How To Find Time To Be Creative

I never used to consider myself a creative person.  I am more facts/logic oriented naturally, and I didn't think I had many creative talents.  However, after I started this blog so many years ago I realized that I do have a creative side, and it's fun to bring it out!  The trick is (1) finding the right outlet, and (2) finding the time.

Finding the time can be especially tricky in certain seasons of life - like now, when I have so many little ones running around.  Different seasons bring with them their own creative challenges to overcome, but I think it is healthy and right to still try to find time to use the gifts and talents that God has given us.  It can be beneficial to our own mental health, and we can and should use our creative gifts to bring glory to the Lord.

In busy seasons of life it takes a bit more effort to find time to be creative, and it always takes intentionality and (ironically) creativity to not just use our creative time in a selfish way, but to make it a blessing to those around us.  That is another post in itself, but today I want to talk about finding time to work in some creativity in the midst of busy seasons.   There are a few things that I try to do to make sure I have the motivation to use my windows of creative opportunity wisely.

Cut down on social media.

 I have had those days when I wake up with a million creative ideas running through my head . . . and then I check social media (especially Instagram), and none of my creativity seems good enough anymore.  I start to wonder why I should even try, and it takes me a while to clear out all my negative thoughts and get in the right mood to tackle my creative projects. Comparison is a struggle that everyone has to figure out how to overcome, but an easy first step is to cut down my exposure to things I can compare myself to, at least until I get a moment to get my own creativity out first.

Turn off the TV.  

I love my shows as much as the next girl, but I do notice that when I have the TV on for an extended period during the day, I tend to be less creative.  It does not require a lot of brain power to watch TV, and then when I do turn it off I have a hard time getting my thoughts and motivation together to do something creative.  Less TV means less time consuming someone else's creativity, and more time cultivating my own.

Keep A Notebook On Hand.  

Classic advice, but everyone recommends carrying a notebook for a reason.  You never know when inspiration might strike, but it almost never seems to strike me when I have time to bring it to fruition.  When I write my ideas down, it is easier to conjure up that inspiration when I actually have a few minutes to do something with it.

Force Yourself To Be Creative.

Forcing yourself to do something creative seems counter-intuitive, but it is true that the more creative you try to be, the more creative you become.  When I first started blogging, posts were few and far between because I had a hard time figuring out what to write about - but the more I wrote, the more ideas I had, and soon it was second-nature.  Now I don't waste my creativity time (aka: nap time) trying to come up with ideas, because I usually have a running list (see the notebook suggestion).  This is true for writing blog posts, and it is also true for any creative outlet.  The more creative you force yourself to be, the easier creativity comes, and the less time it takes to get into your creative mindset.  Force yourself to use part of your downtime for creativity, and it will become easier to squeeze creativity into shorter chunks of time.

If You Don't Think You Are Creative Enough, Find A Book.

Any book that addresses your area of interest will do, but one with creative prompts is even better.  Don't be afraid to look outside of your creative interest for inspiration too!

If you want a creative prompt book to get you started, Q&A a Day for Creatives is a fun one!

If you haven't heard of the Q&A a Day books, they are formatted as a multi-year journal.  You find the date, do the prompt, work through the year, and then start over again the next year.  By the time you are actually finished with the book, you have years of history to look back on.  Derek and I have a fun one for couples, and when I saw this one for creatives, I had to give it a try!

This book seems to be geared more toward those who are good at drawing, but I don't think it is limited to that.  I think creative writers could take these prompts and describe a little scene with them, letters could use a quote or word inspired by the prompt and doodle it into the space, those who enjoy watercolors could do mini-paintings in the spaces...I think it allows a good opportunity to be creative with how you use the book!

I have only been using it for about a week, but I like the idea of using each space however I see fit for that day.  I am probably more naturally inclined toward writing prompts, but I like to dabble in watercolors, and this will also give me inspiration to improve my doodling skills (there is much room for improvement).  I think this is also a great book to use when I am having a dry creative spell, because the prompts are designed to get you thinking creatively.

This book is great for developing a habit of creativity in a relatively short amount of time - it has probably taken me five minutes each day to do each prompt, but it is a fun project, and I'm looking forward to continuing it!

This season of having young children at home definitely limits my free time, but I have been pleasantly surprised that I still can squeeze in a little creative time every day if I am intentional about it!  Every season has it's challenges, but if we plan a little and limit unnecessary distractions, we can find opportunities to utilize that God-given creativity.

Have you ever been through a season where it was harder to be creative?  How do you find time to infuse a little creativity into your day to day?

Note: I received a copy of Q&A A Day For Creatives for free from the publisher in exchange for a review.  This is my honest opinion.

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Jamie Grady said...

Great post- I also have find it hard at times to be creative... I recently re-started by blog as a creative outlet. I also have been trying out more DIY projects, and working on my baking skills :)

Alaina Archer said...

Typically, my creativity is in quilting, but since I switched to working full-time I haven't done much of it. Mostly, this is due to the fact that it takes quite awhile to get into it and remember what I was doing. Just recently, I purchased a few adult coloring books. That is a great way for me to be creative for small snippets of time while also feeling rejuvenated. I highly recommend it!

Callie Nicole said...

I feel like having a blog helps keep my creative juices flowing in other areas too - like DIY and recipes! Because then I can take pictures for my blog, you know. ;-)

Callie Nicole said...

I love adult coloring books! I got a couple, and it is so relaxing.

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