Week 2 of the A to Z Blog Challenge opens with five elements that should be in every creative person's toolbox.
For a tradesperson such as a construction worker, what is one of the first things you think about when you picture this person? For me, the tool belt worn on the body, ready with the tools he needs at arms' length when walking onto the job site comes to mind.
For some reason, many people with creative dreams are hesitant to take that first step and begin to equip themselves with the tools they need in order to transform from the dreaming-about-it stage into the actually-doing-it stage.
Perhaps finances are a problem. Start somewhere -- save a bit here and there, but with purpose. You'll eventually have enough to purchase that first piece of equipment that starts you on the road to turning your creative concept into something tangible.
As much as a creative person needs the world to stop while she gets down to working on her project, the world keeps right on spinning.
How do you carve out the time you need in order to write, paint, sculpt, take photos, sew?
The same way you would show up for a day job: make an appointment with your creative project and keep it.
If you need to find someone to look after your children for several hours so you can work on your book, head out with your camera or sit down uninterrupted at your sewing machine, book that time with a sitter. Ever hear the phrase 'put your money where your mouth is'? Take your creative work time seriously, as seriously as you would a pay cheque day job.
EFFECTIVE Use of Time
So you've got your tools and you've carved out your time to work. Don't be surprised at a strange phenomenon -- you haven't chosen the right time for you.
This is something only you can discover.
It all comes down to whether you're a daytime person or a night owl. One of those two segments of the day will be your 'on' time, where the ideas are flowing easily and you feel like you're on fire.
If you're a daytime person and you try to be creative following your day job and once the kids are in bed, you will spend lots of time yawning and gazing at your computer screen while getting nothing accomplished. Try setting the alarm clock a few hours early and claiming those hours for yourself, before the rest of the world gets up.
This is a very difficult thing to manage, especially if you're not working full time in your creative life. Juggling family life, a day job, a social life and the day-to-day errands can use up all the energy you've got before you even attempt to work on your project.
This is where pacing comes in.
You may feel like a thoroughbred in the starting gates, bursting with ideas and energy. It's quite like the start of a love affair, finally working on your dreams. If we think of those thoroughbred horses, however, there are a few things to keep in mind about those high-octane athletes. They are trained carefully for stamina and speed, and then retired after only a few years of racing -- because they are already burnt out at three years old. They shine brilliantly but briefly at an elite level of athleticism. A creative person generally wants to run more of a marathon than perform at sprint levels.
If you burn the candle at both ends for too long, your creative work will suffer. Learn to conserve your own energy and to build up your stamina over time.
ENGAGE Your Muse
In order to have a creative well that you can dip into, you need to replenish that well regularly.
This may require blocking off time to yourself so you can simply be.
Sometimes this means a date with yourself, where you employ assistance so that you can head out shopping with a friend instead of working on your project. Perhaps you and your husband need a night out at the movies. Maybe there's an exhibit at the museum and you really, really want to see it.
Instead of thinking of these things as time wasters and frivolous indulgences, as a creative person you require inspiration in order to be in close contact with your muse. Give these renewal periods the same importance as you would your writing time or your sketching time. You'll find that you spend less time staring at a blank page when you and your muse have a healthy relationship.