13 September 2010

It's About Time

{Recycled bike part clock by 1byLiz on Etsy}

"Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted."
John Lennon

I have been thinking a lot about time lately.
One of the things that I never have enough of is time. How about you?

It slips through my fingers. I lose it on a daily basis. I am not a wasteful person, and yet I find ways to waste it all day long. And I am certain that I don't appreciate all of it I have.

There is no way to manufacture more, so it is a precious commodity.

The wisdom of the hours would be something different for each of us.

{Clock from MBArtStudios on Etsy}

I spend 1/3 of my daylight hours on work. I sit at a desk with a lovely picture window view of the Wisconsin River. There are tree tops swaying in the breeze turning colors as I type. There are flocks of ducks and geese bobbing in the water, gathering together to plot the best course south. There is the water that can at one moment be smooth and glass like and gray or choppy with frothy white caps. But although the view is lovely, I feel that it is wasted time because I don't feel as if what I do is valued, and that is a waste of time. But this waste is particularly painful since I can't do a thing about it.

I can spend only an average of 4 hours a night working on my business. That is time spent wisely, but it is not always my best time. I may be a night owl, but it is incredibly hard to spend all my night hours forcing creativity. Sometimes it just isn't going to happen. Maybe it is foolish to force it, and sometimes that forcing makes me feel crabby at the same time that I am energized to be creating. So maybe it is a good, if draining use of my time.

This weekend was a lovely weekend to have a fair. Our annual major fundraiser for the Catholic school system that my kids attend was this past weekend. hundreds of hours of volunteering, coupled with hundreds of volunteers amount to thousands of dollars raised through this good old fashioned fair. There were carnival rides and games (we welcomed home a whole menagerie of expensive plush pets!), we won a fish (that will live with my friend Lynna in her 50 gallon aquarium resort), we ate our fill of cheese curds and elephant ears and cotton candy and snow cones, we entered raffles for a shiny new cherry red Mustang convertible (which we didn't win, much to the chagrin of my 12 year old son who insists that he have a car like that in oh about 4 years! hahahaha!) and an iPad and a basket raffle by each of the homerooms in the system (we won nada. zip. zilch). But all that fun and all that money is going to a good cause. So it was a worthwhile way to spend all my time this past weekend.

Which leaves precious little time to work on that which I know I should be doing. Because creating and growing and expanding my little beady empire takes time. A lot of time. Time spent planning and organizing and assembling and inventing. Time spent on paperwork (not enough by the stack that I have) and innovating and doodling. Yes, today while I sit here looking out the window on the river, I am also doodling my ideas for a special project that will be due soon. And daydreaming of spending my time actually creating it.

Tonight I will be dividing my time. There is the Rocket's 7th grade football game where I plan to step in as the unofficial staff photographer, the kick off to Tiny Dancer's modern dance lessons for the year, and then I am choosing to spending the first of 2 hours every other week attending the Working Artists Initiative. I think that this idea is definitely worth spending some of my precious time committing to.

My friend Rainy is involved with the International Arts Movement. According to their website, "IAM is a movement. A group of artists and creative catalysts united in wrestling with deep questions of art, faith and humanity. It is people who love art, who love others, and who love the world. This movement seeks to uphold and extol the work of all those who, by their craft, are rehumanizing our world."

The Working Artist Initiative is a pilot program of the IAM. I understand that there will be chapters in big cities like New York, but also here in the heartland where we are to prove it can be done. It is like a Mastermind group comprised solely of artists of various mediums all working on a 32 week goal-oriented program designed to not only help us stay on track with our individual goals, support each other through our various artistic mediums, but also expose us to opportunities in the arts.

I have to decide before this first meeting tonight where I want to focus my efforts, how I would like to spend my time. But I am not sure where to begin and I would love your input.

What do you think I would be a good way to focus my time during this process?

I need some sort of creative inspiration to make jewelry. I could focus on making one necklace or bracelet per week that is focused around a particular theme or color and chronicle the creative process through the blog.

I believe that I need to come up with something that could be a line of jewelry, something that I could call my own. I could focus on creating that line, making it the best I can make it and pursuing a market for it.

I would like to write a book and I am working toward that idea. I could focus on fleshing out that idea, outlining chapters, seeking other collaborators and making pieces that are worthy of being in print.

Or maybe you have some other ideas for me? I would be open to your suggestions.

"There's never enough time to do all the nothing you want."
~ Bill Watterson, 'Calvin & Hobbes'

How are you spending your time today?

Do you think you spend your time wisely?

Or is it foolish to think that you ever could?

Do tell!

Enjoy the day!


Brandi Hussey said...

That's such a hard question to answer for someone, because everybody's creative process is just slightly different.

I think you could mesh the creative inspiration with a new line easily. Then you'd be able to cross off two things at once!

As for the book, it helped me to plan out everything - the chapters, when I'd get them done by, etc. Once I started, I found out how much I could get done in two or three hours (the most I could work before I needed a break), so that helped me plan out what would be done by when.

I think if you maybe gave yourself tasks to do per day, like one day will be book writing day, that might help you feel better about using your time.

Alexandra said...

Oh, what a blessing that this is the first blog I've stopped in today.

I don't know...I keep thinking, how can I rob Peter to pay Paul.

I know what I should do with my time, but I also know what I want to do with my time.
I believe that if you don't plan it out, then nothing gets done.

I have no idea...all I know is that I don't feel that I am doing what I want to do.

I can't wait to see what your readers say.

Just knowing you feel as I do, takes the burden off for awhile.

Alice said...

Time, or lack of it, is very frustrating to me. When I'm not working I spend most of my time either doing volunteer work, spending time with my family, or cleaning & household stuff like bills, paperwork, organizing etc.

These are not necessarily bad things, actually, they are very good things. But they don't give me the time I need to create. In fact, I feel they suck the inspiration right out of me.

I like your ideas of creating a new line of jewelry, and writing your book. What a feeling of accomplishment it would be to see your ideas in print! Maybe you could spend a little time on each of these once or twice a week.

As for time, often I set a timer for each project I need to complete. This helps keep me on track while getting required projects done, and allows time for creating as well.

If you figure it all out, please let us in on the secret.

Pretty Things said...

I never have enough time, even less now than ever before.

I am a stay at home mom so the jewelry business is a full-time business, and theoretically, I make a lot of jewelry each week. Theoretically.

But with that comes lots of photos to take, lots of pictures to edit, to put on the web site (oh, and I've been building a new web site with developers since January)... buying new components, researching new trends, learning new things, writing tutorials, writing for three blogs, exhibiting at craft shows -- all of that while devoting waking hours to my son when he is in the house and not at school.

I used to do all my beading work at night, but with my new migraine issues that cropped up a year ago, I can no longer see colors well at night, so that's taken up a chunk of time.

So I'm with you. What I should spend my time on is always a conundrum.

Jenners said...

Time is something I never feel like I have enough of ... yet I feel like I waste a lot of it. But I think everyone needs to spend some time in mindless rambling ... be it creatively or physically. Forcing creativity into a few hours a night must be hard.

Davinia said...

I'm exhausted just reading all that you do. I'm so undisciplined when it come to managing my time. Now I've got a market stall on Saturdays,plus sometimes working 3 days a week I need to sort myself out and use my time better. I'm so easily distracted and thankful I don't have a beautiful view like yours or I'd just sit and stare at it all day.
I love the idea of your book and line of jewelry.

lunedreams said...

Well, I think all three of your ideas could go together! The line could be a theme based series, and you could write about the journey and how one theme flowed into the next! I bet you would be surprised to look back and see how all the designs, based on different themes, were a coherent whole. It would be an interesting, organic experiment and could be really cool to write about. Looking at your thematic choices would be an interesting way of exploring your psyche from the outside in. Like, "Hmm, what was THAT all about?" The whole series could tell your psyche's story.

Can't help you with the focusing, it's not something I know how to do.

Yeah, time is the log jam in my creative life too. I feel easily over-scheduled and have always needed a lot of fat in my schedule, time that is not dedicated, where I have options what to do with it. I get panicky and drained if I have no empty time, and I need a lot of empty time in order to create. And with my full time job I can only pursue a fraction of what I want to w/r/t jewelry, b/c of time and energy constraints, and just being moody. It's a kind of torture I'm having right now!

I'm sorry to hear your job situation offers you so few personal rewards. Feeling appreciated can help when you don't love what you actually do; feeling both unappreciated and uninspired must REALLY blow. I hope a door opens for you soon out of that situation! When you're ready to get out, it's just sick making to have to wait. Hang in there!

Cindy said...

Erin, I am so with you about the time issue! I am so keenly aware of it that it does cause a bit of stress. I am so afraid of wasting it and trying to use what little time that I have wisely...but then the next thing I know, it's gone and what did I do with it? I stay up late to do creative things just like you...but it's hard, like you said, to force it. And then I'm tired. So tomorrow is another day...another day to take one step closer to the goal that you chose!

Lori P said...

My hat goes off to anyone who works a full time job and practices their art (and second job) at night AND on top of that, run a family. Sheesh.

My husband and I were talking this weekend about how time-consuming it is to run your own business. I am going to need to seriously schedule my time better. I work 60-70 hours for part time artist wages. I'm lucky that I'm able to and wouldn't have it any other way, except to maybe up the wages. :)

Also, LOVE the top quote. My favorite time of day is the end, when I can just sit and read or veg out and NOT feel guilty.

Unknown said...

Other than work which is a necessary waste of time you have the time you just need to see it. The only thing I can say is that if you are not enjoying the time then you are wasting it! I know I have a different view of it with what I have been through but I discovered that the only way to truly have time is making sure you are doing what you want to do! Like your time set for studio work. Before you even start grab a drink, sit in a comfy chair and breathe. The process of creativity will flow so much better if you do. So what if it takes 15 minutes or a half an hour it is not wasted if it helps focus. I know there are deadlines but cramming for them won't produce the heart you put into your work, don't lose that! That is what makes you you!


sharon said...

I have to work a full time job, and like you I feel like it is a total waste of time, so I gather ideas in my head of what I will do later. I never feel like there is enough time, but I have learned that you cannot rush things. Every thing you do is to be appreciated. Illness has shown me that if it is meant to me, and you are doing your best, it will happen. Faith. I know you have it, and it will come to you.

Karin said...

I think you know where my vote goes...In fact, I was going to make a comment very similar to lunedreams.

Off the Beadin' Path said...

You must've "heard" me thinking about you today and wondering how you really do that nighttime creativity! I'm a night owl, too, but I have to wind down and stick to my deeply ingrained bedtime schedule now, as part of the insomnia management (oxymoron)! The other comments offered all good suggestions. Obviously, we're all feeling the time-crunch. I just bought some Bach Floral Remedy drops, Impatiens, for those who feel anxious and rushed for time. They are WONderFuL!! Prioritize, and then re-prioritize is good if you stick to it most of the time. My most recent goal is to accomplish one important task per day, the rest is a bonus. This would be in addition to brushing your teeth and going to work, etc. This helps with the guilt! I am strongly against cloning, otherwise, I would've done that a long time ago! Let us know how the suggestions worked out, this is a challenge for everyone. Give yourself a hug!

one-eared pig said...

May sound like a cop-out, but somewhere in your heart and brain, you already know. Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and you'll know. That's how I make my tough decisions. No matter which direction you choose, it's the right one.


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