Making Time for Creativity--Growing Gills work through

  • SVS OG

    I completely agree with what you all are saying! It’s gotten to the point where I never let it slide when someone tries to call me talented. It’s probably really obnoxious, but I find it incredibly obnoxious when art is dismissed as something just for talented people. Just this morning I had this exchange on Facebook:


    As I said, maybe it’s obnoxious of me to always call it out like that, but YEARS of work have gotten me to the point where I can make the work I do, and having two toddlers to watch means it takes serious dedication to make the time to work. That has nothing to do with talent.

    When ch brings me back to the reason I want to work through this book, actually. I want to manage my time even better to be able to spend even more time improving my skill and completing projects. 😁 as I am sure is true for everyone else working along with me—which I really appreciate!

  • My workplace has been organized and cleaned up (made easier by the fact that I just did so before we started going through this book). Doing so made me realize what are the two biggest Open Loops I deal with: on a daily level it's piles of clean clothes all over my work area (we're great at doing laundry, but terrible at folding it and putting it away), and on an annual level it's tax season, which is just gonna have to be sporadically open until all the documents come in and we can file. But at least now I've got all the forms I have gotten so far filed away, ready to go.

    And for a quick circle back to Idea Debt, I'm trying something new. At work I've labeled and set out an "Andrew's Idea Debt" jar, so that when I or any of my team members come up with a fun idea/project that I don't have any time for, I'm writing it on a slip of paper, folding it up, and placing it in the jar. I'm curious to see how this works out long-term, but so far, it's been a relief letting these ideas go to the jar.

  • SVS OG

    The jar sounds like an interesting solution, @ajillustrates ... its like you're writing down the idea so your brain doesn't have to hold on to it anymore, and then letting it go.... but maybe not permanently. I could see that working for some people. It depends how attached to the ideas you really are I guess. Hmm.

  • SVS OG

    I would like to stick with the chapter-per-week schedule, however.... I'll be at a SCBWI conference next weekend and I'll be spending a lot of time getting ready for it during the week.

    So what do you guys think--should we

    1. Take a break this week to let me and those who are a bit behind have time to catch up
    2. Keep moving forward at the chapter-per-week pace and let people catch up (or not) as they will.

    I'm kind of torn. What do you all feel?

  • SVS OG

    @Sarah-LuAnn I think it’s ok to take a week off to give you time to focus on other things and others to catch up. Given that the book is about feeling like you are drowning in commitments, it would be ironic if reading the book itself added to the feeling of being overwhelmed!

  • @Sarah-LuAnn I agree with Laurie. Let's regroup after your conference - and please tell us about your experience when you get back. I'm usually wiped out afterwards, but it's worth it. Have fun!

  • SVS OG

    Sounds good. I think a couple people wanted to catch up anyway, and cleaning your desk/office can take some time. 😊

    I will definitely share afterwards, I am so excited for the workshops and keynotes... and I will get to see @smceccarelli there too unless her plans have changed, which will be so fun 😃.

  • SVS OG

    I'm making my way through the next chapter... excited to check in this weekend!

  • SVS OG

    So... my “shoulds” list is getting really long.

    I wasn’t going to post them but... I think it would help me just to put them out there, if that makes sense. If anyone cares to read all these... you get a prize.


    I should be keeping the house clean, making good dinners, and spending quality time with my family. This should satisfy me without needing to have another career.

    I should defy the patriarchy and give up stay-at-home motherhood for a career.

    I should prioritize my art over menial things like housework.

    I should get the chores done before doing fun stuff like art.

    I should have an agent already. What is my problem? Oh yeah... I should send more queries/postcards.

    I should be focusing on my portfolio.
    I should be focusing on dummies.
    I should be focusing on my drawing class... it starts in just a couple weeks after all.
    I should be focusing on querying.

    I should have more completed dummies/manuscripts before querying agents.

    I should have myself, my family and my work on a perfect schedule which magically includes time for everything I need/want to get done.

    I should do more with my blog.

    I should be using my phone/social media/technology less

    I should have a regular posting schedule for Instagram/other social media to really make connections and build a following.

    I should have more out-of-the-house date nights with my husband.

    I should do fanart.

    I should only do original stories/characters.

    I should have more animals/classrooms/book covers/backgrounds/STUFF in my portfolio.

    I should just do the art I love whether or not it expands my portfolio.

    I should do more traditional art.

    I should practice photoshop.

    I should sketch every day.

    I should never let my toddlers watch Netflix. I should entertain them myself and be happy and excited and fulfilled every second of it.

    I should find another babysitter to watch my kids so I can do more art.

    I should wait til my kids are in school before pursuing any kind of career.

    I should have more kids. I should want more kids.

    I should be better at all of this by now.


    So... what kind of “shoulds” are you all dealing with?

  • What a cool discussion! I should read this book too! 🙂 i feel so disorganised and a master of procrastination.

  • SVS OG

    @aska You are welcome to read and join in the discussion! Don't worry about being late, it would be good for all of us to be reminded of the earlier exercises so go ahead and post whatever chapter you are in.

  • SVS OG

    I'm not sure I understood this chapter. Admittedly I am brain dead from a difficult week at work but I don't see the connection between having all of these "shoulds" going on in your head and procrastination. I get that sometimes we are procrastinating about things we feel like we should do but really don't want to do, in which case seeing that we don't need to do them would help but most of the things I procrastinate about are things I really do need to do. Is she saying that procrastination may be a sign that we need to look at the thing we are avoiding and figure out if it is something that we are only doing because we feel we should?

  • SVS OG

    @demotlj I think that’s part of it. I think many of us, consciously or unconsciously, have many ideas of things we “should” be doing. We may not ever realize that many of these unspoken expectations actually contradict each other—so no matter what we do, we feel as if we have failed, because by meeting one expectation we neglected another.

    Putting them on paper where you can see them and address them helps you see the contradictions and make conscious, deliberate choices of the expectations you will and won’t accept, and by extension the guilt you will or won’t feel over whether you meet those expectations.

    At least, that is my understanding 🙂.

  • SVS OG

    So this week's homework was easy.

    Who are the only people whose opinions REALLY matter to me?

    My Husband
    My Kids
    My Mom

    In that order.

    Which gives me some insight into part of why its hard for me to get comments from my husband on my art... I really do care what he thinks! And I'm not sure he appreciates that. There are of course a whole lot of other things going on in that as well, but thats part of it.

  • My should list didn't get done yet, but it should have. 😉 I'll catch up soon. Been prioritizing getting a small business running so I can support my art habit.

  • SVS OG

    My list is also quite short and has my three kids and their significant others, and a good friend who is my primary support. Making the list, however, pointed out to me one of the issues I feel: I really identify with the beginning of the chapter in which she talks about the fear of being a poser, because I feel that a lot and yet, when she suggests that we focus only on the people whose opinion matters, the good friend on my list is very artistic so she is often the one around whom I feel like a poser.

    I do know, however, that my value to the people on that list, including that friend, doesn’t change whether I can draw or not, and it is also true that it doesn’t (or shouldn’t) matter to me if people not on the list think I am a lousy artist. The imposter syndrome is really a huge issue in so many areas of life because we live in such a credentialed world. I can call myself an artist if it is my profession, or if I have degree, but if neither of those are true, how do I know when I can legitimately go from saying, “I do art,” to “I am an artist?” Same with “I play music” versus “I am a musician.”

    I also have to admit that the reason I worry about it is my own occasional judgmental thoughts about other people who claim identities that I’m not sure they are qualified to claim (like divas who can’t carry a tune.) But I should keep in mind that I am not on their 1 inch square list so my opinion doesn’t matter!

  • SVS OG

    @ThisKateCreates catch up as you can, you do you :-).

    @demotlj Thats a good point about not being on other people's one inch squares... thats a good way to let judgemental thoughts go. I wish there was an easy way past impostor syndrome. Art is tricky, because it really DOESN'T require a degree or credentials, but so much in the world does that it's hard to place it. If the people on your one inch square call you an artist though, that goes a long way. 🙂

  • I'm really struggling with these exercises because they seem to be going further and further afield of my own value system. The should monster I get and I did write a should list, just misplaced it, but I can't actually reduce whose opinions I care about to a square inch. Because when I make a picture and share it my goal is to bring beauty into peoples lives so the opinions of the people who interact with it matter. I just feel like this exercise is too focused on individualism and supports thinking about my actions not from a "this is how i fit into society" but a "this is how I see myself perspective."

    I guess I'm continuing to be my ornery self and saying the opinions I care about are my friends and family in the general case, the people I am alleging to help when I do tech outreach and education, myself when making a picture or piece of music (only myself), every viewer of a picture to the extent of whether it enriched and beautified their life or the opposite when I put it out into the world, potential customers if I'm selling a piece of art or a product, etc for other activities that are irrelevant to this art discussion. But I'm connected to the whole world, so while they don't get to decide what I do they are on my square inch in a sense.

    I've definitely struggled over the years with imposter syndrome though. I just feel like suspending judgement while I work and then asking myself how it could be better when it's done is more effective for me. I don't know what constitutes an artist and I definitely struggle to give myself time to create when it isn't the most profitable way I can spend my time. But I want to make pictures that are closer to the images I dream about and painting is good for my soul. So I think doing that every day is a choice that improves my life. And I hope it can bring some joy to others.

    It's hard for me to see my art as worth existing or a good use of my time. And honestly, most of the people close to me don't really care about the art I create. They may be happy I do so and some think it's impressive I can make an image that looks like a thing, but they don't look at my pictures and my small audience is mostly slowly accumulated people I don't know.

    Lastly it's interesting that other fields are mentioned as more requiring a degree or credentials, but most of my imposter syndrome centers around engineering (and lately chemistry). There's been a lot of "but I only have a physics degree" but in the end I can do the work so I just keep doing it the same as art. Except probably I tech better than I draw. LOL

  • SVS OG

    @ThisKateCreates I see what you're saying, and I do think that this exercise can be difficult. If it doesn't resonate with you, you can just skip it. I think you're taking it in a different way than I did and that is where your difficulty is coming from--which is totally fine. As I said, if you feel the book as a whole is helpful to you but this exercise is just not feeling right, skip it. Or if the book and exercises aren't helping you at all, no need to continue--what would be the point?

    To me, this chapter isn't saying that you shouldn't care about anyone else in the world or what they think, about anything, ever. As people who want to create art professionally, making art that people like and respond to is essential. To me, it's about getting really clear about who I need to stay aligned with, both in the work I make but also how I make it and present it. I can't let my art and professional goals eclipse my relationships with those people. I think of the Aesops fable about the man, his son and the donkey who change what they do every time a passerby tells them that what they're doing is wrong, and end up pleasing nobody at all. THAT, to me, is the point. Please your small list of people with the choices you make surrounding your art practice. Some will like and respond to what you make, others won't. But when you're clear on the short list of people its important to please, you won't be chasing after every differing opinion.

    Come to think of it, this is important on a personal level for your time and space management, but its important on a business level as well. You need to identify a very specific "target market" to appeal to, and not worry about pleasing people who don't fit that category.

    Anyway... I'm sorry you're feeling frustrated here, and as I said, skip it if you feel like it doesn't help you. 🙂

  • @Sarah-LuAnn I'm probably overly critical..... Which might relate back to the topic of not being overly critical of your work and not doing anything. 😛

Log in to reply