Time Constraints for Creative Projects

Painting pictures, playing instruments, writing books… whatever it may be, it seems that everybody has creative pursuits that they wish to pursue. Except that most of them will never be pursued. People promise themselves to make time to draw, write, paint, [insert verb] without ever actually getting around to it. I understand though, life is busy, and we have to make time for immediate tasks such as making money for survival (having a job) and entertainment. I find this is often because creative pursuits offers neither of these rewards to most people – they don’t get paid and they want the enjoyment of finishing a project rather than enjoyment from the process of learning / performing it.

The Boy Who Was Afraid of the World Front Cover

My first book

Over recent years I have dabbled in the creative pursuits of blogging, website creation, writing books, and making videos, as well as other projects which I don’t share. I remember the first time I started a blog, and the excitement of starting it all, discovering new tools like this and choosing a name, writing my first post, getting my first comment. Since then it has continued to bring rewards – having the blog has served as a creative platform where I can share some of these creations and allows me to share information I find relevant in the hope that it may be useful for others. I have used many blogs during my own research of upcoming ideas and I find it valuable to see other people’s honest accounts of their experiences. The blog also allows for feedback, thus allowing both welcome and unwelcome responses, largely due to the fact that if I don’t enjoy my time in a place, I will say so – invariably this upsets people who live in the places I haven’t enjoyed. I originally titled the blog Great Big Scary World as I undertook a hitchhiking journey with many highs and lows, choosing to share both positive and negative experiences rather than making everything sound like it is extremely positive, so will continue to do so, but it is always a curious experience to read personal attacks from strangers when they occur. Aside from the odd negative comment, most interactions through this site have been largely positive and I have had the pleasure of meeting several people in person after first becoming acquaintances in the digital world. Even more importantly for me, I have connected with like minded individuals across the world who I wouldn’t have otherwise found and these individuals (or groups of people) have given me many more ideas with which to fill my notebooks.

Screen Shot 2016-04-05 at 13.28.28

My Youtube channel

Somewhere back in England, I have notepads full of unrealised ideas. Each of the creative pursuits that I have undertaken takes time, but do offer some reward. Blogging has creating many fulfilling online interactions with readers, website creation offered financial return to fund my lifestyle, writing books was an enjoyable process and I enjoyed the interactions with readers that resulted, and making videos is both a fun process and a happy memory for the future. Unfortunately I am yet to find a creative pursuit that offers both pleasure and financial reward to continue my lifestyle – not that I need much.

Over the past year I lived in Australia, largely working 70+ hour weeks and I found my drive to do anything creative was completely diminished. By the end of each working day I was fairly exhausted and wanted to relax idly, either reading or spending time with friends, not working on creative pursuits. As a result, I made very little.

Since leaving Australia, I went (unsuccessfully) cycling in New Zealand and then visited the west coast of North America (San Francisco, Portland, Vancouver, Nanaimo, Victoria), before arriving in my current location, Detroit. For the next few weeks I have lots of time, which is a rarity, and the question now arises regarding what to do with it. I could be creative, but what to focus on? Do I pick one task and focus on that, or spread myself wide (and thin) following up on multiple ideas at the same time? And how do you keep that focus / drive going for extended periods of time? Any feedback on this from others with similar experiences would be appreciated.

By | 2016-04-05T17:37:38+00:00 April 5th, 2016|Thoughts and Inspiration|4 Comments


  1. Ana 08/04/2016 at 08:56 - Reply

    In my experience, my brain seems to prefer working on several different things at once. As I think about stuff, it sorts it out subconsciously and I just let it go to the project that feels best at the moment. I like not having to focus on only one thing at once, to have variety. In this case, to avoid giving up somewhere in the middle, it helps to know what you’re trying to achieve and setting a bunch of small goals (like ‘I’ll paint one painting a week’). Also, to have the space and equipment where you are creating set and comfortable so you don’t have to think about that when you feel like making something. Just what I figured out, hope it’s of any use 🙂

    • Jamie 14/04/2016 at 14:16 - Reply

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts Ana. At the moment I am kind of doing this – working on several things at once. The goal or target idea seems like a very valuable tool and I think when we keep hitting our goals, it gives us the motivation to continue. That creative space, or working space, is also a huge thing which I am lacking a little bit right now as I’m on the road. I’m hoping to find it soon.

  2. Kim 07/04/2016 at 13:09 - Reply

    ‘to find a creative pursuit that offers both pleasure and financial reward to continue my lifestyle’ . Doesnt every traveler want that? 😀

    I found that focussing on one task is often more effective. Doing multiple things at once is very distracting and you will never really finish one of them..

    Good luck!

    • Jamie 07/04/2016 at 17:43 - Reply

      Probably – it loosely translates as ‘doing what I want to do and not having a regular job!’ I agree with your sentiments on choosing one thing – it is just so hard to choose which one to focus on sometimes.

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