one reason why you should give yourself permission to work on your badass creative project



If you feel guilty about taking time out from your life to pursue a personal creative project because you think you’re being selfish (when you should be earning money instead, or cleaning the house, or serving your partner and/or kids in some way, or just generally being, you know, productive) raise your hand.

But what if creativity isn’t something that should be looked on as an indulgence, an excess, or a special quality that a few lucky mysterious people are born with and the rest of us are not?

We tend to see creativity as something that belongs on the sidelines of life. People who live on the edges of society in order to make the creative life a way of life got tagged as ‘bohemians’. The rest of us suffered our practical routines so that we could make some practical money.

I respectfully suggest that your creative work needs to come in out of the cold and assume its rightful place closer to the fire.

The creative work that you love to do and feel a passion for is the thing most likely to put you in a state of flow.

Flow is powerful.

When we are in it, we are working at our best: we are also learning and deepening and growing. Time takes on a different dimension. Self-consciousness disappears into our absorption with the activity.

The dancer becomes the dance.

We emerge from flow feeling rested and rejuvenated, like we just touched the bottom of some secret inner ocean and surfaced with gold in our hands.

(This, by the way, is why saying, “I have no energy left at the end of the day to pursue my creative project” is a kind of falsehood.

Being in flow doesn’t rob you of energy, it gives you energy.

Which might be one reason why ‘energetic’ is a trait often attributed to extremely successful people. They tend to love what they do — which means they spend a lot of their worklife in flow — which enables them to work longer, smarter and better — which enables them to smoke their less-enthusiastic competition.)

Here’s the thing. We tend to divide our life into different compartments, as if what we do in one compartment (‘work’) doesn’t impact other compartments (‘family life’). Anyone who’s ever gotten frustrated or angered at work and then taken it out on a spouse — or been on the receiving end of that stress and frustration – knows that real life tends not to respect such compartments.

There’s a lot of overspill.

So if you spend time happily engaged in your creative project, the benefits of that becalmed and focused and stimulated state of mind will move into other areas of your life, including work and family.

I’m reminded of a writer friend who was dragging her ass on the novel she was writing under contract, which wasn’t the novel that she wanted to do. After some protest – “I don’t have the time!”, etc. – she promised to spend one day a week working on her pet project.

Lo and behold, writing the book that she wanted to write rekindled her enthusiasm for the book that she had to write. She made her deadline, felt good about the manuscript she submitted, and noted that writing itself had become a pleasurable activity again.

Passion has a way of kickstarting your soul, which makes you more effective not just in one little part of your life, but at Life.

Nov 4, 2011

4 comments · Add Yours

“What if creativity isn’t something that should be looked on as an indulgence…” What a great comment! Good stuff, Justine.


I fall into the category of those that compartmentalize. I have yet to figure out how to lock myself away in a room with only my laptop and write without someone needing food, water or help in the potty. I suppose if I didn’t compartmentalize, then I could write whenever, wherever.

Thanks for this post…love the idea that flow brings energy, not saps it:)


This is such an inspiring post. Well said. Thank you!


Creativity is fed by a need, desire, analizing conditions and adding suggestions.
Some boals are not met until they ‘have to’ whether it be desire or necessity.


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