Sunday, August 7, 2011

How Do You Balance Your Creative Time?

We’ve all read articles on how to squeeze enough hours into the day to do both what you have to do (regular, full time job that pays the bills), dreaded but necessary house stuff (tenth load of laundry, move son’s shoes for the umpteenth time, reacquaint yourself with the concept of grocery shopping, mow the lawn), and what you want to do (be a full time writer, photographer, painter, musician or guinea pig walker, for that matter). 

No two ways about it, these articles make us rethink our schedules and level of motivation. They say things like “Schedule 10 minutes a day to take a photograph” and “Wake up an hour early to write. We need these articles. They speak the truth and they are helpful. You do have to examine your motivation and priorities and carve out the time.

But what I want are cold hard facts on managing your time after you have decided that puppetry/writing/abstract photography/guinea pig walking really is a priority in your life and you have made precious time for it.

How do you manage that time in order to both create and to market/promote?  Do you create 4 days a week and promote 3 days per week?  Do you wake up an hour early to promote and then create in the evenings (not going to work for me since I can’t think after 6 p.m.)?  Do you bounce back and forth between the two, settling on a rough formula of about 70% creating, 30% promoting?  Write for an hour in the mornings when you wake up (clock set at 5 a.m.) and promote in the evenings? Create on Saturdays, promote on Sundays?

Or do you just do whatever seems the most important at the moment?

I have to admit to spending the last month doing the latter.  And it has not been pretty.  I function best when I can gear my mind up to what I am going to do and have a schedule for it (a flexible one, but one that also pins my nose to the creative grindstone).  Focus. Organization.

You were looking for answers here, weren’t you?  I don’t have the answers. But I do have the questions to start you thinking about how to balance the precious time that you have carved out of your life for your creativity of choice so that that time is the most productive it can be. And so you don’t become what I have been in the last month: a whirling dervish expending a lot of energy but not accomplishing nearly as much as I need to accomplish.

However, that being said, my dervishness today included the creation of:


Now you know that is one cute dog and worth a little derv.


  1. The princess is worth everything, including a little derv, or in my case, a lot of time (at least that's what she tells me, and I believe her). That Boston really is best!

  2. Wrote up a lengthy comment and then... lost my connection!!

    In summary, LOVE to sew but don't take the time to follow my passion. Although.... I've been better at making time for myself than I have in recent years. My sewing machine is my therapist. Just don't make it to all my "scheduled" sessions!! (DO love that one-of-a-kind aspect to my creations-- there's always that!!)

    I THOUGHT that was your little Boston, LW---- great pic!

  3. I find that when I'm home I do try and get out and take some photos in the morning (depending on the weather). The writing I think about all the time, even when I'm just lying in bed or in the middle of making candles, soap or even driving in the car a particular song or hearing/participating in a conversation can inspire some kind of scene in one of my stories. Whata tends to take priority is what pays the bills (candles/soap) and the daily chores of a SAHM. Thanks for the question, Kara, I enjoyed the reflection. :-)

  4. Terrific question, Kara... sure wish I had the answer for you!
    I've been retired for 4 years & most of my time is spent dervishing... lol! I guess we just have to keep seeking balance moment to moment, priorizing & re-priorizing as our busy lives demand.
    Maybe one thing we could do that might make a difference in the way we feel about it all is to make a conscious effort to bask in the wonderful feeling we get when we actually succeed in crossing something off the dreaded To-Do List. I don't know about you, but whenever I finish something, I immediately turn to the next thing & UP goes the anxiety level again.
    Hope you find an answer to share... :-))