Making Room For Making Art

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I’m having one of those times when I can’t seem to get anything done. I’m not even sure why. Is it my health that is causing this severe lack of enthusiasm for anything? Is it the huge list of household chores that is draining my interest? Is it merely those lazy days of summer that’s slowing me down? Perhaps it’s all three.

Whatever the cause, my creative projects have all slowed to a snail’s pace. I can’t seem to focus on my novel. Last week, I got so distracted that I forgot to write a blog post, and when I realized I hadn’t done it, I didn’t care. I want to spend time in my studio sewing or drawing, but when I get there, I can’t seem to find anything I really want to do.

When I get this disconnected and feel this lost, I turn to Julia Cameron’s books for insight and advice. This time, I read the first chapter of Walking in This World and as always, she had something to say that I really needed to hear.

There is room for art in any life we have — any life, no matter how crowded or overstuffed, no matter how arid or empty. —Julia Cameron, Walking in This World , p. 16

It doesn’t matter if I’m sick, or tired, or busy, or it’s summer. I can make space for art. It may be a tiny space — five minutes — or a silly project — knitting a sweater for a dinosaur — but whatever I do will help. It will keep me connected to my creativity and make it easier to take advantage of it when my enthusiasm and energy return.

In the meantime, I’ll do what little I find that feels good. I’ll add doodles to a letter for my nephew. I’ll wind yarn into balls, enjoying the feel and color. I’ll read through my novel notes to keep the story in my mind. I’ll keep listening to my heart to find out what I really want to be doing. Once I know, I’ll make time to do it.

Do you struggle to find time for your art? How do you restore your enthusiasm when you are worn out?

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Kit Dunsmore

Kit Dunsmore has believed in the magic underlying the muggle world since she was a child searching for the Shetland pony pooka she was sure was hiding in her back yard. She learned early on that books were magic doors into other worlds, and that she could revisit a beloved character or place by opening the right book. As she grew, she decided she wanted to make magic with words, too. Today Kit writes about things she loves: poodles and dragons, witches and artists, quirky underdogs and loyal friends. Whether her setting is 6th-century England, the imaginary Twelve Kingdoms, or an art-obsessed version of modern America, magic always finds its way into her story. She enjoys turning fairy tales inside out and watching characters sacrifice everything to reach their goal, but she also believes in happy endings. When she isn't writing, Kit experiences magic by making things with her hands. Over the years, she's made quilts, fabric sculptures, collages, sweaters, and blank books. Her newest interest is learning how to spin her own yarn, a skill guaranteed to strengthen one of her many delusions: that she is a self-sufficient pioneer woman. She also thinks she is a hobbit, a witch, an artist, and a good cook. Living in the foothills of Colorado, Kit enjoys the giant skies and prairie landscapes which suit her need for wide open spaces. In addition to hiking through glorious scenery with her husband or imagining herself living in the Middle Ages, Kit works as a pillow for her miniature poodle and polishes the next small piece of her handmade life.

2 thoughts on “Making Room For Making Art”

  1. I am struggling to find time full stop. You’re blaming Summer. I’m blaming Winter. I’ve been hibernating during the day having naps with my electric blanket on. Bliss! I have got some writing done and I’ve been doing some cooking and turning that into blog posts but I do feel like the flame is barely alight. That my usual enthusiasm has almost died out. Sometimes, I feel so close to breaking through with my writing but something comes along and I’m still not there. That said, I am getting closer. Much closer but in a way that makes it even more painful. I can almost touch the goal and yet it’s still slipping away.

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    1. I find that both summer and winter are slow times for me. I’m more enthusiastic about writing in the spring and fall. To be slow and less productive in winter makes sense to me: hibernation is a winter-time event. But to slow down in summer always puzzles me.

      A big piece of my problem is that I’ve let my creative well dry up (as described by Julia Cameron). So I am spending time on activities that I enjoy that have nothing to do with writing (like sewing and drawing), treating myself to some gifts (new notebooks!), and exploring things that intrigue me (bullet journals). I’m also making plans to take myself on Artist Dates, because those really do help me to feel better and find the joy again. Most of all, I’m not beating myself up for going slowly right now. I’ll be writing more soon, I’m sure. I just have to give myself space to recharge.

      I hope you find a way to recharge, too!

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