Express Yourself: Taking Time for Creativity

We were making small talk while rummaging through this huge bin of papers. There were old photographs, certificates from school, and spirals upon spirals of songs, poetry, and thoughts. My sister, Rachel, was looking through her bin of childhood treasures and was on the hunt for a particular journal that had a particular song.

I thought it was a hopeless case. I pulled out papers that would obviously go in the trash pile while she looked through different notebooks hoping to come across her song. Now, there were lots of notebooks of songs, but not THE song.

I realize this might not be the norm for some kids… but for Rachel her time was spent in drawings, reading, and singing. Mine was spent reading and writing. I wrote poetry, short stories, or just jotted down my thoughts. Basically what would be now blog posts and tweets before that even existed. Back in those days, you just wrote for yourself and for the art of it. I didn’t write thinking anyone else would read it, and would rarely share my writing. I dreamed of writing novels until one day I heard it’s not a reliable profession, so I squashed that dream at 17, and I’m just now rekindling that fire at 30 years old.

Anyways, moving on. We’re digging through this bin, and about 10 minutes in she finds it. We read it, and it’s powerful enough to bring a grown man to tears… Who knew that this song written by this 15 year old girl would be so profound? But then again, of course it could.

So we get done reading it, decide to just toss the rest of the bin since she found her treasured item, and she asks, “Why don’t I write anything like this anymore? I feel like I haven’t written something this good in years.” The answer is quite simple that I almost felt bad about saying it, but it applies to me as well.

“Because we don’t make time for it.” Again, so simple and so true.

“In high school you aren’t worried about the mortgage payment, how your kid is doing in school, the pile of debt that doesn’t seem to be getting any smaller, or if you’re a good wife and mom… You’re just a kid trying to make good grades. You made time to be creative. Sure, it was easier to find the time then, but you can still write just as good now, even better. You just have to make time for it.”

The same advice applies to myself. I can’t expect to ever write a book if I can’t even keep up with a blog. I have to schedule time for it. Whether it’s a few hours one time a week or few minutes every day… Take care of your gift. Practice at your art. Make time for creativity.

Don’t feel guilty for making time to write or dance or or garden or sing or paint or bake (or whatever your gift is!) because you’re not getting paid for it. Keep life enjoyable. Do what makes your heart come alive.

I’m not saying quit your full time job and work on your hobby. But I do think if your hobby is what stirs a fire in your soul, that could eventually be what produces your income. Not just by wishing it to happen, but working at it consistently… little by little, day by day, week by week.

How about it? Will you take some time to be creative today? What does that look like for you?

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