The Creative Life: How Much Do You Really Want It?

image: Timothy K Hamilton

Do you spend as much time creating as you’d like to? Or does it get pushed way down your “to do” list like a neglected, unwanted child, and if it’s lucky, might get an hour of your time here and there when everything else is done?

The usual reason we’ll give for not spending more time creating is that, well, we don’t have time.

But it’s not really about time. It’s about priorities.

Everyone has the same 24 hours a day available to them to fill with what they feel is most valuable, most important. If you’re devoting very little, or none, of your 24 hours a day to creating, then maybe you don’t want it enough?

Besides, creativity isn’t THAT important really is it? You could give it up completely tomorrow if you wanted to, right?

Let’s go with this scenario for a moment.

What if you DID stop all creating tomorrow. What would your life be like? Would it be happier, more fulfilled, more stimulating, more rewarding than it is now? It’s unlikely.

We often overlook how vital a role creating plays in our lives, our personalities, our way of thinking and doing and being.

The renowned science fiction writer Isaac Asimov declared: “I write for the same reason I breathe – because if I didn’t, I would die.”

And if you look closely at your life, I believe the same would be true for you.

You wouldn’t actually physically die of course.

But without creating, without allowing your mind to dream, to unravel, to explore, to express all that’s burning within you, and without being able to outpour that in whichever forms of artistic expression you love, you might as well be amongst the walking dead.

Look at the other end of the scale. When you have been creating, when you’ve happily been completely lost in the flow of writing or painting or singing or dancing, how did you feel?

Wasn’t it like nothing else you’ve experienced? Doesn’t creating fulfill and inspire and nourish and make you happy in a way nothing else can?

And when you have this good feeling, do you keep it all to yourself? Of course not, it can’t be contained!

When you feel better, everyone around you notices it too, it’s infectious.

Oh but spending time creating is selfish you might say. How can it be selfish when regularly creating each day transforms your general good feeling and outlook and this positively affects the lives of all you come in contact with?

So let’s look at the facts about creating and the part it plays in your life.

– You can’t live without it.

– You can’t stop even if you wanted to.

– Creating brings something into your life that nothing else can, something amazing, something indispensable and irreplaceable.

– When you create you feel so much better and that good feeling spreads to others around you.

– When people see how you create, and what you create, they are inspired to create too, and the same energy flows through them and everyone close to them in their lives.

– Creating for fifteen minutes a day can soon form incredibly powerful long term and wide reaching creative habits.

– In each 24 hour day, there are 96 blocks of 15 minutes. Devoting one of them to creating is a little over 1% of your time. Big commitment huh?

This kind of life – this creative life – is something you’re not prepared to commit to, it’s not something you really want, it’s not something you have time for? Are you sure?

Think again. Then take action, make that first step. Create.

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7 thoughts on “The Creative Life: How Much Do You Really Want It?”

  1. I thought I didn’t have time for a lot of things until I got ride of my television! It really is about priorities, but it’s hard to admit that we don’t *make* time for something. Saying we don’t *have* time sounds less like it’s our fault. But it is! I love that Asimov quote – didn’t realize he said that – thought I made it up myself. 🙂 It’s surely why I write.

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  2. Exactly, it’s avoiding responsibility, or denying that we have a conscious choice when we say we dont “have” enough time.

    Thought I was the originator of that quote too! 🙂

    Thanks Kristin.

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  3. This article made me think hard about why I wasn’t devoting as much time as I wanted to creating, which in my case is drawing. Oh, to silence those demons! The silent “you don’t deserve it” demon and the very vocal ones exclaiming “Wish I had the time to do that. MUST be NICE!”

    I try to imagine a giant “mute” button in my brain to silence the negativity and give myself permission to do the things I really want.

    Picture the most toxic, negative person in your life and press that mute button. Kinda funny picturing them spewing their negativity, mouths flapping without uttering sound!

    I do have a question though, what do you do if an emergency situation comes up? For instance, in my case, I have an elderly mother who often has issues that need tending to. I’m trying a new tactic… When it takes me away from creative time, I credit myself with extra creative time the next day to make up for it. Seeing if that works…

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  4. I encourage my coaching clients and my readers to look at 2 typical days of the week – a typical weekday and a typical weekend day – and account for all 24 hours (including sleep time). When your day is on paper and you can see where you are spending your time, it is easy to find chunks of time that go to vices instead of “me” time or creative time.

    I think making any kind of change, even if it’s for the better, is scary. There is that unsettling period when a change is first initiated that remains until a new routine is thought pattern is put in place. But the good thing is, once that new routine or thought pattern is cemented, it becomes our reality. Being creative can really mean, as you suggest, 15 minutes a day that you may have otherwise spent creeping people on facebook 🙂

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    1. Taslim, thanks for reading, and your comments.

      I’ve done similar exercises myself, and it’s surprising when there are large chunks of time you can’t really account for, then you realise it was spent just surfing blogs and social media sites pretty aimlessly. A good idea to try every now and again, to keep us focused on what we want to spend our time on, and what we actually are spending our time on.

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