the creative habit - do you have one?

the other week i wrote about my search for finding a bit of balance in my daily routine and also about my struggle with the need to be creative and the ability to find time for that everyday so i stay sane.  while writing those posts i've been reading a bit online looking for other sources that people have found that helped them to find a way to put their artistic souls to use daily. i read more than one post recommending the book "the creative habit" by twyla tharp.  i reserved a copy from my local library and finally got my hands on it.  to say i've been enjoying it thus far has been an understatement.  i want to photocopy parts of it and hang them on my walls to keep me on

as a creative and artistic person who struggles daily to find the right time/place for me to flex those muscles this book really hits home for me.  it helps to give me the confidence in the fact that i NEED those few hours each day to let myself be shannon and to focus solely on being creative in whatever way i need to that day.  whether it's writing, sewing, knitting, designing, name it i need to get a bit of it out of me each day.  if i don't i become a very unhappy and let's just say...frustrated momma.  it all jumbles up my mind and makes me feel somewhat i know that sounds a bit off the rockers but that's what it honestly feels like to me.  

the creative habit by twyla tharp
i'll think about it all day...that idea that i had...when can i sketch it out, when can i sew it, when can i photograph it, what it will look like, be styled like, who will wear it or use it..and so on.  it keeps me up at night if i don't let some of it out each day.  it's like those science experiment volcano's...if you just keep filling me up with ideas i will fizzle  the book has cemented to me that it is ok to have a creative routine and it's encouraged.  it's ok to find me time to do this in a part of a day that is not, when my mind is fresh, alert and raring to go instead of a shell of itself that's all confused and jumbled.  in fact it just creates more ideas and i love the adrenaline of that.

when i get rundown and tired and it's 10:00 at night and i've just sat down to finally be creative it's not always a positive outcome.  it's only a small portion of what i could be creating if i actually allowed myself  "guilt free" time during the waking hours to be artistic.  the kids can still be with me, they can participate, they don't have to be babysat by the tv - in fact they sometimes feed off of my creative energy.  i hope that it allows them to bring that into their own lives.  that somewhere down the line they will choose to sew, knit, draw, color, paint, take a photo etc..and incorporate those creative skills into their everyday lives.

the reason why i'm redesigning my sewing
heck i used it when i was hairdresser and i used it when i was an administrative assistant for years.  i was a master at color coding, prettying up files and could make a darn nice looking spreadsheet and presentation.  i used my creativity to solve problems, work more efficiently and think outside of the box when others couldn't in a non-creative environment.  any chance i got to be creative i took it.  i couldn't help myself and not once did i feel guilty.  in fact, i felt empowered by my skill set. so why now, as a mother, when we need to be our most creative, do i feel guilty about it?  is it because i am my own boss?  that i think i should be doing boring chores instead?  why is it so hard for some of us to find the balance?  why can't i let go of all the preconceived notions that i should be this perfect  homemaker?  why does a stay at home mom have to have a stigma attached to it that our homes must be perfect and we basically exist like stepford wives to cater to every ones needs but our own?  i could go on but i think you get the point. 

sometimes (more often than nought) i choose to sketch or sew over washing the dishes, i'll choose to play with the kids over laundry, i'll knit over dusting - does that make me a bad stay at home mom? no, but sometimes society makes you feel that way.  i've made a conscious decision that i have to let a few things "not be perfect". i'm not a good housekeeper.  my home is not dirty or unsafe, it's still relatively tidy but i have in the last few weeks learned a new skill of pushing my time blocking even further.  instead of just time blocking my creative time for me and the kids, i now time block my dinner making and chore doing time.  so far it's going pretty well.  we use our microwave timer.  i've now figured out which time of day works the best for me to be creative that the kids are happy to play independently or with each other and what times works best for me to feel fulfilled to happily..ok somewhat some chores done and cook dinner.  you all know i don't enjoy cooking or cleaning so having these now be an existent part of each day's schedule has helped me find it not so stressful.

the sketchbooks and notebooks always by my side.
i now know that from 4 - 5:30 it is strictly clean up and cooking time.  the kids help and they hear the timer go off.   the same with my creative time.  some days it could be from 1-2 or 2-3 it all depends on how the kids are doing, what moods we are all in and how much i feel like making that day.  i ask them how they will feel if mommy does this and would they like to join in or do a different task and then we set the timer. when the timer is done i am all theirs to play with and then we set the timer again to let us know when it's time to clean up. 

as a dreamer and someone who gets "lost" in my thoughts and creative happy place at times this has really helped  me to stay on track.  we're aren't perfect at it and it's not successful everyday - i am human, but i am trying to find something that works for my little family and my hubbies busy schedule that still allows me to be someone outside of just a mommy and a wife.  i still want to be me.  i still have dreams and goals aside from loving them with all my heart.  i think it makes me a happier momma and a happier wife.  i hope that it teaches them to work hard for their dreams and to do what makes their soul happy because i know that when i'm not being creative my soul is not fulfilled and i'm not myself.  instead i'm just a shell of who i am and boy does that creative energy torture me at night.  i know you all know that tingling feeling you get in your hands..that need to create and make.  it's amazing but it's also haunting when you aren't able to use it to it's fullest.  i guess it really is like training - you need to flex it, strengthen it, make it grow and feed it and nurture it and once you've done that you don't want to starve it or let it shrink - it hurts your body, your mind and your soul if you do.

that's why we're working on my sewing space as well in my little condo. my space to create in is limited and also a friggin'  i spent a lot of time about a year and a half ago designing my "sewing wall".  to say i have outgrown it is an understatement. i need to do some serious revamping of my poor sewing wall. i've got big plans in progress and i'm saving up every little penny i can to make it happen.  the more organized and cleaner my creative space is the faster and more efficient i am when i do get precious time to work in it.  right now it's not working for me.  it's cluttered and stressful and just a gong  the pics above with all the fabric are of my ironing board monster.  he's overflowing and  but for now, it's all i've got but it is going to get better.  soon...soon, i hope to have it be more functional and a happier space for me, my husband and my kids to all use in our tiny home.

in the meantime i've got a sick wee one here with what we are hoping is not the croup.  she gets it every year since she was a baby at this time of year so we're crossing our fingers it's just a normal cough. poor thing.  so i'm off to take care of her today and hoping that my baby girl doesn't it get it as well.

what are your thoughts?  what do you do to encourage a creative habit in your home?  when do you set aside "me" time for yourself? how do you fit it into your daily schedule?  i'd love to chat about this with you guys, i find it so interesting to hear so many different points of view and how differently we all work and create.  coffee's on...<3