“How do you protect your creative time?”
The creative universe has a habit of sending me the message I need right when I need it. The subject line of the email regarding the latest blog post on TheWriteLife.com on that fateful day was no different.
“Busted,” I thought to myself.
The article, “How to Discover and Protect Your Most Creative Time,” brought to the foreground a few issues that I had been struggling with internally.
“Don’t fall into believing that making your art is less important than your other needs.”
I suffer from creative guilt. I have a hard time putting my need (obsession) to create into the priority box of my life. Often times, it resides below cleaning the toilets and weeding our strawberry patch. It isn’t until I am caught up on laundry, have reduced the inbox clutter and scrubbed the bathtub that I feel I can dedicate time to jotting down the ideas that flutter through my mind.
However, by the time I have given free rein to my muse . . . both of us are too tired to do much else other than watch true crime stories on Investigation Discovery.
The reason: my spaghetti arms when it comes to framing my creative space.
“Look, spaghetti arms. This is my dance space. This is your dance space. I don’t go into yours, you don’t go into mine. You gotta hold the frame.” -Johnny
In the 80s hit flick “Dirty Dancing,” the lead Johnny (played by Patrick Swayze) is trying to teach Baby (Jennifer Gray) the finer points of ballroom dancing. However, she keeps collapsing her frame.
“Frame” describes a dancer’s body position in terms of how she stands, holds her arms and physically connects with her partner. Without proper framing, the dancers are out of step and alignment.
The key to being free on the dance floor is . . . resistance. It’s a push back that allows you space for the fancy footwork.
Structure allows for flow.
Resistance. Framing. Ahhhhh.
I was not framing my creative space. In fact, where I worked was largely dictated by what space was cleared off of our breakfast bar or dining room table. My mental focus on character development or a dating blog post would be interrupted by my other half’s snack time. Since we both worked from home, I don’t think we were giving each other the time to get wrapped up in flow. To let our minds wander.
I didn’t have a place to call my own. A creative space where I can close off the house and my duties to focus on writing or feeding my muse with interesting articles.
I had noodle arms that allowed distractions into my dance space. I needed to work on my frame.
I converted our spare bedroom that we were going to rent out on AirBnB into my creative area. My personal space. The area where my muse has a free rein — in her dance space.
Oddly, not only do I feel more productive when I am in my space. What surprised me, is that by creating my “creative closet,” I find myself carving out time to be in the space. To create.
By “framing” or creating my own nook in the house, I have the freedom to cut loose. With restrictions, I am able to push my art to a priority.
In order to create more creative time in your day, you have to create the space for it.
What in your life could use a bit of framing and resistance?