A few weeks ago, I found myself with a honey-do list—those little chores that accumulate when one is asked, “honey, will you do that?”—longer than my arm. To cope with how overwhelming I found this, I pushed aside anything I deemed non-critical and got to work on the list. In that time I learned how to mow a yard, how many hoops there are to jump through just to install a fence, how to install a fence, and what to look for in a through-the-wall air conditioner. I’m throwing a parade when the AC is installed and the path will be from my room, down the hall, into the kitchen/dining room, and ending in the living room—all of which will be 69° F.
This week, I found myself puttering out like my lawn mower putters as it runs out of gas. My mind was still trying to run at hyper speed, but with nothing much left on my list, I was only spinning my tires. Luckily, that’s when my imagination stepped in. In the middle of talking to Sara about what I needed at the grocery store, I drifted off into a hundred yard stare right over her shoulder. In between imagining the contents of the baking aisle and the frozen foods section, I imagined what could get four people on a ship to Mars at the end of the world without tarnishing their heroic qualities. This, of course, sounds like nonsense, as it certainly did when I answered Sara’s alarmed question, “What are you thinking so hard about?” But to me, it’s a problem I’m dealing with in a story I’ve been wanting to write for some time.
I commandeered my grocery list for some quick story notes, and afterwards thought, “But I don’t have time for this right now! I have so much work to do!” The nice thing about sewing is you end up with lots of thinking time, and my brain kept turning over the problem of the story. And a funny thing happened. I was excited to get to my sewing machine. Or to load and unload the dishwasher quickly so I could run to my notebook. Even talking through dialogue while mowing the yard so no one had to listen to me talk to myself.
I thought I had no time for personal creative endeavors because I had work to do. I was wrong! The time I thought I lacked was actually ripe for my creative taking. Writing on my lunch break, or calling it quits half an hour early to pick up a personal sewing project was exactly what I needed to get me excited again. Making the time for my creativity fueled everything else around me. We all fall into the trap of pushing our creativity aside, or focusing only on one aspect of that creativity. So this is your reminder that you have the time, and it’s actually your priorities holding you back. Your personal creativity is a lot more valuable than you may realize.