This is Part 1 of a 3-part series on Making Time for Your Art. Read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. This series was also made into a Skillshare class which you can watch here!
One of the most common issues I hear from artists is “I just don’t have the time”. They want to be drawing consistently, but doing so takes time—something there’s never enough of.
Almost everyone gives the advice that you need to be drawing consistently to improve and grow as an artist. And I agree, the benefits of drawing daily are huge. But we all have lives and responsibilities and duties, and doing anything every day can be difficult.
I’ve been thinking about making time for creative work a lot recently because I’m currently 7 months pregnant with our first child. My world is about to turn upside-down and I’m not naive enough to think I’ll be able to keep the free-flowing, do-what-I-want schedule I have now.
My time is going to be severely compressed when the baby comes, especially so for the first few months, but really, I guess, for the next 18+ years. I don’t want my art making time to slip away but I also don’t want to burn out. How do I fit drawing into this new life?
How do I ensure I can make time for my art?
Previously I’ve given out tips and strategies on this subject including: committing to a drawing series publicly for accountability (like Inktober), joining a drawing theme community (like #MightCouldDrawToday), forgiving yourself when you slip up, and figuring out when you’re most creative.
I believe those are all great pieces of advice, and they’re strategies that have directly worked for me and improved my art.
But for many people, knowing these strategies is not enough—the issue persists.
Even after trying some of these strategies, they’re still not able to draw consistently. And the reason they give remains the same: “there just isn’t enough time.”
It Depends on Where You Are
I have a lot of thoughts about this concept of “not having enough time”. It’s important and much deeper than most people realize. First of all, it’s not about making more time. We’re not Hermione, this is not Hogwarts, and unfortunately, time turners do not exist. It’s also not about finding more time. We all have the same 24 hours in a day. So what is it?
The real issue depends on where you currently are on your artistic journey.
If you say you “don’t have enough time to draw” you are dealing with either:
- Surface-Level Techniques: You are ready to implement tactical techniques to use your time efficiently to make more art.
- Deep-Down Issues: You are not ready for those techniques, because you have underlying, deeper issues that needs to be addressed before those techniques can work for you.
Surface-Level + Deep-Down
For the next two weeks, I’m going to cover BOTH of these categories.
First, I’ll cover the Surface-Level Techniques, where I’ll share my best strategies on how to keep up an artistic routine even when we’re short of time. We’ll talk prioritizing our art, establishing a creative routine, accepting the peaks and valleys, and common pitfalls.
Second, I’ll dive into the Deep-Down Issues. That’s the fascinating, inner work stuff, that isn’t often talked about or understood.
People in this Deep-Down group have the strong urge to be creative. You’re desperate to draw, to make art, to get your ideas out of your head and onto the page, but there’s just something blocking it from happening, no matter how many strategies and tips and tricks you try, no matter how many courses or classes you take.
Many people proclaim the answer is just a matter of persistence and willpower. Wake up at 5am! Stay up until 2am! Just do it! But it’s not that simple, is it?
I think the people giving that advice don’t remember how hard it is to start a habit or routine. They don’t remember how scary and intimidating it is in the beginning. They don’t remember going through those Deep-Down Issues we all have.
Ultimately, we are our biggest obstacles, and we have to learn how to get out of our own way to make our art.
That’s the root of the deeper issues, and that’s where Part 3 of this series will focus.
This is Part 1 of a 3-part series on Making Time for Your Art. Read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.
Ready to make more time for your art?
This essay inspired my Skillshare class, Artistic Mindset: Making Time for Your Art. Join us and learn how to prioritize drawing and start drawing consistently!