It happens to us all at some point: we have the best of intentions to do ___, but then ‘life gets in the way.’
But does it really?
Life Gets in the Way
In reality, we let other things take priority. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that; it just means that something else has to take lower priority. For the past month and a half, we at The Spare Room Project have been moving into a new house. We’ve been blessed to not have to move far, to be even closer to great friends, in a great neighborhood, in a house that has almost everything I was looking for. We even have TWO spare rooms right now!
But in the midst of all these blessings, I’ve let my priorities reset themselves. Instead of putting creativity and The Spare Room Project up around the top of my list, I’ve let it slip way down. Below unpacking boxes, cleaning or organizing (which I hate). Even below just vegging out because I don’t want to deal with anything anymore.
This doesn’t just happen. I know that I should be writing. I know that I should be doing some jewelry to exercise my creativity or sewing something with the three Rubbermaid totes of fabric that I still have.
Nope. I have let life get in the way.
So, what do you do?
Take Back the Reins
There are a few things you can do when life gets in the way of your creative pursuits.
Creative pursuits will not always be the most important thing in your life. You need some way to pay the bills, you need to eat, you need to spend time with your loved ones. But if it’s important, it needs to be on that list somewhere.
Once you know what your priorities are, it’s a lot easier to allocate time to them (theoretically). If you only have $10, and you need to put gas in your car, you’re not as likely to spend that $10 on a movie that you don’t need to see, right? Same principle. Say you have a goal to write 500 words. If that takes you an hour, you’ll be more likely to take that hour to write than to watch two episodes of How I Met Your Mother (even though TED AND THE GANG!!).
2) Find small ways to work it back in
Even if it’s just a sketch of that person in the other cubicle picking their nose, work in some creativity! The more creative juices that you get moving, the faster that river of creativity will flow. Listen to a song that gets you pumped up, or even better, create an entire playlist with songs that get you going! Everyday Creativity is a great way to punch back when life gets in the way.
3) Keep it going
As you start finding small ways to work creativity back into your life, you’ll be more motivated to create. Congratulations! You’ve broken the cycle. Now for the hard part: keeping it going.
Methods to keep going are going to be a little bit different for everyone. One person might benefit more from finding a group, online or in person, who participates in the same creative pursuit. Someone else might be better off shutting themselves in their Creative Space, with no phone nearby for anyone to distract them. Figure out what works best for you and use it.
Keep in mind that it might change! You’re not the same person you were ten years ago (or even ten minutes ago!), and that’s good. That also means what worked for you ten years ago may not work now. Don’t be afraid to try something new if you find that your motivation is flagging. It just means you’re growing!
4) Tell life NO! . . .But don’t beat yourself up when you say YES
There will be times life gets in the way. It happens. Your friend reminds you that the new Castle is starting soon, and your motivation to finish that page of writing goes out the window. It’s okay. I get it. (Not like that’s ever happened to me or anything. . .)
When life gets in the way like that, sometimes you have to roll with it. By saying yes to laughing at Nathan Fillion for an hour, you said no to something else. That means you may have to find the extra time tomorrow by saying no to something else that you want to do. Or you’ll have to snatch a few minutes here and there for the rest of the week to catch up. That’s still okay! Don’t make excuses, because there’s nothing to excuse, as long as it doesn’t become the norm. Just remember that sometimes you have to tell life NO if you tell it YES.
Life Gets in the Way if You Let It
The moral of the story is that there will be times ‘life gets in the way,’ but it’s usually only when you LET IT. By keeping track of your current priorities, it will be easier to know what to say yes to and what to say no to. By finding small ways to work creativity in gradually, you can get back on track. Figure out what and where your most creative moments are and it’ll get easier to get in the zone. When life gets in the way, punch back and you can stay in the creative groove!