'Rose and Fence' ©

Rose and Fence © Mary Baker, Oil on Paper

How to Make Time for Art

The key to making time for art is the ability to say "NO".

If you say "yes" to everything that is asked of you, you will not have time to be creative. And it is so easy to say "yes" to all kinds of things and so hard to say "no." It is hard to say "no" to immediate family, extended family, demands of friends, organizations, messy houses, cluttered basements - the list is endless.

Making art takes lots of time. It not only takes a great deal of time to do whatever it is you are creating, but it also takes a great deal time for what most people would consider "down time." Artistic down time is a foreign concept to people who are not artists. Our society values busyness over artistic incubation, but you cannot create art without it.

You will feel immensely guilty saying to yourself that your art is more important than time spent with a certain friend, organization or clearing out that large dust bunny that is appearing under your bed! But ask yourself, if there was something really crucial, wouldn't you slash everything that was unessential in your life to take care of it. The answer is yes. Do the same thing with your art.

Learning how to say "no" takes practice. You may want to communicate to your nearest and dearest your new priority, so they won't feel emotionally abandoned. From time to time you will get sucked into situations and events; and it takes a great deal of effort to find a balance between creating art and also having a meaningful life outside of that endeavor.

But remember, "no" is a complete sentence. It will take everyone some time to adjust to your new way of living. There may be a lot of grumbling from a lot of people, but if creating art is really important to you, let them grumble away. You'll find out who your friends really are. The ones that really care about you will want what's important for you--to create art!

© Mary Baker