Have Trouble Making Time for Art?

By February 12, 2013Uncategorized


Is this You?

“I would love to take art classes…maybe someday…”
“I never seem to be able to find the time to paint at home…”
“I keep saying I’d like to learn to paint, but I never seem to do it.”
“Someday, I’ll find the time to paint.”
“I’ve always wanted to learn how to paint…”
“I used to paint, and now I’m retired and should have the time, but I seem busier than ever…”

I hear these kind of statements from people all the time.  In my job as Art Class Coordinator at Art & Soul Gallery in Myrtle Beach, I encounter lovely people who haven’t ever allowed themselves, or who won’t allow themselves the pleasure of pursuing their artistic goals.  As a teaching artist, even I struggle with allowing myself the time to pursue my artwork. 

I have struggled with this problem, and it seems many women I know also seem to have difficulty giving themselves permission to carve out time for their art and for themselves.

Is it really lack of time?  Or is it something more insidious?  As a very wise old woman once told me,

  ” You always have time for what is really important to you.” 

If art is important to you, why are you having trouble making time for it?

Diagnosis-  Productivity Trumps Creativity

Our modern culture may be more sophisticated, but the demand on all of us to be more productive leaves little space in which to be creative.  In my experience, creativity is born of a certain sense of spaciousness…both in my schedule and in my head.  When I can relax and not worry about time and deadlines is when I can move into Right-Brain Mode and do my best artistic work. Finding that spaciousness may not just happen, we may need to create that space…we may need to “Fight for the Right” to be Creative!

“I’ll-just” Syndrome

I recently read a post by online blogger Lesley Riley.  She identifies the “I’ll-Just” Syndrome as a major problem for those of us trying to carve out time for our artwork. According to Ms. Riley, the signs and symptoms of this syndrome appear immediately before sitting down to make art.  I think these symptoms might occur then or anytime you might want to do something merely for the pleasure.  See if these symptoms sound like you…

  • I’ll just throw in a load of laundry
  • I’ll just rinse those dishes
  • I’ll just call Mom
  • I’ll just check my email
  • I’ll just tidy Annie’s room
  • I’ll just get the grocery shopping out of the way
  • I’ll just clip my toenails
  • I’ll just post on Facebook
  • I’ll just put away…
  • I’ll just relax a bit
  • I’ll just go get…
  • I’ll just clean up…
  • I’ll just straighten up…
  • I’ll just…
  • I’ll just…
  • I’ll just…

Take heart!  If you are allowing this to get in your way, perhaps there is hope!  I had a friend who for many years scheduled herself a day off from other pursuits. Everyone knew that Thursday was her day off, and we didn’t ask her to lunch, or expect her at meetings on Thursdays.  How about that for a novel idea?  Don’t you deserve a day off?

What if you took a day of the week, and let everyone know it was your art day or your art class day?

If that’s not possible, you might note this suggestion from Ms. Riley. Her cure for what ails you is the following 10-Step program.
10 steps to help overcome I’ll-just Syndrome:

  1. Recognize you have a problem.
  2. Acquire a calendar, planner or scheduling system. 
  3. Group like activities together. ie: Laundry & housework on Monday; errands Tuesday AM; social media 7-7:30; etc. etc.
  4. Schedule no-excuses studio time on a regular basis, OR take a class which will help you be accountable for spending time on your artistic pursuits. 
  5. Show up and remain at the appointed studio or class time whether you feel like it or not.  If others need something from you at that time, let them know that you have a class or an appointment.  You don’t need to explain what you are appointed to do…keep that appointment with yourself!  
  6. Pass by or delay all I’ll-justs until their appointed time
  7. Maintain a notepad on your studio table to write down all distracting I’ll-just thoughts while working
  8. Repeat steps 3-7 consistently until improvement is evident.
  9. Remind yourself daily that you are in control of your artistic future.
  10. To ensure excellent physical, mental and artistic health, make this treatment a part of your wellness plan.

    If you’d like to schedule an art class to combat the I’ll-Just Syndrome, contact me and I’ll try to help you find just the right class. I teach regularly.



    I now offer classes in my home studio (which is newly renovated for that purpose).  Contact me for more information.

Major Portions Extracted from:
Lesley Riley, The Artist Success Expert, is the creative founder of Artist Success, Solutions for the Struggling Artist. To receive her bi-weekly articles on creating your own success as an artist, visitwww.ArtistSuccess.com.
Rebecca Zdybel

Author Rebecca Zdybel

Artist, Instructor, Art-Travel Instructor - Spread Light, Share Love, DO Art! Rebecca Z Artist (Rebecca Zdybel) is an artist and instructor in Myrtle Beach, SC. She blogs and teaches locally and internationally. Sign up for her blog, classes, workshops, art travel tours, or see her work at ArtMyrtleBeach.com.

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