Finding Time for Creativity

Time for creativityThe one thing I don’t have enough of is TIME. I never, ever, have enough time. The day is just too short and my “to do” list too long. But even though I don’t have enough time to do all the things I want to do, I have to find time, somewhere and somehow, for creativity. As a designer I need to do this for my business, so in some ways it’s probably easier for me to make drawing and sketching a priority than it would be for someone who works  in say, accounting. But even if you don’t work in a creative field, creativity is still important. Making something new, with your hands, is good for the soul. I believe strongly creating something relieves stress and makes us happier. So I find time. Here are five tips to help you find time for creativity.

Do what you love

I love clothing, putting together outfits, and writing about the experience. For me, this blog is a huge creative outlet. Even when I have a ton of work I always find time to post something. It seems counterintuitive, but I honestly believe that blogging makes me more creative and improves my freelance work.

I also love to draw. I sketch for a living but even when I’m not working I need to keep up my illustration skills so I don’t get rusty. Loving what I do makes it easier to find the time for creativity. So make sure that whatever you do for creative time it’s something you enjoy.

Go easy on yourself

Sometimes a creative project can be daunting. You might need to learn new skills, and the learning curve is not always fun. It’s easy to get frustrated and drop the whole thing, but I promise that if you do it once the second time will be easier, and the third time even easier than that. I’ve realized that sometimes the learning process is part of the creative process, and I have to allow myself to fail so I can learn and improve.

Give yourself permission to do something fun

I spent this week working on my taxes. As a freelancer they’re complicated and every year I try to get more organized, but all those spread sheets of invoices and expenses are exhausting. I have no problem telling myself it’s important to get ready for tax season, but I have a hard time giving myself permission to do something for myself. Usually, the things I really enjoy are at the bottom of the list, but feeding my creativity is just as important as accounting. Moving the “fun” stuff into the “important” list is key to making time for creativity.

Put creative projects on your “To Do” list

My “to do” list is pretty much endless. Every day I tidy the house, I exercise, I check my e-mail and do a ton of other things as well. Blog posts and sketching are on that list, and there are many days that other things don’t get done because the blog and the sketches get priority. Just writing down the task makes it easier to do because if it’s on The List, it’s official.

If you only have 30 minutes, take 30 minutes.

I would love a whole day to work on my creative projects. Unfortunately that’s not my reality. Sometimes I don’t even have a few hours to devote to a creative project, but often I have thirty minutes. It’s not perfect, but I’ll take it. It’s better to start a project and put it aside for the next day than to not start it at all. If necessary I will break a project down into small steps and try to get one step done every day.

Denim shirt and statement necklace

How to you find time for creativity in your life? What do you think of my suggestions? Have any tips you’d like to add?


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35 Responses to Finding Time for Creativity

  1. SACRAMENTO February 9, 2013 at 1:18 am #

    Beautiful workd, Heather.
    You are a true artist.
    Happy weekend.
    SACRAMENTO recently posted..Reflection & IllusionsMy Profile

  2. Jamillah February 9, 2013 at 10:23 am #

    your illustrations are so gorgeous!!! i would love to see more of them here.

    man, taxes are definitely one thing i do no miss about freelancing, they are so complex and tracking down everything i needed was always a challenge for me.

    i love your tips here…i’ve really only recently given myself the permission to be easy on myself and be okay with just wanting to laze around and do my nails or read a magazine instead of always feeling like i need to be doing something. super important lesson to learn.
    Jamillah recently posted..DIY Valentine’s Day Gifts for HimMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca February 12, 2013 at 9:02 pm #

      During the week I push myself but I try to take time to be lazy on the weekends. It’s important too. I agree.
      I’m so glad you like my sketches. More will be coming!

  3. Alexis Grace February 9, 2013 at 1:31 pm #

    This is a conversation we have been having regularly at home… with baby, pending move (again!) and work, I seem to have put a lot of my creative outlets on the back burner. I need to start making the time! I feel so drained lately and I am pretty sure taking caring of my mental health, by dedicating more time to being creative, would make a world of difference!
    Alexis Grace recently posted..Veronica Beard Fall 2013 CollectionMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca February 12, 2013 at 9:01 pm #

      Yes, creative time would probably help, BUT, you have a new baby, and new babies don’t sleep all that well. I remember! Honestly I don’t think I got five hours in a row of sleep for five years. I was EXHAUSTED, like, all the time, and I couldn’t figure out why. I took vitamins, went for walks…nothing helped. Then both kids started sleeping like normal children and suddenly I felt great. Oh, I was getting a full night’s sleep. Go figure.

      So please don’t be too hard on yourself Alexis. Working and caring for a new baby is a lot. Really A LOT.

  4. Paula February 10, 2013 at 12:03 pm #

    I saw your sketches on pinterest and repinned–so cute!

    I made a new year’s resolution; to sketch. At least once a week. I still sketch my weeks outfits but I’m going to try and do something different each week.

    Food for the soul, no?
    Paula recently posted..Pretty PicturesMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca February 12, 2013 at 8:56 pm #

      I noticed you pinned my sketches. Thanks so much!!! And yes, it is food for the soul.

  5. Spashionista (Alicia)
    February 10, 2013 at 12:54 pm #

    You’re very talented, Heather! Thanks for sharing your sketches with us.
    I can relate to having more to do than time permits. I have a desk calendar where I jot down what I want to accomplish on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. I’m thrilled if I accomplish more than 50% of what’s on my list.
    I used to do a lot of 3D art pinups but a hand injury has curtailed that for the time being. I hope to get back to it again soon!

    Spashionista (Alicia)
    Spashionista (Alicia) recently posted..Fashion Friday: Just Do It – AlwaysMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca February 12, 2013 at 8:55 pm #

      I’m sorry about your hand injury. I can’t imagine how frustrating it would be not to be able to use my hands! I’m glad you like my drawings and I hope you can get back to it soon.

  6. Mary Jo
    February 11, 2013 at 2:52 am #

    I love love this sketch Heather! All of your advice is so true – I was just thinking today that I wanted to figure out a way to take time to sketch every day…so frustrating when I run out of time at the end of each day–I so relate!

    xo Mary Jo

    • Heather Fonseca February 12, 2013 at 8:53 pm #

      I run out of time. I run out of energy. It’s sad. Sometimes I just plow through and do it anyway with the kids fighting around me and homework questions being thrown at me. It’s not optimal! We’re all busy. Sigh.

  7. Marla February 11, 2013 at 5:36 am #

    You really are an amazing artist. I love your sketches.

  8. nofearoffashion February 11, 2013 at 12:03 pm #

    I would love to be able to do what you do. But no… I do not have a whole lot of creativity. Not a musical instrument, no flower arrangements, no painting, no sketching. Tried them all and I am hopeless.
    Blogging about outfits was my one creativity, but I will limit myself to one posting a week.
    I started at 7 days a week. After a month I was exhausted. Now I am posting 3 times a week. Still too much. I live in a digital world. Fun, but I want to spend more time with my friends. So something has to go and that will be frequent blogging.
    Choices must be made.
    But to be able to draw like you do… heaven.
    nofearoffashion recently posted..Red La Dress dress with two different jacketsMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca February 12, 2013 at 8:49 pm #

      Aw, thank you Greetje. I’ve always loved to draw. Been doing it since I was a kid. My dad says I’ve always drawn the same thing too. Girls in clothes and more girls in clothes, since I was old enough to hold a pencil. As for the blogging and timing it is REALLY time consuming and I’ve had trouble keeping to my 3 day a week routine recently. The ironic thing is I don’t have any work right now, so it SHOULD be easier to post, not harder. But my time seems to get all eaten up anyway!

  9. Arash Mazinani
    February 11, 2013 at 12:29 pm #

    I’m the same as you I feel my blogging fuels my creativity in terms of thinking about my business as a whole, not just the practical aspect of putting clothes together.

    I try to organise my days but my problem is that I try to jam too much into one day and fail to really appreciate how long a certain task may take. This can be frustrating at times as I feel that I’ve done very little in a day when in reality I’ve done loads.
    Arash Mazinani recently posted..Essentials: What Everyone Ought To Know About ShoesMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca February 12, 2013 at 8:47 pm #

      Oh my gosh, Arash, I think we were separated at birth. That’s EXACTLY how I feel. I’ve done a ton, but because I haven’t done everything I WANTED to do I’ve failed. It’s irritating and I try to look at the positives but it seems I can never, ever, get to all the things I want to accomplish.

  10. Jenmarie February 11, 2013 at 1:52 pm #

    I think even if we had another day in the week it wouldn’t mattter because it would get filled up with stuff we have to do and our daily routines. I totally believe in taking time for yourself. If you set your mind to it, then it can totally happen even if it’s for a short while.

    • Heather Fonseca February 12, 2013 at 8:44 pm #

      Usually for me it’s just a short while. I can’t believe how much time I spend doing, what? Cleaning, grocery shopping, e-mail checking. Where does the time go? It makes me crazy, but probably if we had more time we’d just use it up, as you say. Sigh.

  11. anne the SpyGirl
    February 11, 2013 at 2:57 pm #

    Yep. Working on my own creative projects feeds my soul as well.
    When I have that waking-up-at-4AM situation? I get up and make something —
    or I try… sometimes the shiny internet objects are sooooo alluring.

    Lately there have been great sunrises and I’ve been annoyed with my cameras’ inability to capture the colors that I see. iPhone/iPad Brushes App to the rescue! I’m doing quickie sketches and am much less frustrated.

    LOVE seeing your sketches here! More! More!
    anne the SpyGirl recently posted..Quick Draw: @GUESS x @MarieClaire at South Coast PlazaMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca February 12, 2013 at 8:43 pm #

      Thanks Anne. I’m so excited about moving to a more computer-generated illustration style. Less paper. Less stuff. Thanks so much for helping me out. I can’t wait to tackle Adobe Illustrator!

  12. Stacey - Total City Girl
    February 11, 2013 at 7:02 pm #

    I definitely agree! I am in a creative field as well with photography but have also loved to “make things” I am now teaching a Young Crafters class after school once a week. The money isn’t good once you take into account all the time put in planning, and getting the supplies, etc so I really do it for the fun. I get so into the projects and love to see the kids get excited about making things as well. My younger daughter comes to the class as well. She loves doing projects!

    I really like how you’ve been including your drawings into your posts!
    Stacey – Total City Girl recently posted..52 Week Photo Challenge – Week 6 – FriendshipMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca February 12, 2013 at 8:35 pm #

      It’s great to be able to combine work with creative projects. Normally I don’t do a lot of drawings for myself because I’m literally drawing all week. I get it all out! But work has been slow so the urge to draw is just overwhelming. I’m glad you found a fun class to teach and make a little money too! And that your daughter goes is a great added plus.

  13. Shanti February 12, 2013 at 9:22 am #

    I LOVE your drawings! And this topic has been on my mind a lot lately, thank you for sharing!!

    • Heather Fonseca February 12, 2013 at 8:17 pm #

      By the amount of comments this post has received I think it’s a subject that has been on a lot of people’s minds! I have to tell you though that even though I put down these tips, I still struggle with finding time for creative projects.

  14. Sylvia
    February 16, 2013 at 12:52 am #

    Great tips Heather and just LOVE your drawings!
    Sylvia recently posted..Shoe shopping: my favorite shoes online nowMy Profile

  15. Gerdien van de Gronden March 10, 2013 at 3:55 am #

    You have t know to make priorities…and be able to let go of…stuff….some kind of perfectionism is always kind of problematic :). Therefore…leave the housekeeping now and then..Allthough your eye for beauty might have a problem with the mess…you will feel much happier having created something of beauty…

    • Heather Fonseca March 11, 2013 at 8:53 pm #

      I do hate a mess Gerdien! It’s true. But that morning tidy up can take a long time, time I should be spending creating. Actually I’ve noticed that really productive creative types rarely have tidy surroundings. Maybe there’s something to that!


  1. More quick sketches | Heather Fonseca - February 9, 2013

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