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Overcoming Creative Excuses

Updated on September 21, 2019
PAINTDRIPS profile image

Denise has been studying and teaching art and painting for 40+ years. She has won numerous prestigious awards for her art and design.

Mad Mushroom Fairy photo composite
Mad Mushroom Fairy photo composite | Source

Things That Get In The Way of Your Craft

When I asked a number of my friends what was the number one opposition to working on their craft every day I got a variety of answers but most were related to time, space, and family. Do you relate to any of these?

Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us have to show up and get to work.

— Chuck Close

What do you think is the #1 opposition you have had to working on your art every day?

See results

Interruptions and Distractions

Becky: Interruptions and Distractions.

We all have things that are pulling at our attention and demanding immediate action, from jobs to family to commitments. But they don’t have to dissuade you from making time for the joy of art. I have learned to squeeze a little time in for my projects even when I only have half an hour to spend. You make time if it is important enough.

Azzy the Water Pixie photo composite
Azzy the Water Pixie photo composite | Source


Sally: Motivation!

Lupe: It’s too much trouble to pull everything out and then have to put it all away again for dinner.

Judith: When I start a clay project- I get to work extra early on it. Sometimes I just need a day off from it. Usually, I am just lazy.

My friend Lupe didn’t have a designated place to do her art and so she had the problem of pulling it out but then having to put it all away. My aunt is an avid seamstress who created artistic clothing and quilts. When she moved in with her son, she had the same problem. She didn’t feel she had the freedom to pull out her quilting without having to put it all away after a couple of hours.

I agree that’s a real problem. In my home, my dear husband and I have allowed ourselves “stations” where we can leave projects out on an ongoing basis. My station is filled with paintings, collage pieces, markers, brushes, paints, colored pencils, specialty scissors, rubber cement, charcoal pencils, erasers, and even a variety of knitting needles. As long as I don’t start to sprawl over the house, we are in agreement.

My suggestion is to find a spot you can call your own where your craft can be out and stay out. It is like anything else in life: my make time and space for what it really important to you.

Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.

— Vince Lombardi
Flower Bulb Fairy
Flower Bulb Fairy | Source


Lysa: Anxiety, honestly. The feeling of 'other things are more important right now and need to be done right now' and then 'now I'm too tired to do the art’.

Laurie: The anxiety of "will it look right", "will it be the way I mean for it to be?" And then the distraction of the dog needs to go outside.

Do you let anxiety keep you from being creative? It is a real problem. Winston Churchill called it “The Power of the White.” I wrote about this in another place so I won’t repeat it here. It is sufficient to say that it is real and you are not alone. In the Power of the White story, the suggestion is just to begin, make a mark, do something to overcome it, to destroy the power of the white.

Reclining Fairy
Reclining Fairy | Source


Lisa: Family commitment and the guilt of not contributing financially to the household when taking time to do my art.

Vicki: Real life gets in the way every day.

I know I’ve often felt that problem. I am taking time and funds away from the household budget to create my heart’s desire with no guarantee that it will ever sell or contribute back to the family budget. I am blessed with a husband that not only understands the love of creating but is a creative himself. We spend our retirement creating and working on our crafts to our heart’s content with no real thought of trying to sell it or make it contribute back to the budget. It is a happy extra blessing when something sells and we have more to spend on our respective crafts.

Yesterday’s the past, tomorrow’s the future, but today is a gift. That’s why it’s called the present.

— Bil Keane
Lavender Fairy
Lavender Fairy | Source

When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece.

— John Ruskin


However real life does happen. I do have to stop and fix dinner. The mundane of life is a real responsibility. I have to go shopping for groceries, I have to clean the bathroom, dishes need to be washed, the bed has to be made every day. But all these things don’t have to keep me from ever creating. I just have to make the space and time for them in-between real commitments like chores. If I were independently wealthy like Mary Cassatt or Georgia O’Keeffe, I would hire maids and cooks for those things, but I’m not. I just make the time for each thing on purpose.

The Water Fairy
The Water Fairy | Source

What's Important?

Like I said before, you will make time and space (and funds) for the things that are important to you. The question is then, is your creativity important to you and will your family support you in that endeavor. If you can get your family backing at least a small amount to the creative effort, they will find a happier and healthier you in return, I’m sure.

Ocean Bottom Pixies
Ocean Bottom Pixies | Source

Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.

— Leo Tolstoy

Final Thoughts

It seems to me that if art is more than a hobby to you like it is to me, you will find a way to overcome any obstacle. For me, it is my life. It is a divine spark that God put in me from the very beginning and I would dishonor Him not to use it every day.

Creative Comments Welcomed

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    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      5 months ago from Fresno CA

      Dora Weithers,

      You make a good point. It's the things like marketing that I'm terrible at and tend to put off. Thanks for commenting.



    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      5 months ago from Fresno CA

      Heidi Thorne,

      I didn't get that into the Tuesday Newsday thread but maybe it isn't too late to try again. I'll see if I can remember it. Thanks for commenting.



    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      5 months ago from Fresno CA

      Eric Dierker,

      I'm a terrible procrastinator and often put off stuff I know should be done. Like publishing and marketing. I like the fun part; the art part. But I hate the technical stuff. Still, it has to be done. Thanks for commenting.



    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      5 months ago from Fresno CA

      Mary Norton,

      That is the plate we all try to juggle: balance. I find I could easily stay in my chair drawing or painting all day long but it wouldn't be good for me physically if I did. I have to force myself to do my yoga first thing in the morning or I won't do it at all. Thanks for commenting.



    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      5 months ago from Fresno CA

      Lorna Lamon,

      That makes perfect sense. I like to do the same. Sometimes I knit or sew by hand in the evenings in front of the TV where my husband and I watch old movies we have on DVD. It is very relaxing. Thanks for commenting.



    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      22 months ago from The Caribbean

      People are usually passionate and successful in their area of giftedness. You exemplify that. Some of these excuses may have come from people who find it easier to work at other interests but your suggestions benefit us all. Thank you.

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 

      22 months ago from Chicago Area

      I think it's the distractions we can't control that are the most challenging to our creativity! Actually, it might be our attitude about external distractions that's the real problem. Good insight on an issue a lot of creatives have. Have a great week!

      BTW, you might want to share this article in our Tuesday Newsday post comment thread in the Self Published Author Network FB group tomorrow (I usually post it in the morning - so watch for it). I think a lot of our members might have the same challenges you and I do.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      22 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      How cool is this. Great article. Thank you. I do not really have trouble doing my craft, it is publishing it that is the problem. Maybe laziness.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      22 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      Denise, you have encouraged me and I have started doing some practice with watercolour and I am having fun that I don't want to go out anymore which is not good as I need to walk as well. Creating balance is indeed a discipline.

    • Lorna Lamon profile image

      Lorna Lamon 

      22 months ago

      Such a thought provoking article Denise and one that I can certainly relate to. Finding time is difficult as I tend to work long hours which in turn means I am tired. However, I usually try to set aside some time during the week in the evening when I am relaxed. As writing helps me to relax I will always make time to write regardless of how hectic life is.


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