Art Now! Chores Later : Why You Shouldn't Put Off Your Creativity and 5 Ways to Nourish it

" 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 

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Recently, an artist friend of mine shared this quote on Instagram. It was one of those quotes that screamed out to me. The kind that your gut intuition tells you that it was written just for you. I brought the quote to The Define School’s forum and we quickly adopted the motto, Art Now! Chores later.


Not too long ago, I was that woman in the quote. And by no means am I saying I am no longer her. I am just more aware of when I am her. Being aware and recognizing unrewarding patterns is half the battle. I've trained myself to rearrange my priorities and put myself and my creativity up at the top of my list whenever possible. It's not always easy, and often it's uncomfortable. 


As women, we wear many hats, or as I like to say- masks. We are known to put others first and tend to everyone else. We tend to prioritize chores and responsibilities. We are caregivers. We clean, cook, take care of children, help family and friends, look after beloved family pets, run errands, work, and leave little to no time for what lights us up. 


Tend to your spark. 


Ignite the fire. 


Don't allow your artistic calling to lie dormant and unaroused. Practice listening to your intuitive voice when it comes to creating. Balance is key. 


One early evening last week, inspiration hit me at an inconvenient time. The dogs and kids needed to be fed, but so did I, in a different way. The woods were calling. Once everyone was taken care of, I knew the cleanup and aftermath could wait. I quickly darted out the door and began to set up. Everything changed when I was out there. My heart rate, breath, mood- it all steadied and slowed down. I was in my happy place, and all was well in that moment.

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For me, the process is more important than the outcome. Whether or not I get the shot is irrelevant. I needed that time and space to create. I can't emphasize enough how absolutely necessary it is to make time for yourself. Your badge of honor should not be for all of the things you fit into a day and checked off of your to-do list. Your button of merit shouldn't be earned from being so busy in your day that you didn't have time to eat; to nourish your own body. 



Here are some ways to be kind to yourself and allow for creative space in your daily life. Keep an open mind and open heart to them, and you will be greatly rewarded. 




  1. Set your alarm for 30 minutes earlier each morning and begin your day in silence. Sip on some lemon water. Meditate. Journal. Get it all out on the pages so you can then start your day with a clear mind. Waking up earlier than required sounds terrible to most people. With some simple adjusting to your bedtime, it becomes much easier over time. For me, I need that time alone in the morning to thrive and be the best I can for others throughout the day. You may even be surprised to find yourself looking forward to that early morning time!

  2. Move your body. Stretch. Breathe. I have a daily yoga practice. Some mornings it only means 10 minutes. Other mornings it's 40 minutes. I won't allow myself to get hung up on time. My body needs this type of movement and breathing. It is key to helping me carry through my day. Some prefer an evening ritual, so if that's you, go for it!

  3. Schedule time for creativity. If you are finding yourself getting caught up in the "I'm too busy and don't have enough time" loop, then this is for you. Block off some time on your calendar for your creativity each day. Make it non-negotiable even if it's something as little as 10 minutes a day. Allow yourself this well-deserved, uninterrupted time. Time is what we make of it. I've been guilty of saying I don't have enough of it, but it comes down to priorities.

  4. Ask for help. Too much on your to-do list leaves little to no time for you. There is no rule that states we have to do it all; a common fallacy that many people take on as a firm belief. You may feel asking for help makes you less of a person or that it sets you up for rejection. I find the opposite to be true. Making a few simple changes and delegating some tasks i.e., surrendering and giving up some control, can supply you with enough freedom to cultivate your creativity.

  5. Set up a small space that's just for you. This space can be a corner of a room, a little altar, desk, windowsill, a bookshelf, anything. Get creative with it. Decorate it with candles, crystals, flowers, books, artwork, pictures, oracle cards, anything that brings you inner peace, makes you smile, and inspires you. Spend some time in that area each day. Can you set up a chair nearby and read or journal for 15 minutes in this space? Make it your own and bring what you will to it. I've completely taken over the sunroom in our house and made it my own. Aside from that, I have smaller spaces throughout the house that I've created for myself also.



Do the things that light you up. 

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You don't have to check off a to-do list in order to earn quality time for yourself. The house cleaning can wait! Commit to these practices, and you will see and feel such a difference in yourself. 


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Leave a comment below and share your thoughts and ideas. Let's help each other out and support one another!

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** 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 sharoncovertphotography@gmail.com 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. 

Backstage Pass: The Story Behind the Image

I recently began creating a new series, Luna, and wanted to share a peek at what goes on behind the scenes.

I like to incorporate objects as symbolism in many of my self-portraits. For this series, I wanted a type of sphere to represent the moon. I purchased several of the Amazing Wubble Bubble Balls (Have you heard of them?) in white and blue. I also used a 3D printed LED moon lamp (which has some texture. Can you spot it?). Soon I'll be adding in pearl-colored children's ball pit balls for even more spheres. I chose shades of blues and whites because I felt they would convert well to black and white in my post-processing.

I began by setting up some test shots in my backyard to get a feel for things before changing into a cumbersome dress. It can sometimes be difficult with all of the back and forth to my camera while wearing a gown. Often, they end up dirt ridden, torn and tattered, but thankfully, the camera is forgiving.

Test shot to grab my focus, set my exposure, and get the placement of the balls.

Test shot to grab my focus, set my exposure, and get the placement of the balls.

My initial thoughts were to capture the balls in mid-air. This process proved to be complicated. It was tricky to time it out with my camera's shutter release and more times than not the balls landed on my head, knocking my glasses off.

Here you can see that I was trying to capture some movement in my dress.


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In these outtakes you can see how I try to capture some movement in my dress.

In these outtakes you can see how I try to capture some movement in my dress.

Eventually, I ended up with a costume change and a call for back-up. Since I don't typically work in Photoshop, I need to find other ways to bring my visions to life. Sometimes that means asking for help.

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You can see the hand on the left by the dress.

You can see the hand on the left by the dress.

Once I finished, I brought my images into Lightroom and converted them to black and white. I added any texture and bokeh using Alien Skin Exposure software. It only took me about 10 minutes to edit each self-portrait.

Here are a few of the final edits.

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I hope you enjoyed this little peek into what goes on behind the scenes. If you have any questions, drop them in the comments below, and I'd be happy to reply.

Calling All Creatives

Wanted: Creative, emotional Artist seeking her tribe of like-minded Artists.
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My Belief: I believe in creating for self-love, self-awareness, self-discovery, self-reflection, self-guidance, self-healing and introspection. My core belief is that by practicing these things you will become a better person to serve those around you.
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Have you ever been moved by someone else’s art? Have you ever felt connected in some way to another’s magic?
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We, as Artists, are healers.
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My 4 week interactive Expressive Self Portraiture course through The Define School is now OPEN for registration! We will spend 4 weeks online together learning and practicing the tools I give you for creating art for yourself. You will learn how to think outside the box and bring your inner stories to life in a healing and expressive way. In this course I share everything. I hold nothing back.
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Answer the call and join me by clicking THIS LINK for more information. 
I’m so damn excited for this! ♥️

Class beings September 10th! 

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Rejection

Have you ever been rejected?
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It doesn’t feel good, I know.
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But what if you used that rejection to fuel your fire🔥 and become even more amazing?
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Instead of allowing it to bring you down, let it motivate you.
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I’ve been checking my email for weeks in hopes of an acceptance email. You usually can tell by the header. “Congratulations!”
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Today the email came, except it was a rejection email.
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For a brief moment I let the sting set in and bring me down. The questions began circling through my mind. How? Why? What could I have done different?
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I quickly put a stop to it and decided I would continue submitting to them. After all, what’s the worst thing that can happen?
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So many people share their successes and leave out their failures. I’ve been guilty of doing that myself ✋🏼. I think many of us have feelings of shame in rejection and failure. It’s embarrassing.
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Have you been rejected recently? Or have you had a recent success? Either way, I’d love to hear about it! Comment below and let’s lift each other up and inspire one another.

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Myths, Legends, and Dreams - PhotoPlace Gallery, VT

I'm pleased to announce that my self-portrait, Artio, will be in the upcoming Myths, Legends, and Dreams exhibition at the PhotoPlace Gallery in Middleburg, Vermont. The exhibition will open on March 7, 2018 and run through March 31, 2018. If anyone is in the area, I'd love for you to stop by and check it out! 

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Fall's Beauty

On an ordinary fall day, I find myself pausing to take in the most mundane of things. Feeling a slight pang of guilt for usually passing this beauty by in the rush of life, I question how I no longer view the world through a child's eyes. In these dried up wildflowers and leaves, I am taught there is beauty in all things regardless of what life stage they are in. This plant life cycles through each season doing exactly what it's supposed to do without distraction. 
Everything comes together at the right place and time in life. As fall completes its cycle and transitions into winter, I find myself in a transition of sorts; welcoming the dark cold winter season to deepen my practice of being more connected with my body, mind, and soul. Here, I will deepen my connection to Mother Earth and those I share her with.

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