Dear Dr. Maisel:

I was hoping to have more time for painting when my youngest child went to college, but I’m still having trouble finding time in my day. Any suggestions?

Too Busy in Boise


Dear Too Busy (if I may):

In the sense in which you are using the word, time is not something that is found, it is something that is made . If your art truly matters to you, you must make time for it. This naturally raises the question, does your art truly matter to you? You might presume that it does, since it is always tugging at you and always on your mind. But it may be the case that the reasons not to create actually outnumber the reasons to create, causing you to lack sufficient motivation to crack through your everyday resistance to creating and actually get to the paper.

If you conclude that you really mean it that you intend to create, then your next task is to schedule your art-making as a top priority, meaning that it ought to come first thing every day, before the tasks, errands, and responsibilities of the day take over. Yes, this may mean that you are obliged to move your journaling, exercise, yoga, or other beneficial morning practice to another time of the day, but there is no better way to make time for your art than to make time for it first thing each day. If this means that you need to get up an hour earlier than your currently do – then that is what it means.

It is profoundly important that you create and maintain a daily art practice, because, as you know, if you miss two or three days you are in danger of losing months and years. Once we allow ourselves to miss days, huge swatches of time tend to disappear. Your jobs are to settle that you really intend to make art and to make time each and every day (with the occasional day off ) for your art-making. Good luck to you in instituting a wonderful daily morning art-making practice!


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