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I try to and have set goals of doing something creative everyday but I feel I am not getting anywhere. Time is a big problem. I work 40 hours a week and home stuff nags at me. On my days off, well I am going in circles, with family, priorities, trying to make money, etc. I was thinking of trying college again and taking art classes, maybe that would make me set the time aside. What do you think? Thanks for your time, Kathaleen

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Kathaleen,  I can so relate to your situation.  I was working at a long-time job and trying to fit my creativity into weekends.  I recently retired so I thought I could devote myself to creating art all the time.  I have overcommitted myself this summer to too many craft shows, art fairs and local farmers' markets, so I'm still feeling like I'm a hamster on a wheel--need to produce so I have stock to sell... and need to enter more shows to sell stuff... The juggling of family, home, friends, creativity is an art form in itself.  I've found that my muse doesn't necessarily appear when I have free time.  I underestimated the exhaustion factor of doing full weekend shows.  I can hardly make myself do anything on a Monday after an art fair.  But when I get the creative urge, I can follow it, regardless of the time or day.  Is it possible for you to take a leave of absence from your job to explore your art career?   Rather than force yourself to create on weekends, you might give yourself some time off.  The pressure to be 'on' all the time is very wearing.  Hey--I just noticed that you are from Goodrich, MI.  I am in Fenton.  Maybe we'll run into each other.  I hear the Grand Blanc farmers' market is good (Sundays).  I'm looking at doing the Ann Arbor Artisans Market next year.
I am so happy that you and Pat have replied to me that I feel like crying,  this life gets so difficult, I have had so much pressure. A lady I know from work has been encouraging to go to the Grand Blanc Mkt, which I want to do next year, or the Clarkston one on Saturdays. So far I have been making work sales, to fellow employees, which I feel must stop, I really need to branch out. I have some vacation time coming, I need to take it and hide-out. Thanks:)
I only recently had an "aha" moment about this and I have been doing shows for about 15 years now. Sheesh, You cannot force yourself to be creative. Yes, you can sit yourself down in your studio and command yourself to do something, but I think your work reflects your heart. We all know how wonderful it is when that creative urge hits and the hours fly by and you are happy doing what you do.  My thought is that you have to be flexible enough about your "real" life to permit yourself to obey that urge. Adding more regimens to your life isn't going to give you what you need..creative time. I don't force it any more. I make myself do grunt work, like cutting mats and making the inexpensive "widgets" that pad the bottom line. I go up to the studio every day. Sometimes I just organize. If I feel that little flutter of desire to create, then I do. But the reality is that as long as you have a full time job, this is a tough road. I gambled and took a very early retirement so I would have time for this. It means my pension isn't even enough to buy food, but I am happy. The cooperation of your family is really important. If my kids hadn't been willing to hang around behind the canopy for 12 hours a day and if my husband wasn't the best roadie in town, I'd be back to work for the government.  And a cleaning person is a relatively minor expense that will pay for itself many times over. Good luck and cut yourself some slack. :)
Thanks Pat, I am brutal with myself, its always;  I should do this and that, and drive myself crazy, so i probably have spent most of my energy beating myself up. I really need to get past this. I do think now that you have said this, that I need to organize myself and projects, so I don't stumble, interupt my creative flow. My family is very helpful and they like to go to shows but they are also very needy. I will have to tell them to please take care of their needs themselves.They are spoiled to a point, Thanks again:)

Hi Kathaleen,

When my kids were young, taking classes at the local community college was a great way to keep me creating and away from all the distractions of the job and the household.  It was also beneficial to my husband because it forced him to stop and take time with the kids and figure out how to get along without me for a few hours a week.  I learned that they all really were capable, and nothing bad was going to happen if I wasn't the one feeding them, reading the kids stories or tucking them in a couple of nights a week.  They're grown and have families of their own now. The memories are of their mom the artist; happy and painting, not whether the bathroom was clean and the laundry always done. 

Now, I treat my studio time as a part time job that I love.  I take it very seriously and consequently so do others.  I'm in my studio 4-5 hours, 4-5 days per week and am more or less unavailable to anyone during that time.  I can be and am flexable, but if I don't take this time seriously, why would anyone else?  You may not be able to set aside 20 hours per week, but perhaps to set aside an hour or two a few days a week, on a regular basis would work for you.  Hang a "do not disturb" sign on the door of your studio and have at it.  No guilt because you love it either... You may just be setting an example to your family that it is as important for you to meet your needs as it is for you to meet their needs. Give your family an opportunity to step up and pitch in. Look hard at your list of priorities and see if there aren't some that can be moved down on the list.  Throw something in the crockpot in the morning and forget it until dinnertime.  Resist the urge to take the toilet brush out of your husband's hand and instead pat him on the back for pitching in.  (If you were in my house this morning, that would be funny) Sheets that have been in the dryer overnight are still clean and you won't see the wrinkles once the quilt goes on. Tell your kids they can look at the dust on the furniture but please don't write in it.... (That fridge magnet is proudly displayed on my fridge.  That, and the one that says, "Red meat isn't bad for you, fuzzy green meat is bad for you.)  ...I digress.  Good luck to you Kathaleen and I hope you can find some peace and balance. 


Wow, Sam.  Really?  Those are your thoughts?  What makes you think a lot of us are "just unhappy"?  Kathaleen is looking for a little balance in raising a family, working a 40 hour week and finding time to be creative.  What better place than here to get a little inspiration?  Geez, "just give up".  Maybe that would be your solution and if it is, I guess we won't be seeing you at any art fairs.  The women that have responded here sound a lot tougher than "Just give up." 
Love your sarcasm Sam. Some women, not all but me certainly, and others I suspect, have this need to be all things to all people especially when our children are young.  What I overlooked so many years ago, is that I was surrounded by bright and capable people who just needed an opportunity to step up and pitch in.  When that happens, everyone has more time to pursue their interests.  How much time is anybody's guess.  How busy someone wants to be in the business of selling art is up to the individual and the family's circumstances.  Lots of people doing the fairs are doing it as a part time thing until the kids get older or they retire.  In the meantime, a few hours a week and an occasional fair is do-able.  It doesn't need to be black and white. My goodness, the way you make it sound, who would want that? 
Thank you so much, you have all hit the nail on the head, even Sam, I have given up for spans of time, only I cant shut my brain off, I wake up with drawings in my head. Sincerely, Kathaleen

Kathleen, your post takes me back to when my 4 boys were all little and home.  People years later told me how frazzled I was.  I had no idea I was coming off like that to people.  I was a stay at home mom and I wasn't even trying to do creative art work at home.  Life was just overwhelming.  The kids were bathed and fed but my house was a disaster.  All I was doing was trying to keep my head above water.  I don't mean to discourage you but adding more things to your life may just add more stress.  You may have to think of ways to lighten your load.  Maybe think about hiring a cleaning lady who comes about once a week.  And don't clean before she comes!  Let her do it.  I don't know if you have kids or not but if you do, they may have to help with some of the work load at home.  Chores will let them do their part for the family. 

Even in all that craziness, it is always theraputic to do a little something creative for yourself.   Therapy helps a person get through all that craziness.  I don't know what you will end up doing but as time passes and the kids get older you will have more time to yourelf.  My kids are all gone now.  None of them live here in our town.  Most of the craziness is gone.  But, I still always feel like I have too much to do.  That is the story of life.  Good luck.

Jacki B

I am very happy. I struggled through some tough years juggling family, art, home and a job with the goal to support myself with my art. Now, I can decide to start my day at the beach if I need to. This life is not easy but it is a whole lot better than punching a clock at a locked down government building. I think a lot of woman are pretty adept at juggling and I think it is very telling that this conversation was started by an artist who was not whining about how tough her life is, but asking about what MORE she can do to improve it. Some can use her question as a reason for sarcasm but I think the support from fellow artists who struggle with the same challenges is inspiring.
Thank you Pat, I don't like to whine, I like solutions, life is too short, time is precious and I don't like to waste time either. I guess I see this as a job, I want this as a job and I want to make the right decision and I figured that what better place to ask this question was here, where people know, they have lived it, they do it everyday, they are survivors, they see the job and they do the job.

IMHO...You can't get relaxed with 40 hours days, you have NO down time or so called "chilling with your creative thoughts", forget it.  If your thinking of going into college again, then learn techniques, after that without the 40 hours....then relax your mind, take in what you have learned and get creative...make it your own.  Create your own style unlike anyone elses. 


Again, this is my way and it has served me well.


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