If life was a woman, one would easily draw an unflattering conclusion about her. She’s a bitch. Just when everything goes well and smooth, when everything seems to be in place, life sweeps in and messes it all up. It gets in the way. Big time.
My life used to be just like that. For months, I was establishing new routines, polishing my habits and feeling a general sense of fulfillment. I was going strong. Kids were taken care of, house was clean(-ish), meals were home-made, and of course, the glory of it all: creative practice was well on the way. I wrote, I sketched, I painted, I even did some gardening. I was on fire! Than it happened. Or rather, things happened. Small things, one by one. They made my perfect routine nothing more than a nice dream, a fleeing past experience. My free-time disappeared in a blink of an eye with everyone going on holiday/work trips or getting sick at the same time and I was left with no time whatsoever for myself. Well, that’s not exactly true of course. I could have worked in the night, get up even earlier in the mornings and steal some time in between. But the sudden change hit me so hard that I couldn’t recover for a while. I quickly became exhausted. Mentally and physically.
This seemed like the story of my life. Building up habits, only to have something change and everything crumble. I plan, I execute, I soar, then life gets in the way, I don’t know what hit me, everything is lost. The cycle started again and run the exact same course. Until I became aware of the exact pattern. Quick enough, I could anticipate the next phase. This is how I ended up with my creative work on a low burner in the last 3-4 weeks. BUT! And there’s a big but here (hehe). I kept my daily 5-minute practice. In times like these, the 5 minute practice and the realisation that I won’t be able to turn out illustration after illustration, article after article, kept me sane. What changed this time? Mainly my attitude. And that I anticipated the down-time. I reminded myself about creating for the sake of the action. Not for the end product. This allowed me to enjoy and feel satisfied even with as little as 5 minutes of creative time.
It doesn’t mean that I came out of that month feeling on top of everything. I also didn’t feel absolutely energised and to be honest, I had a day or two when feelings of frustration and self-pity came in the picture. But I was quick to catch them and realise that nothing is lost. I tailored my creative practice to the time and energy I had. Was it an ideal situation? Not by far. I still wish I could do my creative stuff in a constant manner. But fussing about it, getting angry and frustrated won’t help me release even a tiny bit of that strong creative energy that’s coursing through all of us. On the other hand, 5 minutes of doing something small will. Those tiny sketches on grocery lists, little poems told to my kids while we played, snippets of ideas that made it into my sketchbook, those allow me to keep creating.
- Realise that life getting in the way is just the natural order of the cycles in your life. It will happen sooner or later.
- Be honest about how much time and energy you have at that moment, in those situations.
- Check in with yourself, realise that you’re creating for the joy it gives you. Not for the end-product.
- Apply the 5-minute practice, when low on time and energy.
PS: I love connecting with like-minded people. So if this resonates with you, please reach out to me. I love to chat.