Time. There’s never enough. Not even in retirement. At least that’s what my retired friends tell me.
For most of my adult life, I didn’t have time to pursue activities I thought I would really enjoy. At least that’s what I told myself. There were always more important things I needed to do.
I’ve had this urge for over 30 years to do something creative. I started writing two books and several short stories. There was drawing, oil and water color painting, photography, playing the piano, and woodworking. I didn’t stick with any of them.
Two years ago at age 57 I began writing poetry. Ideas started coming to me, sort of in the form of poems. Along with the ideas came a strong drive to write the poems, so I began.
When I had been writing poetry for about a year, my friends and family became convinced something was different. They were really happy for me, but wondered why I finally stuck with an activity.
There are several reasons I would start a new creative activity and quit after a few months. One of the main reasons, besides fears I didn’t want to deal with, was I didn’t have the discipline to make time. After the initial excitement wore off, my creating wasn’t important enough to find spots in my schedule. Six months would pass and I hadn’t worked on my current project, so I gave up.
This time, even though I didn’t understand why the poems were coming to me, I wrote. Soon, I began reading at public open mics. That was a frightening experience, but I kept writing and reading.
I enjoyed the writing and eventually the reading, but I struggled to find time to write. Again, I was busy with more important things. Besides, 57 was too late to begin writing. My time had passed. Writing poetry takes years to learn, it’s something people begin when they are still in school.
Since I began writing poetry, I have talked with many people who used to write, or paint, or draw. The most common reason given for not continuing their creating was they don’t have time. I’m sure the people have fears they won’t discuss, but their time concerns are legitimate.
My current creative activities include running a blog as well as writing haiku every day and posting them on the internet. I have been a member of a writer’s roundtable for two years, and recently joined a Miksang (contemplative) photography group. In February, I will begin a monthly haiku writing workshop.
Looking back, there were three major actions I took to make all this time for my creative activities.
The first action I took was to find small blocks of time every day to create. For about two years, I have gotten up at 4:30 and written for twenty minutes before I leave for work. Weekends, I sleep in until 5:30-6:00, and then write first thing, after I make coffee.
I’m guessing you don’t want to get up at 4:30 to create, but you need to find a regular time. Otherwise, you will find many reasons not to do your work.
The second major action you need to take to make time for your creative practice is to find larger regular blocks of time. Daily creating is extremely important, but you need larger periods to really get immersed in your work. I now have my Dream Creative Day.