Season 2 – epiBLOG 4:
Today is the final week for the FREEDOM theme in my blog series. I kept thinking about what I can share regarding “freedom” and “moving artists forward” in order to end this month in a strong way. It immediately came to me – why don’t we all feel like we have the ability to be FREE to do what we really want to do?
What do I mean by this? Many artists have day jobs, spouses, children, siblings, school, personal responsibilities, and so forth. Each one of us has 24 hours in a day to pick and choose the activities that we will do during that 24 hour increment. As much as we hate to admit it, those of us that still have them, we’ve even chosen our day jobs. Just a sidebar, always make sure to take responsibility for everything that you control because within that responsibility, you have the power to change your circumstances. There are several ways to make money legally and ethically. Take the responsibility to figure out the option that works for you.
Making money is more than likely at the top of your list of priorities because for some reason it is fun to eat, drive a car, have a roof over your head, and use the internet in your own home. A big part of our day is spent making money, figuring out a way to make more money, or figuring out how to make any money at all.
For some of you, guilt even seems to slip in your mind the moment when you think of returning to your laptop to complete that script that you haven’t worked on for months, to start that business that you’ve always wanted to start, picking up that paint brush and canvas, or even when you think of opening up your notebook to complete that song you were writing. Thoughts like, “I have to make money before I write.” “The rent is due.” “My business idea is stupid.”
You end up feeling bad about wanting to do something that makes you feel good. Like you don’t have a right to want something good because you haven’t figured out a way to make enough money to take care of your responsibilities simultaneously. Then you get bitter because you aren’t doing what you love, but you’re only doing what pays you. What if you can have both? What if you can get paid for doing what you love? Well, that’s all a matter of figuring out how to bridge that gap.
I’m sure you’ve read about this in an earlier blog of mine. I preached this message all of the time to my Effective Speaking students at the Art Institute. I’m a firm believer in the freedom to get paid for what you love to do.
One thing that I know about artists is that we love to create! If you’re a writer, you more than likely love to write into the wee hours of the morning from writing overnight or some of you like to wake up early to start your day as a hardworking scribe. If you’re a comedian, you more than likely shine when you are telling jokes on the stage in front of a group of people. If you love singing, you probably look for any opportunity that you can get your hands on so that you can share your voice with an audience that is eager and willing to listen. What is it that stops you from living out your dream career on a daily basis?
You only have 24 hours in a day, but that’s all that any of us have. There are successful people and unsuccessful people in the world. What do the successful people do with their 24 hours?
If you’re married or in some sort of a relationship, part of that 24 hour period of time needs to be spent nurturing that relationship, or I promise you, you will no longer have it to take care of. The same goes for your relationship with your children, siblings, parents, and you’ve guessed it, with your art.
Whatever you don’t feed, gets malnourished and eventually dies. Is that not what happens to people when they are deprived of food and water? Deprivation harms several parts of our lives.
What can you do in 24 hours that puts a smile on your partner’s face or something that reminds your kids that you love them? If your child has a dance recital at school, can you make it a point to put it in your calendar to be there NO MATTER WHAT? If you have a child away at college, schedule a reminder in your cell to text them once or twice a week just to let them know that you love them. If you like to create your art late at night when the rest of your home is asleep, schedule that time in to do so. Or are you willing to set your alarm to wake up 30 minutes extra early before having to get ready for work in the morning to use that 30 minutes to paint, sculpt, write, sing…?
What can we do with the time that we are given? They’re 24 hours in every day. Part of your day can be to focus on your art without feeling guilty or apologizing for it. Schedule the time to do so. It never happens, unless you make it happen. Waiting for inspiration is too unpredictable and it’s the cause of people not getting anything done – that is, the idea of “waiting.” If it’s in your schedule, you will do it and you can eliminate that feeling of guilt. Right now, you have the FREEDOM to figure out a way to make money doing what you love to do so that each of your days are filled with doing tasks that brings you joy. I’m not advising anyone to quit their day job and not take care of responsibilities. What I am saying is to figure out a way to buy your day back. Figure out a way by giving a little bit of your scheduled time towards activities and people that are important to you because it is within this “giving” that you will find the gifts that are waiting for you. Eventually, you will not need your day job any longer and your 24 hours will be spent doing exactly what you want to be doing, as well as making a living.
Today’s LESSON is to respect each hour that you’re given by scheduling in the activities and people that mean the most to you. This is how you will move forward. This is how you will live the life that you desire.
FUN ASSIGNMENT: (1) Right now, write out what YOU THINK a typical day looks like for you – from the time you wake in the morning until you go to sleep at night. Include the details. Then… (2) for two consecutive days, use a journal to track what you ACTUALLY do from the time you wake up until you go to sleep at night. The more detailed you are here, the more you will be able to figure out what activities that you can eliminate from your schedule because they are NOT moving you forward. Here is where you can also see what is working in your favor. Next, (3) write out what you would LIKE your IDEAL 24 hour day to be. Be sure you’re writing down the actual TIME of when you would like to begin an activity. This will help procrastinators a lot. Compare these 4 lists that you’ve created. Circle the activities/people that bring joy to your heart. With these circled items, make sure you’re including these as part of your regular schedule so that you are doing MORE of what you LOVE. Finally, (4) get in the habit of writing out a specific and realistic daily “to-do” list the night before. Writing this out the night before helps you to feel mentally prepared for the next day. Schedule the top 3-4 activities that are the most important and must get done that day no matter what. This is your schedule that you need to stick by. If it’s an hour reading to your children and another hour writing, do it. Writing out a schedule and/or to-do lists helps you to achieve short term goals and to also feel like changes in your life are possible because they are manageable.