Most days end before I've had a chance to work on a creative project for myself. Between working full-time and commission illustration projects, I find myself tapped out...a lot.
I don't know any creative individual that doesn't struggle with finding opportunities to make things for themselves.
Why doing creative work for yourself is important
Drawing, painting, coding, collaging, whatever your medium may be, is a purposeful, meditative action.
In order to grow creatively, You have to give your mind
the opportunity to take time off and explore.
Some of the best ideas or pieces I've created have come from a simple, unplanned gesture.
How to incorporate making work for yourself into your busy schedule
While I'm not great at this and my lists of ideas are ever-growing, I've managed to put a concerted effort toward a few personal projects I'm proud of.
Here are a few tips for how I've managed fulfilling my own artistic endeavors:
1. Write every creative project idea down when it strikes. Include a brief description if necessary.
2. Keep your thoughts in one place. Try to consolidate your ideas to one point of reference and resist letting them scatter about, thus making them easy to lose. Remember that the intention to do something is powerful in and of itself.
For example, I keep a running list in a Google Doc. This way I can access the list from anywhere and add to it when inspiration strikes (like when traveling).
3. Schedule time for yourself. Most obviously, make a block in your schedule to work on your own projects. Even if it is an hour a week, if it is on your calendar and planned in advance, you are more likely to stick to it.
4. Create a challenge. If you really want to push yourself, design a challenge or goal to strive for. A few summers ago, I kicked off a 100 Days of Drawing series where I produced one drawing every day, not-preplanned, and no erasing! The original goal was to balance my time at my 9-to-5 on the computer all day with some actual hand drawing. I published them on Instagram for accountability, and what began as a therapeutic project for myself, spun into so many more projects (with more in the works).
There is no magic equation for fitting in your own creative work, but I find it motivating when I think of the vast opportunities for my ideas to come to life and how eager I am to see them realized.