How to build a creative habit (esp. as a mum)

After I quit my last job way back in 2006 and started my own freelancing biz, and later started painting fulltime, many people have asked me how I manage to work from home. With growing up twin girls and many responsibilities, most unexpected and ever-changing, I have built myself a work flow, a creative habit and practice. A few mums have complained to me about the lack of time & opportunity for not being able to maintain their creative practice.

So here are my top tips on how to start and then not give up at the smallest sign of a hiccup!

  1. Being consistent is the key For many folks the threat of impending deadlines could be a motivating factor in diving into work. But for a creative habit, it is imperative that one is self-motivated, and creates regularly. Like clockwork! And yes, there will be the missed day, but don’t beat yourself about that, instead accept it and be sure to be back to the drawing board ASAP.

  2. Work at a fixed time everyday Whether it’s when your kids are in school/at play/napping and other distractions are put aside or early in the morning or late in the night. Having the fixed ‘creative-time’ will help in many ways. It will set your brain and body clock into creative mode. This will also let your family and close ones know that you are serious and this is your work time and they will respect it. Having a fixed slot for this, even if it’s 10 minutes, will automatically get you into ‘the zone’.

  3. Having an assigned space Don’t underestimate the power of this tip. Having a small space, even if it’s a corner of a room or be it a proper studio, is so important, I cannot say this enough. When your art material is already laid out, you will be able to create your magic with the least amount of effort. Your energies will be utilized for work rather than setting up and clearing.

  4. Figure out what your personal challenges are Keep a small diary or account for a few weeks of your practice and figure out what are the events/obstacles that keep you from creating consistently. Once you know what they are, you can solve them and work around them!

  5. Develop a work process This one might take a little time but its very valuable. Develop a work flow. Depending on your work-time, here are some of the things you could do to get into the ‘mood’! Put on a certain type of music that you love. Read a magazine or book on your subject. Look at art through history and get hugely inspired. Splash some paint on a piece of paper to warm up or do a quick sketch! Tidy up and keep your studio space ready for the next session. For example, keeping my palette clean and fresh water in my jars helps me to save time the next day! Also having a set of references pre-saved, helps me utilize my painting time fully!

  6. Join a relevant art community With social media and so many online communities, join a couple that you find fit best with you. Avoid too many as it might lead to mindless scrolling during your precious creative time. The group will keep you motivated and active. Look at the work of fellow artists and let their work inspire you to create. Another way is to take part in challenges like Inktober, Straada-challenge, 100 day challenges etc as they are likely to keep in on track!

  7. Don’t overthink. Just Do It Let’s not make excuses, where there is passion, there is always a way! There will be good days and bad days. Days when you are bouncing and days when you are unmotivated. Don’t forget that you are not a machine, you need to take care to rest and rejuvenate. Just get back to work as soon as you can!

I would love to hear your views on this, you can comment here or message me on Instagram.

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