Time is a paradox. From the perspective of before and after, from the perspective of eternity, it is infinite. From the perspective of our individual lives, however, it’s considerably more finite.
Sure, the impermanence of our time adds value. It also adds a few obstacles.
Many creatives feel pressure related to TIME:
- My life is so packed, I don’t have time to create
- I’m already middle-aged and what have I done with my time
- If I haven’t figured out how to make more time by now I’ll never figure it out
- It’s too late to start now
- I need to make the most of the creative time I do get by working on this and only this
- I only have so much time today, why can’t I focus . . .
Those are just a few. Chances are, you thought of one or two others while you were reading along.
Given that most of us don’t have unlimited time to create each day, there’s an inherent need to make the most of the time we do get. And, as a result, we might often feel a need to guide ourselves in a certain direction. The problem comes when we narrow the focus of our conscious minds on a predetermined course and we close ourselves off to myriad other ways we might arrive at our desired destination.
As a result, we sometimes flounder. We become cognizant of the time we’re losing, and we then become paralyzed . . . stuck.
One of the things I look forward to working on at WOTM is how to identify the desired location, then let go of a predetermined course. How to free ourselves up, so to speak, in the limited time we do have and make the most of that time.
Here’s a fact – it takes time to find time; to make time. But it’s usually there to be found and made and shaped as we’d like.
We sometimes become overwhelmed by the fragments that are left after we devote time to so many other things in our “multi-tasking” that we are sometimes tempted to accept that there’s just no time left, that it’s just not there, and as a result of often give up trying to shape it.
And make no mistake, it takes energy to find it, to shape it, but much less energy than what we give up feeling guilty or filling with resentment over not having time to do the thing we are called to do.
One of the most useful tools I have in making time for my writing is how not to feel resentment over what I used to view as lost time.
I gave myself permission recently to use some writing time for a huge work project, with the understanding that doing so would allow me to finish the project sooner, to return to my established writing routine sooner. In the past, I may have resented giving up that time. But that simple act of giving myself permission to temporarily shift my focus and my creative time/energy allowed me to complete the work project in less time. Which means, I’m back at the page now . . . without the pressure of having that project looming over my head.
Making a sacrifice of creative time is sometimes a necessity.
The trick comes in making it a temporary sacrifice and not one you make day after day after day. For then it becomes an excuse for not chasing your dream. One act (the former) is a temporary compromise while the other (the latter) tends to be the result of fear and, in the end, is really just a way out of committing . . . to yourself.
If you have to make a sacrifice of some creative time, give yourself a deadline to help keep it from becoming an excuse not to create.
What do you think of these quotes?
- “Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.” – William Penn
- “Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.” – Carl Sandburg
- “We are so obsessed with doing that we have no time and no imagination left for being. As a result, men are valued not for what they are but for what they do or what they have – for their usefulness.” – Thomas Merton
Do you find yourself relating to any of them? Filling in other possibilities?
Know this, if you struggle with a lack of time or if you just haven’t mastered using the time you have effectively, you are not alone. One of the things we’ll talk about at WOTM 2015 is how to get past the challenges of trying to force yourself through your creative time. More times than not, that ends up getting in the way. We end up getting in our own way. And the time we do spend creating becomes more vexing than fun. We aren’t able to get into any flow because we end up struggling with ourselves. And that’s the opposite of the way it should be.
“The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.” – Bertrand Russell
Russell’s quote brings me to a final point. Finding out the thing you are called to do and giving yourself permission to pursue it – whether that is for fifteen minutes a couple days a week, or an hour on the weekends, or an hour every morning before work, or whatever fits best with the rest of your life (and your intentions) – giving yourself permission to “drop everything and run toward your true self” as Kyran Pittman suggested we all should do – that is the best use of your time.
Wasting time doing the thing you love is so not wasting time. It’s living. It’s being.
Isn’t it time for that?
“Self Portrait – Ticking Away” photo above by MattysFlicks courtesy of Creative Commons.