In a January blog for The Public Theatre, J.Julian Christopher touched on his experience as an artist making ends meet through freelance work and then balancing his creative life once attaining a position in Academia (a wish for many artists not wanting a “9 to 5”).
He wrote about his regimen for maintaining that “work-creative life” balance that so many artists struggle with. At the end of his post, he stated that a relationship would only make that more difficult… I chuckled when I read that as it rang more than true! (especially as I sit here in the dark finishing this blog on my phone).
Where does your creativity come in when one’s life is both parent and artist…. wait … did I just say that? Being a parent is one of the most creative things to happen to a person – if you are already an artist, it only adds to your creativity…in my opinion. BUT – Where does one find TIME to be creative as a parent balancing “life” when your livelihood cannot always be determined by your art.
The Washington Post published an article last week about work-life balance for single people – and feeling guilty for having to find pet care vs. childcare, for example. Balance affects everyone. It’s real.
Personally, I often feel like my mind is going to explode from thinking before being able to accomplish anything (Procrastination / Over-thought). I lie awake lost in the minutia of motherhood and wife-dom, writing bits of dialogue / monologues on my iPhone. I am habitually nocturnal (… perhaps genes have something to do with it as well) and struggle between going to bed and getting up early or staying up late… (and still getting up early-ish).
Long gone are the days of wallowing in one’s own problems before others…my own little family puts things in perspective. When someone is tugging at your trousers /skirt while your cooking, it’s hard to think about the lunch date I should make with friends.
My husband’s more structured IT background has led him to marvel at the often inconsistent manner in which I behave. There are days I know exactly what to do first and other days … Not so much. Being a mother and wife is my first priority and it only helps my creativity, but knowing where creativity comes in is the challenge.
I tend to do some of my best thinking in the middle of the night! I have wild dreams of red carpets and magazine articles (I can’t even believe I’m telling you this). I’ve finished multiple plays and am writing in Paris (I would elaborate on Paris – but that is an entirely different blog post / novel… but let’s just say… no… I can’t… LATER). By now, you’ve probably come to the conclusion that I’m either scattered, unorganized, or just plain ol’messy. I would venture to say that I’m a little scattered – but that it aids in my creativity…
Getting back on track and away from my tangent…
- I work in the middle of the night because everyone is asleep. The house is silent and I can focus.
- The iPhone has some great apps that I purchased early on because I knew in the beginning I wouldn’t be able to sit at my computer a lot (especially while nursing). I use “Write2” and things upload to my dropbox, so it make is very easy. I also have, for example, the wordpress app for my blogs (yes – I have two others…).
- I do the shopping I can on-line… Soap.com / Diapers.com have apps that are more than helpful and they ship the next day.
With that said, I would definitely recommend using the technology around you to aid in your creative / parent life. I know there are more apps out there and if I discover them, I will share!
So has any of this helped me…yes, a little… I produce with a group – Harlem9 – we have an annual 48 Hour Play festival in Harlem, I still run my reading series for Black Playwrights “Blackboard Reading Series” at the cell, where I worked before having my daughter and am now still involved through the series and as a resident artist…., I had a short play in a play festival in November “The Decision Fest” and was part of an online film festival encouraging people to vote (and I won one of the prizes).
ok… so maybe I’m being a little hard on myself… but since I have this image of where I want to be and where I am, I still work hard on the balance. I can’t JUST write or work all day… there’s a baby to take care of, a husband, a house… I’m balancing, I am… the artist in me wants to sit, do yoga and write; the mother in me want to go to every mom and me-class available; the wife in me, wants to make the best french cuisine possible in a dress, apron and full make-up… they’re all extremes… so the thing about balance is doing a little bit of each extreme in order to fulfill those parts of one’s life.
And then one day, you’re kids will have all grown up and you’ll have this other life to figure out… 🙂
But I can’t even think about that now!