No matter how creative you may be and how high into the heavens your spirit may want to soar, sometimes you have to stay grounded here on earth and spend your time doing less-than-creative work in order to pay the oh-so-necessary bills. But worry not, dear right-brained lover of the arts! There are lots of easy and accessible ways to feed your creative spirit and forward your passions without giving up all worldly ties (like having a job that keeps your stomach fed and your electricity on).
Take a class
No matter what kind of creative work you’re pursuing, there’s always a ton to learn about your craft. With a simple Google search, you can find tons of information about the types of offerings your community might have. Be sure to look on Yelp to see if there are any reviews of specific teachers or more details about what the class might offer before you just cough up your dough on the first thing you find. Though, if you feel like the first class you find is the best option for you, totally do that, too. There is no “right” or “wrong” when it comes to creativity.
As a bonus, taking a class will allow you to meet more like-minded people who are also interested in your passion and could become your future supporters and collaborators.
If you live in an area that may be limited in terms of what it can offer you for your particular passion, don’t fret. Thanks to the beauty of the internet, you can find more information about literally anything you’re looking for.
Enlist a Partner
Flying solo isn’t always easy. That’s why most superheroes have sidekicks. Doing everything on your own can become both draining and exhausting, even if you absolutely love what you’re doing. Having an extra set of eyes and ears just as invested in your creative work can make a world of difference in your progress. Partners can help you not only with alleviating the workload itself, but also with keeping a great perspective on how far you really are progressing. Not to mention, just like enlisting a workout buddy to keep you in check, a creative partner can hold you accountable for making sure you stay on track in your own passion projects.
Create before work
Nobody loves the idea of getting up extra early. Some mornings, it’s hard enough to motivate yourself to get out of bed and get to work (usually thanks to the previous night’s Netflix and chill binge). But mornings can be some of the best times for your creativity and the best time to be alone and focus on your work. Just like getting a good workout in first thing after you wake up, why not work for 20 minutes on something you really care about or something that makes your spirit soar?
And if you absolutely know you’re way too rushed every single morning and don’t really wake up until after your 2 pm coffee (despite the fact that you’ve been technically moving all day), then you can always…
Unwind after work
Celebrate a different kind of Happy Hour by treating yourself to an hour of nothing but “you” time. Work on something you love doing. Practice something you want to get better at. Challenge yourself to do a little more than you did the day before. Even if you’re not working towards something specific, carving out a small amount of time every day will help you grow more into a better version of yourself.
Not only will it help shake off whatever stress you may be carrying from your day job, but it will also help remind you that there is a world beyond the 9-5 expectations of your desk persona. And you’re allowed to explore and enjoy that world which lies beyond.
Have productive lunches (even if it means sometimes eating alone)
So you’re schedule is absolutely packed. You’ve got obligations both before and after work that make it absolutely impossible to sneak in even a little downtime. Yet you have this creative dream you absolutely need to exercise despite your hectic schedule. Looks like you’ll have to make the most of that midday break you get every day. Use your lunch time to refuel both your body and your spirit by working on something that makes you happy.
Yes, it’s possible that means spending one or two lunches per week alone. But if you’re really as busy as it seems, you’ll likely appreciate a little time to yourself to work on things that are the most important to you (or even take the time to figure out what those might be).
Make the most of your weekends
If you work the traditional 9-5ish schedule (even if you find yourself working late many nights during the week), the weekends should be time where you can really do what you want. Be proactive about making the most of them. Do whatever you’ve got to do to quickly unwind from your week and then dive head first into a project your passionate about and don’t look back until Monday morning. Make it as important to you to show up for this creative work as it is to show up at actual work.
If you let mindless TV watching or internet scanning eat away at all your free time, you’ll be confused why you never have time to do the things you actually care about. So don’t just passively wait until you feel “inspired,” just sit down and make yourself do the work you need to do to pursue your creative dreams on the weekends just like you make yourself work hard during the week.
Do your own thing
It’s hard to continue to motivate yourself when you sometimes feel like you’re just going in circles. And sometimes, no matter how many classes you may take, you feel like you’re just going in circles and don’t feel that true sense of satisfaction you were originally hoping for. Well, jump start yourself out of it and do your own thing. Even if it’s a small project, figure out the steps you need to take in order to see it fully become a reality. The process of figuring out the steps, creating the project, and finishing it will be more satisfying than anything you could have ever imagined. Plus, it’ll help you be inspired and passionate to continue to improve your creativity and at every chance you get because you know you’re actually working toward something.
No matter how (or when) you find ways to continue to pursue your passion, just make sure you really treat it with respect. There’s no “one-size-fits-all” formula for forwarding your creative career. The only think that will guarantee your success (whatever that means for you) is if you really take the time to truly invest in it however you can. By taking consistent little steps, you’ll be able to make major strides towards really growing into and forwarding what you care most about.
So don’t let the fact that you spend 40 hours per week not doing what you love get you down. Be grateful you have the opportunity to have a stable income and use it to invest in the things you care most about.