Stealing Back Creative Time from Modern Life


There’s never enough time for every creative thing I want to do. But there are always ways to repurpose time that might otherwise be lost.

I don’t know about you, but I never have enough time. Somehow Modern Life always seems to snatch it and run, like some kind of cosmic pickpocket.

Enough is enough.

If Modern Life is going to steal from us, then perhaps it’s time we started stealing from it. As in, stealing back our time for the things we most want to do—like our creative pursuits.

There are lots of ways to do this.

One way I’ve found really helpful recently is the “two for one” method of creativity. When I need to do a seemingly mundane daily task, I find a way to make it more creative, and use that more creative version to practice some of the artistic techniques I’m always saying I “never have enough time” to truly tackle.

Take calligraphy and painting, for instance. I’ve always wanted to get better at hand-lettering of all kinds. And I also want to learn as many clever ways as possible to use pages from old books to create art pieces. I don’t have much time for either of these pursuits.

But what I DO have is a to-do list.

Say what?

Well, every day I have to write and follow a to-do list for myself as part of a productivity initiative I’ve begun. Writing a to-do list could be boring. Or mundane. But it is neither, since I made it an opportunity to pursue both the kinds of art I want to try.

First, I used Pinterest tutorials as inspiration for a “Busy Bee” motif on the front of a plain cardboard Moleskin notebook. I learned a lot by doing this piece—and it definitely gave me insight on how to do similar projects and art pieces for the Scrappy Storyteller shop that will be launching later this year.

Then, I used my growing Pinterest board of ink and hand lettering to inspire a different “way” of writing my to-do list each day. I write it out with old-fashioned ink and quill pen, which is fun and tactile. I’m much more likely to actually stick to my to-do list writing routine with this in the mix!

Plus, I get to practice various kinds of hand-lettering in a no-pressure environment where mess-ups, blots and ink spills don’t matter at all.

Then I go off into the rest of my morning, feeling pretty good about myself for getting some calligraphy practice in AND also structuring my activities for the day while I’m at it.

I find myself being even more eager to pull the book out during the week to check off items and see how I’m doing. All because the book is so fun to touch and open and write in. And I’m pretty proud of how the cover turned out!

If you’ve got creative activities you never seem to have enough time for, look hard at your everyday mundane “must do’s” and see if there isn’t a way to “steal back” some creative time by turning those chores into moments of creative exploration.

Modern Life may be a bit of a thief, no doubt.

But this way, he can’t have everything.

What do you think?

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