truly want to use it for creating, rather than waiting until I’ve got a block of a couple of hours and also have the energy to actually do it.  When I feel that urge to create, when I find myself thinking, “I wish I had time for that today…” what’s to stop me from taking TEN MINUTES to do SOMETHING that makes me feel good?

Well, aside from this, I mean:

OMG.  I can’t believe I just showed you that.  Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that is my studio.  I’m lucky enough to have an area to create that is all my own, and… well… *ahem*  pardon me, I need to go put my boot on the face of my inner judge, who’s contemplating climbing out of the toilet for another round.  (Now, if your studio or living space looks this bad, you’ll know you’re not alone.  If it doesn’t, don’t you feel so much better now?)

Okay, so other than the fact that when things get this piled up, I don’t have a surface to work on, what’s my excuse?  I can grab an envelope and a set of Sharpies and make a piece of mail art.  I could do that.  Or, you know, I can still get to my sewing machine and a big-ass pile of paper scraps.  I could do that.

I’m not very good at this whole taking-small-bites-of-things thing.  Not yet.  I’m working on it.  I created this card in 10 minutes as I was waiting on a neighbor/friend with whom I was going to a women’s “goddess group.”  (No, we didn’t chant and dance around a fire naked… hopefully next time… but I digress…)

Here’s the back:

Not bad, eh?  It’s a start… and now I’ve got something to put in that Sharpie-covered envelope, right?

So, tell me – how do you make time for art?  What ideas do you have for the rest of us?  What are you working on letting go, either in attitude or in a too-full schedule so that you have that time to love yourself through making time for what you love?  I really want to know! Please, oh please… ohpleaseohpleaseohplease leave me some comments, faithful readers.  I can use all the pointers I can get!  😉

Oh, and since you’ve read this far, I think you deserve a reward.  Go here for some awesome FREE downloadable images from Stampington – they are especially cool.

Also, did you know that Bombshell Stamps, our wonderful sister-partner, has FOUR new stamp sets available for pre-order?  They’re even on sale!  Check ’em out! (Here’s a sneaky little hint – we’ll be releasing a new limited edition themed kit within the next week or so, and one of these stamp sets coordinates with it rather nicely!)


14 Responses

  1. Good for you confessing to all that and removing all the power it’s no doubt been holding over you!

    I’d say – work on getting the room tidied first. Even if you just spend those 10mins each day on it. Then, once you’ve got a space for it – leave a project out on the desk for you to just wander past and add to in your crafty-10 mins in future.

    Or just colonise another table in the house! I’ve had lots of my scrapping stuff on the dining table since Saturday and have got lots done – just because I left it all out and forgot about tidying away each time I stopped.

    I used to take a small file filled with magazine clippings and rub-ons to work with me and created tags in my breaks. Maybe I should blog some tips on this ….

    Give your inner judge a swift elbow from me.

    Julie x

  2. Amy – you really should take a peep at WOYWW (What’s On Your Workdesk Wednesday) Brainchild of Juliaapart from anything else you could sit back with a sigh and know you are NOT alone. There’s loads of us out there baring our souls and our work areas every week and believe me yours aint that bad 😉 Well, it aint the worst anyway *g*

    I’m also guilty of not making enough time, my desk was so bare one week I had to lay across it just to have something on it to show. I kid you not! So I’ll be watching this post with interest so I can take on some comments. I have started a diary writing down what I need to do by when as am so scatterbrained – I hope that will help me organise some time 🙂

    Ooh, ooh and p.s I picked up a scrumptious looking box with even more scrumptiouser stuff inside today! I REALLY need to make time to play now 😉 Thank you!

  3. Amy Dear? Is that photo for real or staged? I was floored. I want to come and help organize. Yes, I have been organizing for awhile and I just got permission from my son to let go of a lot of the old clothes.
    Julie, thanks for such confidence and insight. I am so glad I really read the post today. it is a God Send for me. When I came to Boston, I had what I could carry on my two shoulders. The apartment I was to stay at. I never got to see. I lost so much money on deposits. Finally, I found a bed. But, it was horrible. The way people- the landlords – come in and go through your room and your personal items. I really do not know how a got so much stuff. I so know my rooms are much better than that one. I have been working on it a long time. Now, I am waiting on Big Brothers and Big Sisters to come before I suffocate over what was a clear area. Thank-you for being so brave Amy. I have mostly Art supplies. Since, my reorganization which was hindered by illness began. I have learned what I did to accomplish my College degrees. I had two children in College and Highschool. I do not know why I am alive. Really, It was Brutal.
    But I never had a WIFE! The of the term WIFE! It has a great deeper meaning for me.
    My latest culprit, which I love is that I work from home. Those around think of me as doing nothing. Your just sitting in a chair. Someone always has to put a black cloth over Joy! Do not let them stop you Amy! Just, 10 minutes an hour devote to the Chaos.
    ((( Circle of Organization Hugs )))
    Sherrie Roberts

  4. The main thing that stops me creating (if I’m honest) is this bleeding computer-it’s so adictive, checking out my favourite sites, following links from here to there..before I know it a whole evening has disappeared!
    I have to keep my space reasonably tidy because I create in my kitchen-and I have to be able to feed my family there as well. if I had a room of my own it would look like yours Amy! And that’s daunting isn’t it.
    I agree with Julie-you need to get it sorted. get some big cartons and do a rough sort, discarding (Hard) anything you don’t love or won’t use. clear the room, then work box by box (not all at once) getting it sorted and shelved.
    It’s so much easier to create if you can find what you want-I know cause I spent the other evening looking for my sheets of gold leaf-still haven’t found them (They’ll turn up when I least expect it!)
    I do have one self contained collage box that has everything I need to make a collage. I can grab this box (it’s only an A4 sized box) and know I can make something from it. You could do something similar to use when you need a break from sorting..
    Good luck-do it for you!!

  5. Well, firstly I’m so glad I’m not out-on-a-limb with my ‘get the room sorted’ idea! Glad you both agree Sherrie + Pam.

    @Sherrie – it means a lot to me that you described my 1st comment in such a positive way. Thank you. I think you were meant to drop by and read Amy’s post today. Best of luck with addressing everthing that’s stifling you + your creativity right now.

    @Pam – I totally agree about filling a box a sorting through just that one thing. That’s definintely something you could chip away at Amy – I’m sure.

    @Amy if you need to be accountable [I know Ithrive on deadlines] – you could maybe consider a semi-regular post on here showing us one thing you’ve sorted through / uncovered / arranged etc. But nothing too much which will create more pressure on you. If you need me to cheerlead you / shove you / kick you in your backside … you know where I am!


  6. Yes, I have been putting all my art supplies in Containers. I am now at the stage of the reorganizing. What I containerized. You would not believe the amounts I have thrown away. It was just nothing. I have containers for beads now. I just took out my water colors and wrote down how many and how many of each color. I am now in a class that wants us to purchase Liquid Golden Acrylics for the transparency. I am not so sure I require Liquid Acrylics.
    I have Tube acrylics with all the colors but one. I Think the Media Gels will help with the transparency. Water color I believe will be more impressive.
    What do you think.
    Continue your ten minutes at Boxing or Containerizing. You know what you get it out of your way. You can Spin like a Ballerina! Go, ahead an life I do it everyday! Not just once but a full 15 to 20 minutes and other crazy exercises. Just for me. So, get those boxes going.

  7. Dear Pam, Amy, and Julie: We must look at everything Positive ViewPoint! This is a must! Don not go into to that wonderful Brilliant Room and see a Mess!
    Its a Treasure Hunt! Now, All Treasure Hunters bring their LOOT Boxes!.
    Now, Go LOOT the Treasure!
    After the LOOTING, You get to put it into your Wonderful Treasure Chest!
    Then You Get To Spend The Treasured LOOT!
    Spend some found Gold Leaf on a piece of paper!
    Spend some of those Beads on to the Gold Leaf Paper!
    Spend some of those Brushes on the Paints and enhance the Gold Leaf and Beads and on and on and on.

    Yes, I used to have “A Place for Everything and Everything in Its Place” , I was the only one in the house or in a house with that ability.
    Then going back to school with Two Boys in Highschool, and College and Still all the activities that still required me. It was insane.

    ((( Circle of Organization Hugs and Treasure Finders Start Button is now Going)))


  8. LOL.. I am so happy to see a room just as messy as mine =D I´ve always thought I was the only one being like that!

  9. Oh yeah, my craft space looks JUST like this, no lie I swear! lol Thank goodness I’m not alone in the vast wilderness of no time, lol. Thanks for a great post Amy, just what I needed to read tonight! 🙂

  10. You’re lucky to have a studio space to create! Now you just need to organize the mess and start creating!

    I scrap in my bedroom, on my bed, with a retractable desk. It means that I need to clear all my stuff before I go to sleep. I don’t have the luxury to leave my incomplete projects on my desk ever…otherwise I have no space to walk…:( But it does force me to keep the area organized and tidy…otherwise the messy chi in the room will disrupt my sleep.

    I don’t do impulse buys when it comes to crafting supplies…no matter how cheap it is because I don’t have space to store them. I buy, I use and then I replenish. I have 1 day a week devoted to crafting…Sundays. If I have free time on weeknights, I might do a card or 2. But having a set craft day a week keeps me focused on getting my DT work done. I haven’t missed a deadline. Yet. 😉

  11. Hiya, Amy. Ugh, your studio reminds me of the rest of our house that needs cleaning. =p Fear not, my friend, sometimes life does get overwhelming and the laundry piles up and art stuff gets dusty and forgotten, but yeah, there are good days when you actually have, miraculously, FREE time.

    If you have free time, make some. Take a day off. Just get in there and organize stuff. It’s hard to be creative when you’re feeling guilty about all the organizing and cleaning you have to do. And, yeah, once you get going, it kinda snowballs and you get your creative mojo back.

    Time. Beats me how to get more of it. I have enough problems with making my own time/schedule work and I don’t even have a job.

    So sending you lots of organizing and creative mojo, girl. You can do this! =)


  12. i know totally what you mean about the mess…each time i do something, i get a new pile,,which adds to the old..and new things i buy…things i collect and refuse to throw away…they just keep the mountain growing! I just got my scrap space packed a week ago as i was expecting someone over…it is still clean as i havent had the time to scrap! (though i just did an ATC!)

    Instead of consciously making time (which stresses me out everytime), i think it is good to know that projects need not be completed in one sitting. I may do something, go to bed, and continue the next time i feel inspired…and that works for me! It is also easier if you make use of products you actually love =)

    ..and if the messy room is what’s stopping you, step in there and get a pack of supplies and scrap somewhere else like what Julie said…i ‘migrate’ from my room to my living room sometimes…but then again, i do that so i can scrap and spend time with my mum and dad…ah…there you go..merge family time and scrap time together! Or scrap and tv etc….we don’t have to just do one thing at a time!

    you can do it Amy! One step at a time!

    hugs, Mer

  13. Amy…whatever you do, don’t throw anything out because you are emotional/frustrated.
    Yes, sort, no matter how long it takes we will be here encouraging you and each other{Gauche Alchemy Support Group no less}. My living room is full with somewhat organized spots and some still waiting…I am learning that creating is to much a part of me to ignore- I must create something everyday wether or not i’ve sorted something and that’s okay. My thought is clear a section the size of a student desk{36×19} and like Julie and Pam, etc. work in that area during those 10 minute times- even if you still have sorting to do. Like Mer I have to keep my hands going while watching t.v. that often is together time as well and it works. If I’m watching ustream program I’n working from my vintage t.v.t tray and get up to get things when I need them. You might want to think and write down those items you use all the time{like mentioned} and make sure they are in one place so you just KNOW they are there for those 10 minute spots. I for one am determined to not throw anything away, I want it organized and ready to use. Anything new that comes through my door already has a home- all my GA stuff is all together, I have other etsy stuff that stays together and so far that has worked well because I keep them in 4# or 5# clear barrels stacked. You know the drill- take stock of your storage you already have{I even use upended boxes for storage and as long as they are strong who cares what they look like{some of them I’ve painted and papered}. Pizza boxes are GOOD for storing W.I.P. and other items as well and they are stackable and you can even decorat them if you want. I am rambling now….,…
    Amy did you get my email about Cloth Paper Scissors? I’m finishing the postcard that will arrive in an envelope because hubby still needs that security and if I am honestt so do I! WE ARE HERE FOR YOU…hugs and happy happies.

  14. Awesome comments, everyone! Sherrie, you are totally right – positive spin! I love the idea of treasure and loot. Everyone else – you’re right – I need to organize. What I’m trying to do is realize it doesn’t have to be ALL organized… just need to keep a space clear. I actually pretty well know where most things are… but I come in with a bunch of GA stuff, in a rush, dump it. Throw stuff I’m going to recycle on the top of the desk. Tell the girls to put stuff on my desk when I’m occupied with something else and can’t put it away (I try to keep that only to creative stuff – they pass along a lot of little found-object toys and stuff). Most of what you see there can be cleared in probably a 30-minute session… but it would be moving the GA stuff to our GA inventory room, which is almost as wild a mess! (Deb is going to get us organized, she says! Whoo hoo!!)

    A lot of this is learning how to be gentle with myself and understanding it doens’t have to be perfect – only functional. Taking small bites and being content with that. Joyce, you got it right that you don’t need anything more than a sturdy box sometimes!

    I will take photos as I go along here (if I can find my memory card! Drat! What did I do with *that*? Otherwise, iPhone it is…). My ultimate goal is to have incremental photos instead of one clean sweep. That will show I’m finally “getting it!”

    Joyce – off to look up your e-mail!

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