A great question came into my FB feed via a colleague and friend. She shared she was struggling with finding time to make her art. She was either too tired, or felt like she had no time. Have you ever felt this way? I know I have!
Hi my name is Carrie Brummer and I created Artist Strong to help people like you build your skill and develop your unique artist voice.
I want to share some different strategies with you today to help you make time when and where you can for your art practice.
1. Work small
For one project cut up a bunch of watercolor paper into 4 x 6 inches rectangles. For me, working on loose leaf paper is much freer feeling than working in a sketchbook, but if sketchbooks help you feel less pressure about what you create, choose that instead.
Knowing that each day I’m only adding a little to a piece of paper feels less intimidating and also helps me achieve more quickly. Quick wins when we feel we have no time, or hear our inner critic loudly, can really help.
2. Choose your medium carefully
Sometimes I get the impression we have this idea in our head,
“It will only count as art making today if I get my oil paints [or insert your medium here] out.”
This is a mindset limitation that prevents us from doing what we want to do, which is to make more art!
When I travel I have a small set of watercolors, a set of gouache paints, and my pencil and pens. They are easy to set up, use and clean up, so I’m not wasting the time I have to make art on set up or break down. This is especially important if you don’t have a full time studio space to just leave out your art supplies.
3. Find 15 minutes
We all say we are too busy, but everyone can find 15 minutes in their day. It could be waiting to pick up your kid from school in your car, or first thing in the morning while you eat breakfast.
I heard this advice from Samantha Bennett in an interview I had with her (you can read it below this video → https://www.artiststrong.com/creative-spirit-samantha-bennett/). Ever since finding results with it myself I’ve invited and encouraged people to use this strategy.
What happens is at first we struggle to find the 15 minutes and then, once the 15 become a habit, it’s amazing how much longer we actually spend on our art. And miraculously, we seem to have the time for it, too.
If you are reading this right now and thinking, Carrie, come on, what can I accomplish in 15 minutes? I have an artwork to show you:
I worked on this artwork while I spent a month traveling in France. I worked on little artworks like this one almost everyday. Some days it meant 2-5 minutes of drawing. Other days I squeezed in 30 minutes of art time. And I have this to show for it now.
If I hadn’t committed to those 15, I would have nothing to show you. Especially if I told myself I needed a proper chunk of time to achieve anything because with that travel, I didn’t have it.
Today’s conversation really serves all of the artist archetypes. From the Curious Creator to the Activated Artist everyone is always looking for more time to make art. Do you want to know your artist archetype? Take my free quiz below to uncover your archetype and get access to a bootload of free resources tailored just to you.
Now it’s your turn: do you have a favorite strategy for finding more time for yourself? Comment and tell me all about it!
Thanks for watching and I’ll see you next time on Artist Strong.
NOTE: this quiz is currently unavailable.
How do we find time for our artwork? Yes, a good question. The short answer is “will-power.” Let’s also ask these questions, “how do I become a better musician or athlete?” Practice! You simply must find the time – somehow, some way, no matter what. You have to adjust your busy schedule to include some of your precious moments to work on your art or you will fall short. Is it hard? You bet. Is it worth it? You bet.
You’ve got to alter your mindset and the truth is that it won’t be easy. Forego your favorite tv show or something, maybe get up an hour earlier? I’m tired isn’t an excuse if you really want something, you have to bite the bullet and go for it. Like the ad says, “Just do it!” Sorry if it all sounds too trite, hackneyed or cliché, but that’s the long and short of it. There are no easy, simple or magic solutions, push yourself hard.
Kind regards and good luck,
I love you enthusiasm here Bill! Thank you for sharing! A key point you made here is will power may be what we need to start, but will power is a finite resource. Creating habits like switching to art instead of a TV show or working first thing in the morning becomes like brushing your teeth, something you do and don’t have to think about.
Thank you, I’ll try it
Hi Carrie, I know that feeling very well. I do to sometimes feel like I don’t have the time to do my art, or feel too tired. For me, is related to my job. At times it can drain me, drain my energy, my love or my desire to make art. It can last for days and I do nothing at all. This year I want this to change. I don’t have a proper strategy and I know that I’ll have that feeling again but I decided to commit to my art, to challenge myself to make art every day. And if it’s not possible, for whatever reason, I won’t let this put me down. I’m pretty determined on this and I will succeed.
Thanks for sharing this video 🙂
You are welcome Azzu! Try making art during a lunch break or first thing before work for 15 minutes. Honestly, it makes a HUGE difference. So many people who work full time swear by it!
Personally I have time, but I procrastinate sometimes and say I haven’t got time! Why we self sabotage like this is a puzzle but I’m doing it less and less lately and since doing the Soulbrush Sessions etc I’ve become much more disciplined at showing up at my art station! It’s all about priorities really, we all have plenty of other stuff to do, I still work part time and have other interests, but we just have to make art as important at least as anything else we do if we want to progress and get anywhere. I leave out some supplies in a small basket and also have a small sketchbook and pens by my bed which I often use instead of reading before sleeping or during insomnia sessions! I’ve decided to keep an illustrated journal this year too, to keep the juices flowing. So, as Carrie says, even 15 minutes a day is better than nothing (and always leads to something good). When my three kids were young and I worked full time I would get up an hour before them to do something, and instead of tv at night would do something arty, even if it was just a ‘doodle’- !
THIS: “we just have to make art as important at least as anything else we do if we want to progress and get anywhere.”
Thank you for your wisdom and experience Jackie.
At the beginning of this school year I decided I was going to try something radical. My daughter works in a bakery and gets up about 3:15 am. So I decided to get up with her! I discovered something amazing: I can get so much done!! Partly that’s because that’s the time of day, after a night’s sleep, that I have energy. I never have any energy or creativity in the evenings after work. Now my housework, my music practice and my art come FIRST… And the rest of my day goes so much easier. I’m actually enjoying my job more, because I don’t see it as stealing from my art time anymore.
I do have to go to bed very early, but it works fine for my life situation.
Esther that’s amazing. Thank you so much for sharing your creative approach!
Bravo, I applaud your determination to find time for your art. You go girl!
It seems to me the early morning hours are best to get the creative juices flowing, no matter what the medium might be. The calm, peace and quiet lends itself well to addressing the work at hand. Add a nice cup of strong, hot coffee or tea and a bit of soft classical music to your project and it’s nothing short of heaven on earth, ha!
Your resolve will pay off big-time dear lady, just wait and see. If there are any “nay-sayers” among us, please remember this, you have to give to get.
Wishing you all the very best!