A couple of weeks ago, I shared a quote and wrote about the importance of making time for yourself and your creativity. (You can find that post here.)
" I've seen women insist on cleaning everything in the house before they could sit down to write...and you know it's a funny thing about housecleaning...it never comes to an end. Perfect way to stop a woman. A woman must be careful to not allow over-responsibility (or over-respectability) to steal her necessary creative rests, riffs, and raptures. She simply must put her foot down and say no to half of what she believes she "should" be doing. Art is not meant to be created in stolen moments only." - Clarissa Pinkola Estes
While I wholeheartedly believe in this practice, I also believe in the stolen moments. If I'm honest, many of my self-portraits have been created in those very brief moments over the years. When inspiration hits me, I have an undeniable urge to act. I've never been known for my patience. Along with many of my ideas or visions for self-portraits comes a great sense of urgency.
I understand that acting on this urgency and rushing through creating something with limited time can lead to sloppiness. It could limit me and hold me back from producing my best work. Or maybe I thrive in that type of setting?
Working in these stolen moments has given me an abundant amount of experience over the years. It has allowed me to work in all types of lighting and weather situations during various times of the day. It has helped me find ways to make the best use of small and limited spaces. It has required me to both think and act fast. Have I set myself up for failure this way? I've definitely had my fair share of failed attempts at bringing a vision to life. But more times than not, I have learned something new and created something unexpected out of each brief experience.
My needs for the process of creation and self-expression strongly outweigh the desired outcome. It is with this open mind-frame that I find my best work. For example, by closing myself off to the ideas of creating in harsh light or in the late evening when the sunlight has faded, I would be limiting myself and my creative process. Creating gives me a sense of freedom and to put limitations on that seems detrimental to me.
I was able to shoot this self-portrait in under 15 minutes over the weekend. That even included the time for me to go back and forth in my mind, questioning if I could pull it off. By sneaking in this creative moment, I was able to appease the sense of urgency and fill my creativity cup. The most challenging thing about this was waiting until Monday to share it!
So while I 100% believe in making time for yourself, I also hold a high value on the stolen moments. It's those 15 minutes before the school bus is due to arrive, the 10 minutes while you're waiting for that pot of water to boil, the moments right before the rain approaches. You'd be surprised at what you can accomplish in such a restricted and limited time.
How do you prefer to create? Do you time out and plan for that perfect moment? Or do you do it more on a whim?
The next time inspiration hits you, act on it. Don't wait!
** Sharon Covert is a teacher and mentor at The Define School. Sharon's courses, Expressive Self Portraiture and The Art of Authenticity are both available through The Define School. For more information email Sharon at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit The Define School by clicking this link. You can sign up for Sharon’s newsletter HERE to stay up to date and receive a bonus black and white editing video.