Make Time for the Important Things (and not always work)

Make time for the important things

It's Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. When I decided to return to my blog after a few years hiatus, I thought the best strategy would be to post something on Fridays. Generally, this will be something showcasing the paintings I'm working on, or sharing some painting insights about my technique or subjects. But today is different, it's a sort of holiday, and instead I thought I'd just share a few brief personal thoughts about why it's important, particularly as an artist, or creator in any capacity, to make sure to take breaks and celebrate the people and fur babies who make life special. 

When you work for yourself, there is a tendency to overwork. My thoughts are often consumed by what I'm working on, what I'd like to work on, how far behind I am in my schedule, how much I need to fix various things on my website, how I should be taking new reference photos, how I should be posting more often to social media, etc. It's always in the back of my mind that ultimately I want to both make the best work I can, and realistically I need to make a living at it, which means I need to put in the hours. I'm dedicated, sometimes putting in up to 80 hours a week when I can, particularly if I'm getting close to a deadline, like an exhibition. On top of that, there's the everyday life stuff, taking care of family, home, pets, etc. There often isn't a lot of time left in the day just to slow down and celebrate the things that make our lives happy, that make them meaningful.

Don't get me wrong, I love painting, I really do. But when I force myself to take breaks, to live in the current moment, and just be still and peaceful, I find that I am so much the better for it afterward, both personally and professionally.

So today, I could have been working; I could have edited some images, or gone back to the painting I'm trying to finish by the end of the month. I could put that pressure on myself. But instead, I took the day to spend time with my husband, to snuggle with my cats, to put out some Christmas decorations, to cook a little post-holiday food, do a few random tasks, and relax with some of my hobbies (those things I don't give myself enough time for). And yes, I decided to put out a quick blog post, but really, this is just a few minutes, and I'm hoping it will reach someone who needs it. 

If you are a creative person trying to make a living - an artist, a writer, a YouTube content creator, a designer, or any other small business owner - I hope that you occasionally take time to just slow down and have a life outside of your work. It's important, even though it doesn't always seem so when you are in the thick of things. 

Here's a favorite quote of mine from "Scrooge," the 1970 musical movie adaptation of the Charles Dickens' classic book "A Christmas Carol," as spoken by the Ghost of Christmas Present:

"There is never enough time to do or say all the things that we would wish. The thing is to do as much as you can in the time you have."

Happy Holidays!


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