making time for creativity

by | Aug 5, 2021 | Art, Artistic Endeavors, Creative Play | 17 comments

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One of the questions I’m asked most of is about my time.  How do you fit it all in?  Do you sleep?  I was actually asked that twice in the last three days.  It comes up a lot, so I thought I would share some thoughts on time and how I spend mine.

First of all, if it looks like I fit it all in, like I get everything done that I want to get done, and like I always have it together, I can assure you that I don’t.  As with anyone else, I have things that slip through the cracks, things that fall into the black hole of procrastination, good intentions that are forgotten, and things that languish on my to-do list.  There are times I feel frustrated with the limitation of time.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said to Jeff that I wish I could just press the pause button on the things that need to be done, so I can have unhurried time focusing on the things I want to do.  But, there is no magic pause button on life, as we all well know.

art studio | vintage toledo drafting stool | miss mustard seed

So, we have to learn to make time for the things that are important to us.  For me, having creative time is a crucial part of self-care.  It’s heart work, soul work, and essential work for me.  But, I have to fit that time in around all of the other demands of family and work.  I think so many people, especially women (that’s just my opinion), have a hard time calling creative work essential.  And creative work doesn’t just mean art.  It can be music, photography, research, drawing, painting, sculpting, sewing, knitting, dancing, gardening, baking, writing, designing, coding, foraging, hiking…  It can be whatever lights you up and fills your tank.  It gets ideas flowing, keeps your horizons expanding, and makes you a better you.

art studio | sketchbook | study of louvre painting | miss mustard seed

If this blog post is anything, it’s the encouragement to make time in your life for creative work if you don’t already.  It’s a permission slip to take some field trips, take some classes, or take some time that might feel selfish with everything else that’s on your plate.

I have a lot on my plate personally and professionally, but I have to make sure I allow myself time to do creative work that isn’t about profit, it isn’t meeting a deadline, and it’s not for a client.  It’s just for my own enjoyment, enrichment, and growth. And often, something more comes out of that time whether it’s new ideas or just momentum to carry me into my next big work project.

color study on linen in oil paint | vasari bice | miss mustard seed

If you’re struggling to make time for your own passion projects and creative works, I’d like to offer up a few suggestions…

make it a priority

That doesn’t mean you neglect things that need to be done, but maybe it’s okay if you let the cleaning slip one weekend or you order takeout so you have a little more time to work on something.  Maybe it’s setting time limits so you don’t spend too much time on your phone.  Maybe it means giving up some time in front of the TV or getting up just a little bit earlier or staying up a little later.  Sometimes I get lost in my studio after everyone else is in bed and it’s glorious.

art studio | yarn storage | organization | miss mustard seed

make a space for it

You can read a lot more about this in the free chapter of Feels Like Home, but it’s important to have a space for your creative work.  It’s great if it can be in a room with a door that can be closed, but it might just be a little corner of a room, a work surface, a closet.  It can be small and simple, but when you have an inviting creative space, it draws you in, making it easier to steal away 10-15 minutes to spend on your creative work.

art studio | ironstone bowls | knitting needle storage | seashells | miss mustard seed

just do something

There are times when the house is quiet and it’s the perfect time for me to create.  I’ll walk into my studio, a head full of plans, and then I find myself standing there for several minutes, uncertain of what to do.  Do I want to paint?  Draw?  Read?  What medium do I want to use?  What artist do I want to study?  There are too many options and I am paralyzed by the buffet of choices.  In that case, I just start doing something.  Most of the time I start tidying up.  My studio is rarely a disaster, but I can end up with supplies, papers, notebooks, and books sitting out.  If I start tidying, I inevitably end up doing something.  Last weekend, I was cleaning my studio and ended up binding two books that evening!

book binding | arches oil paper | oil sketchbook | miss mustard seed

take your creative work seriously

This doesn’t mean it has to be a business or a business that grows to be an empire.  This just means you don’t shrug it off and belittle your own endeavors.  You embrace where you are in the journey whether you’re just starting out or you’re an expert.  You invest in learning and growing, whether it’s in books, classes, or simply practice.  And you can do it all without any specific end goal.  You’re just doing it for your heart and the joy is found in the middle of the process, not the arrival.

art studio shelf | yarn storage | art book library | miss mustard seed

I hope these are just the words you needed to hear today.

I hope you don’t look at people who do creative work for a living and think your work is somehow unimportant in comparison.  We were all made in the image of our Creator and made to find joy in creating.

What is it that you want to make time for?

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  1. Lisa

    Wonderful words, thank you. As someone who is just learning to paint it’s nice to hear that it’s ok not to think of it as just an indulgent hobby.

  2. Donna

    Hi, Just in case you need a bit more inspiration, there is a gallery in Red Wing called the Red Wing Depot Gallery. I think this would be about a 40 minute drive for you. The exhibit there until August 18 is a variety of local artists specializing in plein air art. There is plenty of local inspiration, bluffs, rivers, barns, etc. It is a small gallery but many artists from Mn and neighboring states gather for the June outdoor painting. I am not an artist but I found inspiration there. There is also an excellent bakery in town, the best bran muffins, in my opinion. ( The Anderson Center just N. of Red Wing has studios where artists come for a couple months.)

  3. Bookbabe49

    In the South we have a lot of what are called “outsider” or untrained artists. They create because they HAVE NO CHOICE. Their urge to create is like eating or drinking or breathing. I think it is the way we are closest to the spirit of the universe, when we allow ourselves to channel that creative, generative energy. The less we judge or compare gives our products a chance to grow and develop in an unguarded, organic way. And when we strangle those gifts because they are somehow “not good enough”, it is an affront to the creative spirit.

    • Linda

      I love this! Thank you for your words. They inspire me.

  4. Vanessa Prohaska

    I read somewhere on Instagram that if God gave you a talent or a skill; you must use it, as it’s a gift from God.
    You are right. I have lived my entire life thinking that my artistic talents and skills are just nothing to take seriously, because I have a house to clean, a husband to tend , college son that visits and wants my cooking only and pets to clean after. You know what I have? A heavy heart that’s full of guilt for wanting to create that’s torn in the world of what society expects me to do and sadness for wasting my talents.

    • mary m

      Why not start now doing something that you love?! I so look forward to my time in my sewing room or how about just day dreaming about a project ?

  5. Tanya Esposito

    And you have inspired me to purchase yet another book ; )

  6. Fenne

    At the end if the day, I always feel best when I’ve created something, however small it may be. My creative time is very much a priority.

  7. Cindy

    Great words! I needed that. The guilt of unfinished work is always there so I never feel free to create and “waste time”. I feel like I should be doing something else, so it isn’t relaxing. I miss those days of creating. (Although I manage to waste time in so many other ways.) Thank you! Hugs!?

  8. MaryLisa

    I’ve done the same thing while cleaning up my sewing or crafting areas. Just looking through what I have gives me inspiration for a project.

  9. Christie

    So very true! For me I have too many areas that I enjoy and try to steal time for… cutting and drying homegrown herbs, weeding/trimming my lavender/hydrangea garden, watercolor painting, reading, and even things like getting my class lecture materials ready as I always change them every semester (college teacher), which involves a lot of reading and exploring latest industry changes and polling students in their likes/dislikes/wishes and researching the things they want more of (yes it’s work, but feels so indulgent as it’s not truly “required”).

    I’ve come to the same conclusion as you, and sometimes will dedicate a week’s vacation to just doing what I want lol (easier in covid as I’m not traveling, but something I hope to hold on to later). Sometimes I will start my work day a little later and do these things for an hour in the morning, or take a long lunch break etc. My hours are very flexible as I teach most evenings, but it’s nice to pepper in some dedicated time 1-2 days a week. Even getting an hour twice a week in makes me feel so refreshed.

  10. Tracy

    Thank you dear one, I needed this.

  11. Kristine

    That is the best description of ‘self-care’ I have ever heard of. Sure, bubble baths with candles are all well and good. But self-care goes deeper into the soul, as you describe. It’s honoring the push you feel to express your inner spirit, and share with the world your own special gifts, talents and strengths. Thank you for this!

  12. Sandy

    Thank you so much for this post. You’re right! We are made in the image of the Greatest Creator so why would I ever think that creativity is not important. Bless you little lady.

  13. Tracy Neether

    Wise words indeed! Can I ask what the book is under your bice study? That looks interesting 🙂
    I took your class on Jeanne Oliver’s site and loved it. You are such an inspiration for creative practice.
    Thank you Marian

  14. Laura L Walker

    It is so important that we take the time to do something just for ourselves. I started to needlepoint again when the pandemic started. I find it very soothing. Hugs, Laura


  1. Saturday Seven 193 | Inspiration & Lifestyle for Quilters | A Quilting Life - […] enjoyed these thoughts from Miss Mustard Seed on “Making Time for Creativity.” All of her ideas definitely apply to…


Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…

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