“I don’t know how you do it,” she said as I walked my friend towards the door. “Homeschooling, four kids, writing…” her voice trailed away.
I didn’t know what to say. Instead I felt uncomfortable and said lamely, “Well, it keeps me busy!”
It was the third time someone had said something similar to me in a month. I’m not wonder woman. I don’t have amazing multitasking skills. I don’t want people to think I do. I have made creativity a priority, even after becoming a mother. I don’t want to look back over my life and say, “I wish I made more time for _______ instead of washing dishes and doing laundry.”
Whether you identify yourself as a “creative type” or not, everyone is creative in some aspect of their life. As a Christian I believe God made us in His image. He is the ultimate Creator. When we use our creative talents for expression and problem solving we are imaging God, and so it is little wonder we find the act of creating so satisfying. When we create, we image God by crafting beauty, displaying truth, fulfilling a service, or doing good in the world on behalf of others.
However, despite our best efforts, there will be weeks, months—maybe even years—when having the time to pursue what you love might not be an option. A sick parent needs caregiving, bedrest during a difficult pregnancy, or putting in extra hours on a demanding project at work may mean you really don’t have time beyond what has to get done each day.
Instead of finding yourself frustrated, I hope to encourage you to not give up. I want to share three strategies to keep the creative fire alive—even when you don’t have time to create yourself.
Be a Consumer
Whether you’re an artist, writer, craftsperson, or wanna-be entrepreneur, you can keep learning and growing even if you lack the time to produce.
Read books about your craft. I recommend Austin Kleon’s Show Your Work and Steal Like an Artist. You can listen to books on audiobook or a podcast on creativity like Todd Henry’s The Accidental Creative. Keep stoking those creative fires with resources that spur you on to keep learning about what you are passionate about.
Keep a Notebook
With all the reading and listening you’ll be doing to stir up creativity you’ll probably have a lot of ideas percolating. Even if you don’t have time right now to make them into a reality, you’ll still want to capture them.
Get a notebook or sketch book to capture your ideas. Write down ideas or sketch designs when you have them. It’s okay to let them sit.
I’ve been writing down ideas for an ecommerce shop for over a year. It’s okay if you can’t make a dream come true right away. Sometimes an idea needs to sit for a while, until you know if it is viable. Don’t feel discouraged if the only creativity you’re currently producing is ideas scribbled into a notebook.
Support Other Creatives
I’m so inspired when I see others succeed in their creative pursuits and businesses. I especially love seeing women who are also mothers thrive in their creative endeavors. I try to support these women and their business whenever I can. I share their work on social media. I feature interviews with them on my blog to introduce them to a different audience.
By being a generous supporter of others I encourage their creativity and cultivate a community of creative friends.
If God has put the creative spark in you, just because you’ve not had time to develop it, don’t give up. Feed your creativity, capture your ideas, and support others while you’re waiting for the right moment to shine.