Every morning, promptly at 9 am, I sit down at my computer and write. Sufficiently rested from an uninterrupted night of sleep, creativity pours out of me like hot syrup on golden pancakes.
As the daydreamy mist fades from my ideal working scenario, I look around at the reality of my life and confirm I am not sitting down every morning in a calm inspired state creating a masterpiece. In fact, I am crabby and lacking sleep because my 3-year-old woke up 5 times last night. Exhausted, I can feel the nerves in my body shaking as I catch myself pouring my morning coffee into the water dispenser for the iron.
My daughter tugs at my pants demanding pink milk, while my son declares from the family room that he wants breakfast. I close my eyes and mentally will them to find a quiet activity (like going back to bed) and stop treating me like a servant.
As our 8-month-old puppy chews on Barbie’s head, I demand myself to take control of this situation. After a deep inhale and exhale, I do some air punches to psych myself up and out of my crabby and impatient mood.
But not before I ask myself a pity party question,
“How on earth can I get inspired when I am so tired, have 2 kids, a puppy, and I am pregnant?”
“Excuses,” my stubborn and determined side replies. “You chose this life, you love it, and you need to make the best of the hard times. Pull it together and take on the day.”
Last week, I was chatting with my writing partner, Crystal, discussing how we “do it all”. Kids, housekeeping, spouses, work and in our spare time, both writing our first novels.
A great revelation came to me which I had never said out loud before:
“I have learned to accept, until my children are in school or at least able to be a little more self-sufficient, I will not be able to complete a task uninterrupted. Once I accepted having children=constant attention off myself and on them, my daily irritation decreased and I was able to get a lot more done.”
I often laugh at how selfish I really am, referring to my children as “interruptions” rather than the beautiful beings they are growing up to be and am finding the more time I take going on walks, playing games, and building forts out of couch cushions, the more time I have to get my own work done. By embracing the chaos of my day, I change my mindset and find a sense of peace which carries me productively through the day. (Disclaimer-I am working at being at peace everyday, so please know this take practice...)
Whatever you do during the day, by 8:00 at night, aren’t you ready to throw in the towel and veg out for the evening?
Maybe you have an idea for a business or an invention, or you desperately want a new job. All day you are consumed by the business of your daily life, which gets in the way of you spending time with your creative self. In turn, we ignore our natural voice of inspiration as we busy ourselves working overtime, paying bills, doing yard work, and cleaning house. Of course all of these tasks are important, but I get very distracted by my ever growing to-do list, forgetting my creative spirit is working over-time and ready to bust out! For years, I was ignoring these spurts of inspiration and chalking them up to silly ideas I would never expand upon.
Inspiration cannot be forced, nor can one be creative running on fumes, so how can you get motivated to find the extra time to write a book or find a career you love?
How I make getting inspired a little easier:
- Carry a notebook and pen around with you. In fact, I have strategically placed several books around my home for moments of unexpected inspiration. I simply jot down the gist of the thought and revisit it later. Sure I can hire childcare for “quiet office time”, but inspiration doesn’t schedule an appointment with me. It shows up at the most inopportune time, like when I am taking a shower or changing a diaper. If I quickly write my idea down, I can expand upon the thought when I do have a scheduled moment.
- Make the time. Let’s be honest. No one has the time to jam an extra activity into and already busy life, but you can make the time to do something you are interested in. The 30 minutes you spend on YouTube could probably be put on the back burner to allow time for researching that fantastic idea you have for a small business.
- Start with 15 minutes. Hate your job? Spend 15 minutes at home looking for a new position. 15 minutes doesn’t sound like much time, but if you take 15 minutes a day, that 15 will turn into an anticipated daily habit which will turn into 30 minutes, then 45 minutes...
- Stop making excuses and make it happen. One small step at a time. I hate sitting in misery waiting for something to happen to me. If you really want to make a change in your life, whether it be in your career, your finances, or your relationships, you have to commit to change. What do you have to lose? Of course, you probably can’t quit your job, but you can make a promise to yourself that you will one day be passionate about what you are doing. That positive shift in your mindset could be the jumping off point to propel you into a life you look forward to every day!
- Be willing to be inspired. Many people may call me silly, but I truly believe what you say is what you get. If I mope around telling everyone I know on Facebook I am having a lousy day, my head hurts, my job sucks, and I have a pimple, will I be in a good mood? No. Since I started speaking positive thoughts, darn it, I believe them! Today, I said, “Something great is going to happen to me today!” That one sentence set a positive pace for my day. If you open your heart to something positive, maybe something will happen. It’s worth a shot, right?
I am surprised at how many people tell me they want to write I book when I share with them that I am working on my first novel. My response is, "Just start. Now. Today." Get a notebook and feverishly write down all your thoughts. Maybe 75% of these ideas will be garbage and your will never use them again, but you have made the first step. Starting. And starting something new is the hardest step. Now, take 15 tiny minutes a day to expand upon those ideas and you are on your way! You might be a little unsure as to where you are going, but with inspiration flowing through you, it will be no time before you figure it out.
What has been on your to-do list for years? What is holding you back?
Stop putting your dreams up on a shelf, waiting for the right time. The right time to take the first step is now! Now, do it!