Clearing Space for Creativity 



© Fiona Robyn – All Rights Reserved




Like most people I have many responsibilities in addition to being a writer, and sometimes (OK often) it’s hard to find the time to focus on my writing. Whenever I feel short of time, the writing seems to be the first thing to go. My creativity is easily squashed, easily squeezed out.

Something I’ve learnt over the years is how important it is to clear space for my writing. There’s always a huge list of ‘things to do’ threatening to push it out. My writing has only survived because I’ve learnt to fiercely protect it.

If you also struggle with dedicating time to your creativity, whether you paint, write songs or make pots, then the following ideas might help you to look at your own techniques for clearing space and how you might be able to improve on them.

One: Make a commitment

Before you go any further, I’d like you to think hard about why you want to clear space in the first place. How serious are you about your art? What does it give you? What are your goals? How much energy are you willing to invest?

If you decide that you’d rather keep your creativity as a ‘hobby’ then that’s great - you can stop feeling guilty about not spending more time on it and get on with enjoying it.

If decide that it IS centrally important to you then now is the time to make a formal commitment to it. You might want to have some fun with this and see it as a marriage – decide that you’re going to stick with your creativity in sickness and in health. Make this public if you can – let your friends and family know how serious you are, start speaking about your creative work with pride. Honour your art, and honour the artist in yourself.

Two: Feed yourself

I see my own muse as needing plenty of feeding. This is an ongoing process and it needs different types of food depending on where I am in the process. Some of this food is:

immersing myself in other writer’s work

exploring different art forms – seeing good films, going to exhibitions…

spending time alone with nature

speaking with writer colleagues

reading magazines about writing

attending writing festivals

writing a regular journal

Maybe you could write your own list and decide to dedicate some time each week to feeding your artist.

As you’re feeding (or afterwards), little ideas will start appearing like tiny green shoots. Make sure you have a notebook handy at all times so you can jot/sketch these ideas down and use them in your work.

Three: Turn up at the page

You’ve decided that you’re serious about this, and you’ve collected some interesting ideas. Now comes the important bit! I’m borrowing the words of Julia Cameron, who helps artists to become unblocked in her book The Artists Way and many others. She exhorts artists to ‘turn up at the page’. It’s not enough that you work ‘when inspiration strikes’ – you need to be able to sit down and get on with it whether you’re in the mood or not. You need to turn up at the page.

I’d recommend that you practise this by booking time into your diary (start with ten minutes if this is new and daunting to you) and spending this time on your art without fail. If you can’t get into your painting, then read what someone else thought about painting instead. If you can’t concentrate on the reading, then go for a walk and think about what you’re stuck on. Learn to become disciplined.

Four: Get supported

Being an artist can be lonely, especially if your art involves you working by yourself. I’ve found that a support network is extremely important to keep me going. I can speak to my colleagues about bits I’m stuck on, or just have a moan about how hard it’s been. Having a support network can also be an important source of feedback. I know that I’m a better writer for all the feedback I’ve received over the years – feedback helps me to sharpen my tools. Other artists who you admire are great people to learn from.

There are many different places to look for your support network. There are often local classes or groups for writing, painting etc. The internet can be a fantastic resource. Or ask your friends if they know any artists, get in touch and ask them out for a coffee. Put time and energy into building a strong, lasting network. Ask them how you can help them. Accept help. And have fun!


You can find out more about Fiona Robyn at . You can sign up for her ‘creative living’ newsletter at .










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