Creativity has been such a part of me for so long, I never really thought about it being hard work. It was just there. It was something I did because I had to. It was part of my very being.
So this last year, when it left and I was stressed and out of sorts, I didn’t think it would be so hard to get it back. I started in July, trying to write and failing. I picked up other creative outlets. I started hand lettering. Painting. All things I’d wanted to do before but I was a full-time writer and didn’t have time for those Other Creative Things.
I swung back around to writing when I nuked my old website and had to completely start it over. I wanted to blog, but I didn’t want to just talk about writing, especially since I really wasn’t writing much. I launched this blog in August. I promised myself I wouldn’t pigeon-hole myself in topics, and I think I’ve managed to keep that promise.
Why am I saying all this right now?
Because I want people to know that even though being creative is a part of you that you can’t quit…. It’s not easy. It’s fun, and it keeps me from stressing, but it’s not easy. I still have to put forth the effort to do the creative things, like drawing, or hand lettering, or writing. It takes mind power. I think when it’s fun and we enjoy it, it takes the “slog” out of the long hours of sitting in a chair typing.
When I wrote full-time, I would put in 8-10 hour days just writing. I obviously can’t do that now with a full-time job, and I think that was where I was going wrong. I still wanted to put in those 8-10 hour days writing.
Time management has become my new best friend. A girl’s gotta sleep, particularly when she works an overnight job. My primary writing time is when I get off work in the morning now. I stop by Starbucks and I get a coffee, and I write for 2 hours. Then I go home, say hi to my family, and pass the hell out.
I guess I’m saying all this in a long-winded way to say that it’s okay to not spend all day and night on your books. Being creative is hard work. Many times, it takes hours and hours to perfect that sweater you’re knitting or practice the hand lettering that’s giving you fits currently, or to rewrite that scene that just isn’t quite right yet.
It may not seem as strenuous as my day job that has me on my feet for 10 hours at a time, constantly moving, but it is in a different way.
So the next time someone is giving you a hard time about spending the time doing what you love, well, don’t worry so much about it. And be happy that you can do something that you enjoy. A job doesn’t have to be something you hate, but no one ever said that you couldn’t enjoy it either.