Ohhhh naptime: I didn't always get you, I claimed I didn't need you, but now I never want to let you go. My two-year-old Petra wasn't a sleeper from the start, her naps only taking place in a Moby or while she nursed (I had no idea sleep-eating was a thing until I saw it with my own eyes) and her beautiful bassinette wasn't used for more than five minutes since even a hot water bottle, sleep sack, and white noise machine could not convince her she was still safe in a womb. Instead, Petra slept with my husband and me, matching her bedtime and waking time to mine. At the time, having an ever-awake baby wasn't a big deal since I'd been able and willing to clear my schedule to stay home and, hey, it gave us more time together to experience books, music, nature, and each other. But here's the thing: now she naps. Not every day, mind you, but most days she naps. And I AM LOVING IT. It's my time, all of it! (Fine, the first ten minutes are spent frantically tidying up from the morning.) But then... I write.
Sometimes it's a collaboration I'm working on, sometimes it's a song, but there's always something in want of words. I write ideas offline in Word, flesh out a blog post that's still in drafts, scribble ideas down that would be fun to write about later. Writing marks moments, like a time capsule filled only with thoughts-- some that will change (especially when I'm writing about fashion) and some that might stay the same for the rest of my life.
Rarely do I look back at what I've written but eventually, that's the point. Or maybe the point is to cement experiences by processing them into words. Or to reach people who are interested in the same things I am. Whatever the motivation, writing helps me to understand other people and myself, and it's an important part of my world even when the subject doesn't seem important at all (I've written about Uggs so often, you guys). And either way, much of the joy of creating is the process of doing so rather than the outcome.
I applaud all of you who make time to create. Some of you are stay-at-home-moms scheduling time for your own pursuits, some of you are career women whose creative mind isn't defined by working hours, and others are professional creators who still stoke the fire of personal projects because it's what you love. And if you're reading this, wishing you had an iron in the fire but wondering how you can fit it into your life, I asked a few inspiring women to tell me when they find time to create and perhaps you'll find some answers here.
I'm a graphic designer in the brand department at Farm Credit Canada. I also freelance and I'm the recent past president of the Society of Graphic Designers South Sask chapter. To be honest, I try and fit in time to be creative at any opportunity. I use meetings as an excuse to use my hands, listening and doodling. I can look at my sketches and I'll remember what the speaker was talking about more easily than if I were to refer back to jotted down text. I actually created an Instagram account with my doodles last week called @WorkInLimbo!
I’m lucky to count “creating” as part of my job description. From content creation and photography to writing blogs for local businesses, my day is spent creating in a variety of forms. So here I am, doing exactly what I love - using the visual and written word to tell stories for others. It’s been a pretty amazing journey. When I’m not creating for others, I continue to do so for myself. My camera lens remains pointed in the direction of my ever-changing, beautiful son. I reflect by scribbling thoughts in journal and blog. And recently I’ve made a conscious effort to create bliss by carving out time to do what I love - run bridges in the sunshine, explore this pretty province of ours, and some days simply slowing it right down to soak up the moment. I’m creating time each day to delight in this beautiful life.
I don't think there are many wrong answers when it comes to creating, as long as it comes from authentic place. Dance is all I've known, and I've always known it to be my release or even escape from the chaos of daily life. I find when I dance by myself, I can create for myself and not something suited for the needs of another. Just the music, some floor space, and all that matters in that moment is me.
Baking is my secret pleasure and stress reliever. Anyone who knows me, knows how un- domestic I am! But there's something about the methodical nature and concentration required to bake, especially bread. When I bake, I'm forced to put everything else aside and concentrate only on the task at hand. The stresses of work and everyday life melt away while I measure, mix and knead. It gives me time to think and relax. The time required to bake is my own and isn't that one of life's greatest luxuries... Time?
Living in a rather isolating environment, away from the distractions of city living, being surrounded by wide open space, allows me to be constantly inspired to create in beadwork. For me, the between professional and personal is flexible and as an artist, there is no better feeling.
I make time to knit in the evening. It is the perfect mix of relaxation and productivity. For me, because I work full-time and don't get to create (well, other than software), it's important to make time to do the things I love.
Time spent grazing the ivories is little and far between for me these days, as I usually have “helpers” and although I fully encourage the arts for my kiddos, tackling Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata isn’t an easy task with extra fingers. When I do sit at the piano it’s usually after the kiddos are in bed, with the soft pedal on, I dig out my rusty skills and hammer away for a few minutes. Having my grade eight in piano, all my exams and some theory to back it up, I thank my mother often for creating this platform where I can sit at any piano and read any music and just play.
Michelle Dunn Stevenson
As a busy working mom, it’s tough to find time to do the crafty things I love to do but there is always something on the go - like the crib quilt I am making for my brand new granddaughter (surprise!). My day job as an Engineering Manager, supervising a group of 30 or so Engineers is always busy and at times hectic, but the day doesn’t end at 5pm. At this time, my evening job of being mom starts - cooking supper, taking kids to soccer or synchronized swimming, helping with homework, and maybe getting in a little bit of laundry or cleaning. Life is busy, but I need my creative time to maintain my mental health, and my family understands and respects this. Whether it’s making time on a rainy weekend, squeezing 15 minutes in while they are doing homework, or knitting while watching a family movie (my knitting is never far from the couch), creating something with my hands reduces stress and puts me in a happy place! It’s good for the soul!
Speaking of being inspired by others, Our Collective Muse has done just that for me. It's a creative sisterhood, encouraging every member to find the time to create and I'm grateful for our shared experiences. I'm also thankful to OCM for giving a home to my naptime lit since it's more comfortable to share your work when you're not alone in doing so. If you're not already in a sphere of creative support, I encourage you to connect with people writing, crafting, painting, or just generally hobby-ing along the same lines you are to collaborate, encourage, challenge, and influence each other. And whatever your "naptime" is, try not to blow it on Netflix because life's short and your ideas matter.
This is my last post for Our Collective Muse as a full-time member as I've recently delved into a personal project (and there's only one naptime in a day, max!) but of course I'll continue to be a loyal follower of my OCM friends' posts and we'll certainly collaborate in the future. I wish all good things to my friends in the blog and to you, as you make time to create.