You've given yourself the inner space you need for your art journaling practice. You are committed. Now, let's find some actual time and space, shall we?
Before we begin, it's important to understand just one thing: you do not need that much time to enjoy a thriving art journal practice. You just need some time and I recommend scheduling regular time—but you just don't need all that much time.
Julie Fei-Fan Balzer teaches us that you can spend just 10 minutes a day. That totally works for me. I can come to my journal each day, add one thing and then another, and over time complete my pages. You could also art journal just one hour every week. Or two. Again, just try to commit to a regular schedule (routines keep us going in directions we set). However it works for you is what is important, but just don't feel like you need to find a lot of time to be successful. You don't.
You also don't need a lot of space—but now let's get to specifics.
You basically have three possible strategies to find the time and space you need:
- You can carve out time and space from your busy life.
- You can readjust the time and space you think you need.
- Or, you can review and shift your priorities.
The trick is to focus on the strategy or strategies that best apply to your life and then choose among the many tactical possibilities (listed in ABC order below).
Strategy 1: Carve out time and space
A. Re-order your mornings or evenings
Get up earlier or stay up later. You're either a morning person or a night person. Whichever time of day finds you with more energy, make time then to art journal. Remember, even 10 minutes!
B. Art journal instead of doing something else—somewhere else
You may not even need to add time or space, but rather change how and where you do it. Television comes to mind as something to replace with art journaling. Or how about art journaling while you watch tv?
Or, if you're like me and you pull out your iPad every morning first thing while still in bed—don't. Pull out your art journal instead.
C. Rearrange your time and space
One person I know leaves early for her commute to work, avoids commuter traffic and spends extra time gained in her car to art journal before she starts the work day. She of course relies on a mobile studio fitted for her car.
Try pushing one thing you typically do in the mornings to the afternoon or evening—or vice versa. Now, some activities are non-negotiable (like, say, brushing your teeth), but do you really need to do the dishes/clean the kitchen first thing? If you work at home (alone), why not let the kitchen sit as is and work in your art journal instead. Then, at lunch (when you make a new mess anyway, clean it all up).
Look at your schedule and consider how you might rearrange your commitments to accommodate your art journaling practice.
D. Start up or join a group
There's nothing like a regular commitment to a group to show up. It can be very rewarding to create with others—and maybe you can find a space outside of your home or rotate homes to art together, solving any space issues.
Strategy 2: Readjust the time and space you think you need
A. Don't "find" or "make" time—think about it differently.
We all only have so much time, but sometimes adjusting our views about your time can change everything. We talked about the importance of giving yourself inner space—but also check your expectations. If you think you need many hours to make art journaling a regular practice in your life, think again. As I said before, you just don't.
You can also combine art journaling time with another activity. I mentioned while watching television. How about while kids are doing homework? While talking on the phone? There are all kinds of activities that are conducive to art journal at the same time as that activity.
The point is, just think about time differently.
B. Find space in your crowded home—it's easier than you think
If you don't have a room to dedicate to your art journaling practice, no problem! Here are a ton of ideas:
- Set up a rolling cart like this one and get yourself a TV tray. Store them next to your couch...your bed...the kitchen table...
- While you're at it, claim a few shelves elsewhere in your house for art supply storage you don't always need on hand.
- Do you really need that dining room for dining? How often do you actually entertain/sit and eat with a large group? Dining rooms are often relics of a different age and never used for entertaining. Consider retrofitting your dining room into an art studio. Or, for dual purpose, set up cupboard with doors for your supplies so when you need to entertain, you can pull everything off the dining room table and store them away."
- Do you have multiple children each with their own rooms? How about you balance your needs with their (true) needs. Let two kids co-habitate and re-claim one room as an art room they can share, too. Isn't that better for everyone, anyway?
C. Art journal elsewhere
Set up a mobile art studio (a few necessary supplies and your art journal) and take it with you outside of your home—in your car while waiting for kids (or before/after a commute), a regular coffee shop spree, out on your patio in the summer. And of course, while traveling...
D. Look around your house for claimable space
You may not have a room for an art studio—but how about a corner in a room? Surely you can find a corner all your own.
Or how about the garage? Or...can you build an art shed. There are prefab kits, even.
Strategy 3: Review your current time commitments and consciously choose your priorities
A. Consider time spent volunteering
Many of us volunteer inour children's schools and/or in our communities. Civic service is important (just like everything else). But be conscious about your choices. How much time should you give? Where does your creativity fall in priority order with the amount of time you are giving? Only you can answer this, but again, at least be clear about your choices and your priorities.
B. Consider time with with other people
How much time do you spend with your spouse? Friends? Extended family? Our kids are different (see below), but for everyone else, think about how much time you give to other people and if/when it would be appropriate to withdraw to art journal. You don't have to take all your time away from people (nor should you), but again—shouldn't you take some time for yourself? That's not a rhetorical question!
C. Consider time with your kids
Parents prioritize their children—and they should, of course. Kids grow up fast and time with them is a limited resource. But time spent together art journaling can be the best time.
I would also say that in this helicopter parent age sometimes parents go too far with their kids (in my opinion) and give them 24/7 top priority status, when in fact it is better for them to learn that they must accommodate others, sometimes—and give you some space. I'm just saying. There's nothing wrong with telling your kids to entertain themselves for a short while while you work in your art journal.
D. Evaluate your time commitments for work
We often can't control how much time we spend at work, and I know how little time and energy is left. But if your own creativity is important to youhere's always necessary time spent at your place of employment—and then the extra time we often give away too easily. Consider setting boundaries where you can. For instance, what if you take back your lunch hour to art journal or, if possible, reschedule your days to accommodate just 10-20 minutes of art journaling. With a regular, short art journaling practice during your work week, your creativity and sense of well-being will surely benefit your career, too.
E. Health and self-care
From exercise to medical and dental appointments, to time in the hair or nail salon, time spent on care of your physical self is important and you wouldn't think of cutting these out. Which is great!
So how important is your creative self? I say, add art journaling to the list of important self-care activities and treat your art journaling practice just as seriously.
Oh, and bring your art supplies to some of those other appointments. You never know when you'll find yourself in a waiting room with extra time...
So. how many of these strategies and tactics could be useful in your time crunched, space-filled art journaling life? Chances are, there's more than a few small changes you could make to give yourself the time and space you need.
I guess I'm here to tell you: do it!