When I worked full-time as a high-school administrator, one of the most difficult things for me to learn was that investing in my creativity was just as important as creating a daily rhythm. It just wasn't a priority. Maybe a huge piece of this was because I was exhausted the moment i walked in the door, but also it was because I couldn't see myself as a true artist yet.
But once I started to take my art seriously, things fell into place. It's more of an equation than a magic pill. More investment = more production. Little investment = little production.
The Investment of Cash
I'm going to go ahead and get this one out of the way because it's pretty much where our minds run to when we hear the word investment. Someone once told me that we hold more value over something we purchase. Especially with the online market, I find this to be true.
This past fall, I knew my creative side needed some help with branding. There was a well-known eCourse going viral on Facebook that was completely free. I signed up fast for that opportunity, and then never made it to a call. However, around the same time, I found Hey, Sweet Pea and fell in love with their message and signed up for My Own Irresistible Brand, their online branding school. This was instrumental in me owning my voice as a creative entrepreneur. It took a calculated investment on my part to carve space large enough for this to take priority. (No really. The day I signed up was the day my husband lost his full time job). But I did it. For half of October and all of November I hunkered down, watched the videos, and completed the worksheets. What you're reading is a result of those moments of investment.
What this could look like: buy books on topics you're wanting to research. Some of my favorites on creativity are When Women Were Birds, Manage Your Day-to-Day, Bird by Bird, and Walking on Water. Purchase the necessary supplies to paint that canvas collecting dust in the corner. Sign up for story-coaching.
The Investment of Time
Creativity means nothing if we're not willing to spend time on it. This goes for whatever stage of life you find yourself. I've known people who write books in ten minute increments, between soccer practice and dirty diapers. I've also known people who write books in one fell swoop, digging deep for a period of a few weeks in order to knock out the words.
But this is more than just producing a product. For me, the investment of time looks a lot like whether or not I'm art journaling. Am I creating just for me? Am I taking the time I need to remember why I love paint on my fingers or words on the page? If I'm not, the heavy-chested feeling is close behind and threatening to take over my busy schedule.
What this could look like: take a serious look at what information you're consuming on a day-to-day basis. THIS TAKES TIME. How much time is spent on Facebook? Twitter? Pinterest? Netflix? What would happen if you flipped that time and used it to jot a few notes down in your journal or fling some paint? Maybe you could read some of the books you purchased in an attempt to invest cash into your art?
The Investment of Emotional Attachment
This is a big one for me. Without an emotional attachment, I can't get anywhere with my creativity. I have to want to write. And in order to achieve that want? I have to believe it's worth it. That I'm worth it.
Spoiler: you're worth the investment in your creativity.
One of the biggest reasons it took me so long to begin to consistently invest in my creativity is because I couldn't make the mental shift from my creativity is a habit to my creativity is essential in how I live. Once I made this shift, investment was easy. I recognized the inherent need to tell stories and work my thoughts out through paint. Even if I'm focusing on cleaning the apartment, I'm still investing in the aesthetics of my living space.
What this could look like: in writing, it's simple. Do you want to write what you're writing right now? If not, why? Write what you want. For everything else — consider your motivation. Are you painting so you can post it on Instagram and get lots of likes? Are you writing so you can pay rent? (Ha!) Are you starting a business so you can be rich?
Or can you not help but write? Do stories find you? Do you spend time daydreaming about white space? Is the texture of paint on your fingers one of your core desired feelings?
Most of all, believe that you are worth the effort. Let the words I am an artist or I am a writer or I am an author roll around your tongue. Do it until it's second nature.
And then create.