This is going to be short and to the point. I want to tell you to climb that mountain. One step at a time. Climb that mountain.
I know you've got some good excuses. Work steals a lot of time. There's that daily commute. The mortgage is like a monthly ball and chain. It slows you down, but you need the house. You need the job. After all, it provides the health care and some dental coverage. I get it.
You're sick of all the blogging gurus lecturing about how to live our lives. And then there's Facebook. So many people documenting their glamorous lives. Ski trips, rock concerts, parties, cool pictures, fit bodies and smiles. Makes you feel like your own life is a dull version of ground hog day. Who has time for all those elegant photos and snappy memes about extraordinary living? Doesn't anyone have a demanding job, commitments, deadlines and fatigue?
Somehow, beyond the nine to five routine, day care runs and obligations, you have to squeeze in your art. You know, that sad little studio in the closet. Or maybe the garage. Ah, the garage. That was my first studio. It was chilly. In the summer it was warm. So I'd open the garage door and uninvited condo neighbors would stroll in to render judgement. "Is that Yosemite you're painting?" one neighbor would ask. "Nope. Idaho. Thanks. Think I'll scrape it and call it a day." Okay, I didn't really say that, but you get the gist. Sometimes you want to paint and be left alone.
My dear fellow artist, keep climbing that mountain. Don't give up on your creative spirit. Carve out time where you can. Don't let the digital lives of others depress you. Beyond the pretty pictures and smiles, they have their struggles too. Your art is like a dear old friend. She's always there. Always happy to see you when you can visit.
They say during those parenting years that the days are long but the years are short. It's true. The diapers, sleepless nights, little league, messy rooms and teenage angst. It'll pass and you'll wonder where it went. When you're in the thick of it that sounds far away. It isn't. But even during those hectic years, there is time for art. Where, you ask? How?
Start by giving the television a vacation. Same with that enticing laptop, with its digital rabbit holes. A quick jaunt through your Facebook timeline can kill an hour or more. That could be time in the studio.
Yes, you're tired. The creative mood is distant or asleep. Pick up the brush anyway. Push some paint around. Craft some poetry in that Moleskine journal. See what you can shape with that clay. Or what musical arrangement you can craft. Half the battle is just showing up. It works even better if you can set a schedule. Every morning at 530am? Or an hour before bed? Your internal rhythms will dictate.
You need to climb that mountain. Being an artist requires fortitude. You have to be a persistent soul. You'll have to learn how to say no to people. In a nice way, of course. But people will always spend your time for you, if you let them. I recently quit a service club I had been in for years. Lots of great people in that club. But my full time work as a police chief and family commitments left little margin for writing and painting. And I need that. Art rebalances me.
Seek simplicity whenever you can. I've learned that less is more. I used to run a personal writing blog on a Wordpress platform. It was versatile but the updates, plug-ins and other technical difficulties were a pain. Then I simplified a bit by going to a template site for artists. The customer service was outstanding and I didn't have to battle plug-ins, digital subscriber attacks and more. But later I switched to Squarespace, yet another template site, that I found even more flexible and user friendly. Bottom line, simplifying allows me to focus more on my artwork and writing.
So do me a favor. If you're discouraged or tired, don't give up. Keep climbing that mountain. Don't worry about those artists who are further along than you. This is your journey, not theirs. Push yourself, forgive yourself, but keep climbing that mountain. There is great joy in art and creativity, no matter what particular point you are on the mountain. Besides, it's a beautiful mountain, and a joyous place to spend your time.