I'm sure you've all noticed that I'm not blogging much lately. It's because I'm really, really, really, really, really, really, reallyreallyreally busy and it feels great.
I went to bed last night with a ton of comments and questions from a post I had written in February. One question in particular, from Alicia, stood out: any suggestions for other things that will still leave my time for the creative but will bring in some money?
I hate to be the one to break this to you, but creativity is not something that you can "leave time for." Creativity is a fight. Being creative means you have to aggressively fight against forces similar to ocean waves. Creativity is also a way of life. "Being creative" is not something that we humans just do in our spare time. Being creative is your birthright as a human. It's how we are all supposed to be. We are innately creative beings. Taking your creativity and putting it use for say, a larger scale project, is a huge labor of love, time, energy, and possibly money, and you need to accept that (now) if you are going to wear the mantle of "creative person," or more appropriately, "creator." Even G-d worked for six whole days creating the Earth, right? It was so taxing that even the Divine Creator had to take a day off.
That is what creative work is.
Like all creators, I have fruitful periods, dormant periods, and fruiting periods. These are all necessary stages in the life of an artist. You have to allow your creativity to flow freely. Your creativity is not always going to fruit when you have the most time to be 'picking in the orchard,' if we follow the metaphor to its end. I remember an especially fruitful creative period when I lived in Culver City. I was working at McCabe's Guitar Shop, vocal coaching a musical, and working on an album as part of a band. I had some free time, but what I really had was a creative fire burning deep in my soul. I would wake up before 6am and write songs for several hours before going to work. Then I would come home and do it all over again. I didn't "leave time open" for my creativity; my creativity forced to make time for it.
I am in a "creative field" in the sense that I am a working musician. I did not anticipate that gigging 3-5 times per week would affect my creativity in the way that it has. 3-5 times per week, I perform, and while I am singing and playing and living my dream, I am not necessarily exercising my creativity during those gigs. I am performing, and using my skills to their fullest. It is not the same feeling as sitting down at the piano with the intent to write, with the intent to make more songs. Even though I am now a "working musician," now that so many of my career orchards are starting to set fruit and bear fruit, I still have to carve out time for creativity. I have to make time for it. It feels sometimes like I'm hacking my way through the jungle with a machete, but that is what it means to be a creative person. You see where I'm going with this? Just because I've gotten to a certain point in the game where I'm playing out all the time, it doesn't mean that I get to stop the battle with time, with myself and my bad habits, to make the time I need to be creative.
Many of the most creative people in the world were people who did not have a lot of free time. They were people who worked full time, who had other jobs, some of them were chemists, some of them wrote songs for the wealthy, some of them spent their days solving equations and many of them had families, children, other things to do. I think talking about 'leaving time' for the creative is sometimes an excuse that we make for ourselves (myself) when I would rather be in bed watching Netflix or I just need this "one day" to chill out and do nothing. That is important too, but being creative to the fullest means not making excuses or lying to yourself.
I hope this is at least halfway helpful. This is a lifetime journey, and one that I am still learning about every day. I don't have all the answers, but these are some things I think about all the time.