Probably the most common question I get from the writers and creators I work with is:
“It’s hard sometimes to give my creative work a feeling of importance. It’s easier to do the things I’ve been asked to do by others or I’m getting paid to do. I’ve been working on this for years!”
Here’s what I suggest:
- Know that this is not a time management issue, but a “what I want matters” issue. It’s not that you are missing some clever trick; it’s more about getting into the habit of bringing yourself home to yourself and your desires.
- Our brains like specific things we can tick off. Our brains like people needing us. And, our culture rewards being a human giver. So you struggle to make time for your own stuff – oh well! It is a worthwhile struggle.
- Try asking yourself, “What is most important to me?”. Settle down and truly listen for what comes up. Ask as often as you need to get clear and remember.
- Declare a teeny tiny container of time (5-minutes, 20, 30 — something small enough that it will happen no matter what) for one project. Then decide where you will start. “Write about the garden gnome incident starting with when I saw it from the kitchen window for 15 minutes” or “Do a charcoal sketch of the aloe vera plant for 20.” A time limit + a place to start subverts procrastination.
- Make a habit of quickly writing down all the things that tug at you (“call Joanna,” “check that flowers were delivered”) and then promptly get back to your most important work.
- Ask, “How does putting everyone and everything else first makes me feel safe? And, “Is there another way I could help myself feel safe?” Experiment.
Repeat after me: what you want to create matters. Simply because you want it.
And I made a funny Instagram reel about this if you are into Instagram.