I am a creative person. I don’t say that to brag, it’s more of a confession, really.
Hello, my name is Meredith and I’m a…*hangs head*…creative.
What does it mean to be a “creative”? Well, mostly it means that it’s hard for me to get anything done, due to the constant barrage of ideas in my brain. Yesterday I put some pasta on to boil, and went down the hall to check my email for a couple of minutes. Some unknown amount of time later I found myself wondering what was that strange noise, coming from the kitchen. It was the sizzling sound of starchy water boiling over onto my stove burners. Apparently I cannot boil water without burning it.
In my defense, my attention had been waylaid by a color palette that I was really loving working on. It was pretty.
Pretty, shiny objects are my downfall. I’m like a hummingbird flitting from one bright red object to another, in search of the perfect nectar.
Most people think creativity sounds like fun, but in reality it can be quite difficult to manage. For example, at any given moment, I may simultaneously want to:
- Organize my closet
- Write a book
- Take a nap.
At the next moment, I may be thinking of:
- Working on that painting
- Rearranging my furniture
- Doing the dishes.
So, as I’m trying to decide what to tackle first, I stare off into space, accomplishing nothing. Not very productive. Then when I finally pick one and start to work on it, I’m always thinking I should be doing one of the other things I was thinking of.
The question that usually plagues my existence these days is, “What should I be doing right now?”
Now I get that this is a first world problem. If I didn’t have free time on my hands, I wouldn’t struggle so much with these decisions. If I lived in a different part of the world, my biggest challenge may be how to get clean water, or foraging for food. So I’m thankful. But I want to use my time well and wisely, in honor of my husband who goes to work at a very demanding job, and my kids who spend their days at school doing their best. It wouldn’t be fair for me to sit at home eating bon-bons and watching soap operas, and have them come home to a messy house with dinner nowhere in sight. Instead I work hard during the day, doing my creative job, so they can come home to the messy house and uncooked dinner. Otherwise, I’d better get busy becoming a better housekeeper and cook. Ick.
So that brings me to the question, “How can I be productive as a creative person, while contributing to the family and doing what I love?” This can alternately be said, “How can I be successful being creative and doing what I love?”
I believe that I’m not the only person out there trying to answer this question, so I’m tackling it in a big way. This is the first of a multi-part series on creativity and productivity that I’m calling “Surviving Creativity.”
Your creativity may find its outlet in different ways than mine. Maybe you’re an artist like me, or you could be anything from a musician to a mechanical engineer, a preschool teacher to a prosecutor, a stay-at-home-mom to a CEO. Maybe your highest form of creativity comes out in the kitchen where you create beautiful meals for your family. (If that is you, then my hat is off to you, and you are invited to my house anytime you want to try out a new recipe on someone.) No matter your job title, if you find yourself struggling to find structure, meaning, and productivity in your day, then this series is for you!
If you’re like me and feel that your gift of creativity can be both a blessing and a…let’s say…challenge, then stay tuned. Hopefully, as I work through this for myself I’ll be able to offer you some ideas to enhance and use your creativity to your full potential, either for yourself, your job, or your family. I’d love to hear any questions or comments you may have along the way, and I’ll try to answer them as we go.
Thanks for going on this journey with me. (Sign up here to get all the future posts.) And be sure to share with your creative friends!