Life, Curated: Art Matters. Make Room for it in 2017.

life-curatedI bet my life isn’t all that different from yours.

The things that fill yours up might be different from the things that fill mine up, but that filled-up-to-the-brim thing? We both have that going on.

Here’s my life:

I’ve got Ninja Writers going on, of course. That’s a full-time job full of passion and love.

I’m working on an MFA from Sierra Nevada College.

I have the same old stuff that any adult-type person has. You know, making sure we don’t end up on a very special edition of Hoarders. Making dinner. Getting some exercise. That sort of thing.

I have three kids. One is a twelve-year-old soccer player. One is away at college. And one is in his early-twenties and has special needs and lives at home still.

My parents-in-law live in our basement apartment. They both have dementia.

So, basically, my husband and I are the peanut butter and jelly in a generational sandwich.

Oh. And I write novels.

I love my life.

I truly do. All I’m saying, though, is that there’s just a whole lot of it going on. So much that the thing I tacked on at the end, my art? Carving out minutes for it in my day can be a monumental task that ends up being wracked with guilt and pretty easily passed over.

Sound like you? Work. Family. Home. Life. And your art way, way down at the bottom of the list.

I bet I’m like you in another way, too. I’m utterly right-brained. A creative creature whose brain works in one mode: Big Idea.

I’m fantastic at ambitious starts and struggle with finishes, because all the middle details get away from me.

I might not care so much about the unfinished things, if I didn’t have this one pivot point in my life when I was 24.

My mom died.

She was 48, so I was exactly half her age. I was a new mom with a marriage (to my high school sweetheart) that was on the verge of complete implosion (that happened a year later.) And I remember sitting in my grandma’s house, hurting everywhere, missing my mama so much,  wondering how the universe could expect me to do the rest of my life without her.

I started thinking about all of the things that she wanted to do with her life when she was 24.

She probably thought, before she got sick, that she  had a whole lifetime left.

She definitely thought it was okay to put a bunch of stuff off until her kids were grown up. She had no idea that she’d die the spring after her youngest child graduated from high school. Who thinks about that?

So, on top of having a strong orientation toward Big Ideas and a lack of the basic make-up that would make seeing those ideas through to any sort of fruition easy or intuitive–I have this strong drive to actually achieve the things I dream about.

That drive is strong. As a result, I’ve come up with some systems that help me stay true to my goals and figure out how to do what doesn’t exactly come naturally: all the little steps to get from Big Idea to Goal Achieved.

In the last eighteen months I’ve written two novels. I’ve lost 120 pounds. I started Ninja Writers, which allowed me to quit a day job that was sucking the soul right out of me. I started an MFA program and finished my first semester.

I still have lots of room for improvement. There’s always tons to do. But, my systems help. A lot.

Over the next couple of weeks, I’m going to introduce them to you.

And I’ve got this idea for a plan (you know it’s a Big Idea) for making major progress toward my goals in 2017.

The Big Idea, which I’m calling Life, Curated is this: I hear so many people talking about being too busy to write. They put off their creative life in deference to literally everything else and give their art the left over scraps of time and energy.  I don’t think it has to be that way.

I believe that we can curate our lives in such a way that there’s time for all of the important things–including creativity, writing, art, music . . . whatever it is that feeds your soul and ignites your passion.

I don’t think you have to choose between writing and making dinner for your family. Or writing and making a living. Or writing and taking are of your elderly parents.

If you chip away at the stuff that doesn’t matter, what’s left can really shine, right?

If you’d like to come along on that ride with me, just leave your email address here. That will put you on the list to get new posts when they go live. I’ll send you my most effective tool…the secret weapon that’s helped me to meet my goals more than anything else ever has.

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