There’s so much good stuff happening right now: books releasing, speaking engagements, book signings, school starting, toddlers talking – all of it is awesome. But it’s also all really overwhelming.
Currently, I am caught in the vortex of necessary work, which isn’t nearly as fun as spinning in the vortex of creatively inspired work. Launching books requires a different set of skills – the skills that don’t come as comfortably or naturally to this creative mama.
Marketing myself? Oh, how I hate it. And yet, it’s a necessary part of the writer’s job. Lately, however, I’ve been missing the art. I miss the craft of writing. But with little time in my busy days to dive back into it, I’m looking for other ways to feed my creative soul.
Because if the creativity doesn’t work its way out, I just might break down.
This is a common theme among creative mothers. We love our art, but the time in which to divulge in it is minimal, particularly when there are young children at home. I spoke to one creative mother a few weeks ago who confided that despite having consistent free time in her days with all her children finally in school, she still found it difficult to tap into the fullness of her creativity.
“I get them on the bus, then head to my craft room, and I just stare at the supplies. I finally have the time I need, but I’m feeling entirely uninspired.”
Oh, it’s a tightrope, this life of creativity and mothering. We inch our way along, at times completely unable to indulge in art at all, because motherhood takes up all the time.
And there are other times when the cracks of our days lengthen into wider spaces of free time, and the art won’t flow – such a cruel joke.
So what are we to do?
Here are a few tips for the creative who isn’t feeling creative
1.) Don’t Force It
The days that I most enjoy my family are the days that I don’t wake up demanding artistic perfection from myself. When I accept that there simply won’t be time to squeeze in the art, I can focus fully on the kids without an ounce of guilt.
[Tweet “An artistic mother is fueled by creative inspiration, and inspiration cannot be forced.”]
2.) Look for the Art in a New Place
I am a writer – that’s what I do. I’m not a decorator or a baker. I can’t sew a button on a shirt, and though I love singing, I cannot create music on my own. My gift lies almost solely in words. But what do I do when the words won’t come?
I look for other ways to let the art out.
I’m not a good photographer, but I like trying my hand at it. My favorite artistic expression outside of writing is through the camera. No one will be paying me for my photos anytime soon (or ever, for that matter), but the simple act of pulling my camera out and playing around can unlock the words in mighty ways.
[Tweet “Art begets art, and creativity will inevitably find its way out of an artistic mother.”]
Some days, inspiration hits and the time to create is magically present. Those days are a gift, and I cherish them. But they’re rare.
Most days are a little more parsed out. Wallowing in frustration doesn’t help anyone, so I simply take heart in my ability to do something. Maybe it’s post a picture on Instagram, or perhaps I have time to punch out a blog post. Maybe I can manage nothing more than a few necessary emails, or maybe I’ll have time to work on my next book.
[Tweet “There isn’t time for everything on any given day, but there’s always time for something.”]
At the end of this life, I want to look back without regret. I’ll see seasons of life that were all mothering, and seasons that gave way to the art. But I’m certain I’ll not look back and see a life that somehow balanced it all.
And that’s okay.
In just one short month, my second book hits bookshelves!
We met for coffee on a balmy day. It was one of those Tampa days that makes you feel like maybe God loves Florida just a little more than any other place: 77 degrees, light breeze, salty air, and a few seagulls for effect – it was simply a lovely afternoon.
She drank her Americano, and I sipped my Chai Tea Latte, and we talked together about creativity.
I’m a writer; words are my escape from the world around me. Strung together, these words fill the canvas of my mind. They are my art, and I see the colors in each well thought out sentence.
She’s a baker. Her canvas is shortbread, and on it she paints with icing, creating images that are truly works of art, and that taste as good as they look.
We’re both moms, each of us trying to fit our art into our daily lives, and to figure out how to use these gifts of ours to the benefit of others.
“See,” she said to me, her eyes hidden behind dark glasses so that I could see the reflection of the palm trees behind me, “I didn’t always see what I do as being that useful.”
“How do you mean?” I asked.
“Well, I see what you do, how your words impact others, and it seems so valuable. But when I looked at what I was doing it all felt so…froofy.”
I smiled, because the word ‘froofy‘ is funny, and it should be employed more in the English language.
“I make cookies. Like, that’s all I’m doing. I see the value in great writing and music and art, but in a plate full of cookies? It just felt so silly.”
I nodded, and I blinked back a couple of tears, because there we sat, two creative moms, both of us trying to figure out how these things we loved fit into the grand canvas of this world.
We’re both so uniquely different, and yet we’re strikingly similar. And maybe you find yourself sidling up to the proverbial table with us.
There’s a unique Renaissance happening right now. Open up any online device, and you might notice it. Art and creativity are oozing through the internet’s pores, begging us all to see the world in different ways.
With the explosion of sites like Pinterest and Instagram, artists around the world have found a platform to showcase their God-given abilities.
And many of those artists are moms, showcasing their art from inside their homes.
They’re posting gorgeous pictures of their children, of their beautifully decorated homes. They make us drool over their spectacular cakes, and ponder life as we read their poetic words. We’re breathless at the photography, the paintings, the songs, and the beauty of it all.
My friend Wendy and I have watched this Renaissance explosion, and we’ve been entirely enamored by it. We started discussing ways that we could affirm these creative moms two years ago. Because while we see all the various forms of art displayed on our computer screens, we also know that it isn’t easy.
It’s hard to walk that line between art and motherhood. It’s hard to balance the need to create with the need to keep a house running smoothly. We see the beauty behind the photos where mom finds herself desperate for a few moments to dive into those parts of her soul that cry out for pretty things, and yet her time is limited.
As we prepare to launch this book into the world, we want to develop a community of women who celebrate one another. We want this to be a place where the cookie bakers and the photographers, the writers and home decorators, the jam makers, handmade shop owners, and artists of the world come together and rejoice in the beauty of art and motherhood all mashed up together.
This is a place for anyone who’s ever felt that maybe her gift was just a little too…froofy. This is for all moms, no matter what season of motherhood you’re in.
Wendy and I, along with our friend Alle McClosky, have launched an Instagram community specifically for those of you who are trying to fit the creativity into your life. It’s a place to be inspired, to build one another up, to share each other’s art, and to remember that God had a unique purpose in mind when He created you creative.
If you long to know more about this developing community, and to see your part in this online Renaissance, then sign up in the little green box to the right to receive these posts directly in your email inbox. I’d love to walk this Renaissance path together!
She took a toy marketed toward little girls, and she put the magic back into the doll. She stripped away the intended message, the over sexualized image, and she replaced it with innocence and imagination.
Sonia is “just a mom.” She had no aspirations to go viral, or to make a business out of recycled dolls. She just had a vision, a creative gift, and the confidence to try something different.
Dear creative mom, do you see the magic at your fingertips? That vision that you have has the power to impact, to move us all, to awaken imagination and inspire joy. Your creativity is needed, and it all starts right there inside your home.
Don’t hide your gift. Don’t tuck away in the closet in shame. Share it. Show the world what you can do.Because creative motherhood is the pulse of imaginative childhood.
Your creativity, your artistry, it matters. That furniture you’re repainting, the walls you’re adorning, the cakes you’re baking and cookies you’re decorating, those words you’re penning, songs you’re singing, canvases that you’re lavishing with color, those photos you’re taking, and the dolls you’re remaking – all of it matters.
Your gifts are necessary, moms. Your creativity is needed. Because who but you will show these children of the digital age how to play? Who but you will give them the confidence to dream?
When motherhood, creativity, imagination, and artistry collide, the result is nothing short of magical.