Chances are, one or both of these statements have come out of your mouth:
"I want to art journal, but I don't have time.
I want to art journal, but I don't have the space in my house."
I totally get it because I was one of those people once. I completely abandoned creative me time for years. I fully believed I was too busy AND I didn't have an extra room in our house. I put away my sewing machine, stopped writing in my journals, stored extra craft paint in tiny shelves in a dirty corner of the garage—and meanwhile, encouraged my kids to bring out their art supplies to the kitchen table while I cooked dinner. There I was, night after night, a full and busy work day behind me, and hours more of clean-up, homework help, bedtime rituals—and television—ahead. Meanwhile, I was wishing I had the time and the space to create.
It's not just a problem for busy moms either. Anyone juggling punishing work hours or extended commitments while harboring unrealized, secret yearnings for creative outlet are quite sure. I just don't have time and/or I just don't have space to art journal.
As you might imagine, I'm here to tell you you've got it all wrong. Don't wait as long as I did to get this issue figured out.
You do have time and you do have space for your own creativity—but what you need first is inner space.
Carving out physical time to be in the moment with your art journal and carving out physical space to pull out your supplies is much more about inner space than out.
I mean, yes, finding real time and space can be challenging, but there are all kinds of great strategies to rethink and tactics to problem solve time and space issues.
But before you turn to your schedule and tackle some interior re-design, know this: None of those otherwise excellent strategies will work for you if you don't first address your inner space issues.
Before you make room in your life, you need to make room in your heart and mind.
And here's how in three not so easy steps:
1. First, give yourself permission.
Think about how you feel about taking creative time (and space) for yourself. A tad bit guilty? Is there a voice inside that claims you would be selfish to take take time (or space) for art journaling? Are there a lot of "shoulds" in there about what you should do instead?
That would not be surprising. Especially for women, we are bombarded with messages from the outside world about taking care of others first and being a "good" wife-mother-fill in the blank job title. And most of those ideas get terribly distorted when we internalize them.
We are not selfish to take time to nourish our own selves creatively. And by the way, we do not owe anybody including our spouse, our kids or our boss, all of our time.
If you want to art journal, if you know in your heart that an art journal practice would enrich your life for any or all of the reasons we talked about here, then you should honor that yearning. Give yourself permission inside, first.
2. Next, shift priorities
You want to art journal, you value what an art journal practice will do to open you up creatively, build skills, connect you to your vital self and quite possibly lead you to creative places you don't even know about yet. In other words, you get your why. Now it's time to do the hard inner work of shifting priorities in your life so that your art journal practice is among those at the top.
Notice I didn't say replace what are your highest priorities.
We don't want to cut out our current priorities from our lives...our kids, our health, our relationships, our jobs (okay, most of the time, anyway).
But if you acknowledge that your creative self is important, too, and an art journal practice stands among not below your other priorities, you can make choices in small ways.
You can say no to others, sometimes.
You can withdraw from the company of others, sometimes.
You can pick and choose your commitments and obligations and certainly what you do with your leisure time, sometimes.
In other words, you can re-shift your inner sense of your priorities—and then find some time and space (with these specific strategies and tactics) to accommodate all of your priorities, including your art journal practice.
3. Finally, don't forget to address the real reasons you think don't have time and space to art journal
This may be the most difficult part. You can confront your feelings of guilt, shift your priorities and carve out physical time and space—but can you be in the moment?
Can you slow down long enough, release all that control you want over the outcome, and simply be there in that time and space?
These are not simple questions nor are there simple answers. We humans can feel a whole lot of resistance and fear when we take creative risk. That 'ol Inner Critic will work overtime, sometimes.
Your mission if you choose to accept it is to show up anyway.
Don't believe for a moment physical time and space is what really prevents you from doing so.