Open thread-Finding balance between life and art

The Juggler by Teresa Dresden
The Juggler by Teresa Dresden

Today I was having a conversation with artist Cynthia Fedor (@cynthiaisgr8) and writer Lon S Cohen (@obilon) on Twitter  about how artists can balance a 9-to-5 career with their creative needs. You needn’t have a second job to feel unbalanced. Juggling your family and social obligations, as well as the very real work behind marketing and selling your own art, often leaves precious little time for actual creation.

We came up with a few basics I think you’ll find helpful for any artistic pursuit:

  • Make art a priority.  Make a daily (or weekly) date with your art. Physically write it down on your actual calendar (or iCal of Google Calendar) and treat it just like you would a dentist’s appointment, i.e.  Don’t. Skip. It.
  • Make creation a routine you can’t live without.  Keeping on a dental theme, make creating art as much a part of your daily routine as brushing your teeth.  Even if it’s only 1 hour a day in the mornings before the kids wake up. Those hours add up!
  • Find a way to transition from task-oriented to creativity mode to make the most of your allotted time.  For me, it’s putting on Sigur Ros, music that cues my brain that it’s time to create. Writer Lon Cohen likes to walk to help his brain switch gears between creativity and other obligations. Your mental cue to create might be different, but whatever you choose, routines and artistic preparation rituals can make all the difference.
  • Allow yourself to create without excuses…or guilt.  (This is one I have to remind myself of regularly.) When you’re busy with everything else, it’s easy to let your art fall by the wayside. It’s also easy to put off your art because you have other obligations weighing upon you and art feels too much like a guilty pleasure. You’re an artist not because it’s the most lucrative career choice in this economy. You’re likely an artist because it’s part of your DNA.  Let that inner artist out, guilt-free. You’ll thank yourself.

What are we missing? We’d love to hear your strategies for finding balance between the obligations in your life and your art in the comments.

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