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Kelly: Insomnia of a Creative Addict

"The Path To...."

"The Path to...."

Do you ever have so many creative ideas running through your brain that they keep you up at night? Thus is the insomnia of a creative addict, and it has descended upon me tonight. I’ve been laying in bed thinking about how I’d like to revamp my website, how I can rework current projects to use for other projects, how I can change up my product pictures, how I’d sure like to sew some fun little dresses for the girlies, and most importantly, how I can find the time to carry out all the new ideas I’ve been dreaming up…

Mixed media, photography, jewelry design, 2-D art, 3-D art, fiber and textile arts, what have you! At one time or another, I have tried or wanted to try every bit of it. Sometimes that drive to create is so strong that I truly wonder where I’m going with these little hands of mine. I read through the profiles and stories of the women here on Creative Construction and I wonder how you all manage to do it all without losing just a little bit of your sanity. Hmm…maybe that’s the key! You do have to lose a little bit of your sanity to do it all! I know many of my friends would agree I lost mine a long time ago.

At times, I’m envious of stay-at-home moms, whether they work from home as Mom or in another field on top of being Mom. I’d like to think I’d have a little more time to create if I were in your shoes, at least while the kids are in school, yet something tells me those of you in that situation might disagree! So maybe whether we work inside the home or out, we all face the same challenges, just in a different form?

So do you make a change? How do you make a change? How do you follow that path to your dreams? I’ve been thinking about it, just don’t know quite how to go about it. Sometimes it seems we get trapped in our own little situations and can’t figure out a way to get out. That’s how I’ve been feeling lately. Given the time, I think I could make a go of my creative endeavors full time, whatever form those creative endeavors may take, and knowing me, they would probably take quite a few different forms. Yet there is a mortgage to pay and kids to raise, so for now the idea of me quitting my day job scares the heebie-da-jeebies out of me (yes, that’s a technical term, heebie-da-jeebies), not to mention my DH; it just doesn’t seem to be a viable option.

I’ve been trying to make the switch to teaching full time, which would give me much more time, yet with the changes and new programs being added at our college, that just might require a doctorate degree before too long. I’ve given quite a bit of thought to that whole going back to school thing, and I’ve realized that if I went back to school, it wouldn’t be to earn a doctorate in English or Higher Education. You know what I’d love to pursue instead? A master’s degree in Art Therapy. A good friend of mine and I have long had an idea in our heads about a program combining art therapy, music therapy and pet therapy. She’s a counselor, collage artist, and dog lover; I’m an I’ll-try-everything-once artist, musician and dog lover with a strong public relations background. Just dreaming here, but haven’t big things come from little dreams?

What are your dreams, and what are you doing to reach them? Tell me your secret dreams, and maybe you’ll give me a kick in the pants to chase mine. Or maybe you’re already living your dream. How’d you get there? Do tell! Inspire the rest of us! In the meantime I’m going to try to get some sleep…while I think about designing a new journal cover…and that cute little polka-dotted peasant dress…and that mixed media piece featuring Isabelle…and, oh yes, I guess I do need to get some new jewelry designs made since I have four major shows coming up this fall…and…oh, what the heck! Who needs sleep, right!? I’ll just hop in my Magic Bus and go get some Red Bull…

12 Comments Post a comment
  1. I did this before I had kids, but first I went part-time. I did that because there were two guys working 50% hours so they could write music and get gigs for their band (Pondering Judd – they’re still around!). That inspired me to do the same.

    But I didn’t really get into writing until I quit about 18 months later and went full-time. That was two years before my first child was born.

    Do you have a strong gut feeling about your therapy idea? I think when things are meant to be, they fall into place to allow you to follow your dreams. That is certainly what happened with my career, and I’m hoping it will happen with my collaboration as well.

    My dream BTW is to make more of a career of my fiction. But that is taking some time. I’m trying to learn to be patient and let it happen in its own time!

    August 5, 2008
  2. sjoystudios #

    Right now I’m living my dream (co-running my own start-up), but it’s a lot harder than I thought it would be to make a living doing what I love. Work comes in waves, and it when it comes, it’s crazy! When it doesn’t come, I’m panicking. I’m learning to roll with the punches, but I’m not very good at it yet!

    I’m getting ready to start homeschooling my kids in a few weeks, and that’s been a dream of mine for a long time. I’ve always wanted to teach my own kids for some reason. Even as a little girl, I would plan all of these lessons for my stuffed animals. 😉

    Maybe my new dream is to make enough to be able to pay myself well AND grow the business. Then I can delegate some things and have more time to just “be.” 🙂

    August 5, 2008
  3. Cathy #

    yeah, my gears used to grind thru the night a lot, too. now i’m too pooped from nursing baby c through night. sometime when i really can’t shake something when i wake in the middle of the night, i’ll jot it down, or actually move out of bedroom and to office if i really can’t shake the insomnia.

    Kelly, i am manifesting my dreams right now, and feel very lucky to be able to be in a position to do so. today, at baby c’s 4 mo appt, i handed a pile of my new business cards to my pediatrician. i derive great satisfaction tutoring moderate learning disabilty teens. before my move to va, in ma, i did so in school. here, i’ve had one student privately for 1 school year, then bedrest preg, and now decided i want to tutor and write and edit, for those who need it. i can even make tech sound like english, so may be able to do so for my dh’s place of business, too! don’t pay attention to my uncapped fast one hand typing and conversational drivel that spills out in too long sentences here. i do really know how to put sentences and paragraphs together 😉 And, because of this site, i feel supported creatively, so am actively writing again, for my sake, and frankly, my sake means everyone else’s, too.

    sometimes you just have to feel you’re ready to take the leap of faith. in a way i am grateful for having had to be on bedrest for close to a year. it made me realize that we can get by w/o my income, though it would be better if i had one, for sure! my gratitude is for how it has freed me to put into motion working for myself at a wage commensurate with my experience (districts down here want to pay about 1/2 what i made in MA) and doing what i love.

    so, for your higher education goals, i would say go for the art therapy! the other option may seem the ‘smarter one’ but you didn’t say it was what you love! you’ll be happier doing what you love, and so will your dh and girls, by extension.

    now does anyone have a good idea what i should be charging for these services? Editing or tutoring? i want to be affordable, but also reasonable for my income and self-respect!

    August 5, 2008
  4. Cathy #

    i crammed a lot in there, but meant to add 2 things:

    in giving my business cards to my pedi today, he said he already has someone in mind for me to tutor; and at a previous appt with him for k, a couple of weeks ago, we got talking about his son the illustrator and my alphabet book which has been wanting an illustrator for a few years. today i handed dr b a portion of the wip to pass along to his son. So, i may be in business a few ways coming soon. let’s hope this illustrator is interested…everyone please put out the vibe for it, i’ve seen his work, it’s good!

    and this goes to show, the universe works in mysterious ways to help your dreams come true!

    August 5, 2008
  5. i’m living my dream right now, i think …. but always dreaming up the next dream ….. i’m an artist ….. working at it as a part time job …. 20 to 30 hours a week ….. i’m not sure how to judge “success” … i’m not financially as successful with it as i’d like to be …. but i make enough to know it is right and keep at it …. and in my dreams i’m either teaching art classes to adults at workshops and such ….. and sometime in my dreams i have a book …. or two …. but i’m still just dreaming those dreams, not trying hard to live them ….i’m too busy being an artist….what a dream …..

    August 5, 2008
  6. I always dreamed of being a stay-at-home mom/author, probably because I read all of the Anastasia books by Lois Lowry and wanted to be a mom like her mom (she was a children’s book illustrator). This was a mom who was always present, but also had a wonderful/ easy creative life of her own. Now I know why the character is fictitious.

    Like many of you, I struggle to carve out a creative life in addition to the demands of motherhood. I frequently have creative insomnia too. In addition to finishing my novel, I have a sequel in mind, a historical novel I’d like to write, dolls I’d like to make, a table cloth I’d like to finish embroidering, a Christmas stocking I’d like to finish, plus there’s so much more I’d like to learn how to do.

    As far as my dreams are concerned, I love my life–I just want more of the fun stuff (mommy time and writing time) and less of the drudgery of household management and cleaning. I’d like to be a published author sometime before I die. I’d like to see a play of mine fully performed.

    At some point, I’d like to learn about photograpy. Lots of people have said that I have a knack for it and I think it would be fun to do infant portraits-specifically newborn portraits because I don’t think the ones they take in hospitals are very good or true to life.

    My other psychotic dream (especially considering how unathletic I am) is to complete a mini-marathon at some point. I want to feel like my body is fully and completely mine again.

    August 5, 2008
  7. We just got done with my kids showing poultry at the fair. Therefor I’m pretty sure my brain still isn’t working correctly yet do to sleep deprivation. I think though that is comes down to ambition and motivation. You’ll get to a point when something becomes important enough to you that you will make it happen. I try to live my dreams whenever possible, sometimes it doesn’t work out, sometimes it does, you just got to go for it and try. The worst thing that could happen is that you fail and you just got to look at it like Thomas Edison, He wasn’t a failure, he just learned 100 ways not to make a light bulb.

    August 5, 2008
  8. Thanks so much for sharing your dreams and inspirations, everyone! In reading your comments, one thing kept knocking me over the head….maybe sometimes we get so caught up in chasing what we want that we overlook what we already have? (all those “we’s” should read “I” :-)) From your comments, it seems most of you work from home. That’s the one thing I cannot change, so time will always be a factor for me. I say “cannot change”, but I realize it’s more likely “will not change”, simply because I am living a dream of sorts and quitting my day job would require me to give up that dream. No, the dream is not my job…it’s our lifestyle, the lifestyle DH and I worked so hard for and want to keep for our girls. We don’t live an extravagant lifestyle by any means….but we are blessed to live on the water….we have a front row seat to dolphin shows and beautiful water-filled sunsets every evening. In that, I am very spoiled and living a dream. So maybe for me it comes down to revising the dream to fit into the other dream I’m already living? I’m definitely looking more into the art therapy idea and am researching online programs. In the meantime, I’ll keep doing what I’m doing, trying to find little stolen moments of time to pursue a second dream while I’m living the first. I’ve been a water baby all my life and have never lived more than 30 minutes from either the ocean or the gulf. And now, having that water right there in the back yard truly is a dream come true. This blog posts gives you a few pictures of our little paradise.

    August 6, 2008
  9. Cathy #

    great, kelly! baby steps 😉 that’s how we learn everything, right?

    August 6, 2008
  10. This is such an interesting question. I know what I WANT to do, but articulating that dream is somehow scary. Like I can’t dare to put it into words. But here goes.

    I want to be able to write, read, blog, do creative projects, work in the garden, run, and take care of my family and my home, travel a little bit. If I framed the question as “If I won 10 million dollars tomorrow, what would I do with myself?” that’s pretty much it.

    I feel very fortunate to have my own business (writing and editing); I love the flexibility and I’ve never done very well having a “boss.” If I “have” to work, this is pretty much my dream job. I’m good at what I do, I have wonderful client relationships, and I fill an important need. Some of my clients are nonprofit, and I feel especially good about contributing to their important successes.

    But if I was independently wealthy, would I keep doing what I do? Probably not. It doesn’t feel like my life’s work. Sure, I might go to my grave knowing that I populated the world with 84 million missing serial commas and saved many a client from their own muddled copy — but obviously that’s not “important” in the larger scheme of things.

    I’ve been looking at this question from another angle recently: my oldest son is starting his senior year of high school. He is a talented and dedicated acoustic guitarist. While he’s always been a strong student in general — and a voracious reader — he feels pulled toward math and science. So: pursue music, which may or may not “pan out” financially, or go the engineering route, where he has a good chance of securing well-paid work? He doesn’t care that much about material wealth, so that’s not a huge factor. Which direction to go in? Which resonates the strongest? If music is his passion, is he willing to take the risk that even a degree from Berklee won’t assure him a viable income?

    My son just returned from a visit with my father in French Polynesia. When discussing these life choices, my father told my son that he absolutely had to follow his bliss. My father did, and he became extremely successful at what he does, which happens to be something creative. But the success was just an “accident.” He followed the path that spoke to him. His lesson was to do the same, even if people around you think you’re making a mistake.

    Kelly, if the art therapy route is calling to you, I firmly believe that you OWE IT to yourself to follow that dream.

    Like many of you who posted comments, if I look at things objectively, I AM on the path to realizing my dream. I’m writing a book, an agent is shopping the proposal. Just being a part of this blog every day feels like a realization of my dream: making connections between people and ideas.

    But as several of you note, turning your creative dreams into reality takes a lot of patience. It’s hard when you’re overflowing with ideas (right there, Kelly!) but you have so much on your plate that you can’t just run off and whip up a dress design just because you had a dream about one last night. I want to sew, learn to knit, learn more about photography, make more progress in the garden, take ballroom dancing, take some professional cooking classes, do a bunch of DIY projects around the house.

    It all gets easier, however. The children DO grow older and require less constant attention. In the meantime, we keep plugging away. Just listen to that voice, and chase the butterflies.

    How do we measure success? Not having to have a “day job,” if we don’t want one? That seems to be a big part of it. I do have to have a job, which means that I have very little time left over for those other things. But it’s there, if I don’t waste it.

    Kelly, I think you’re right — you have to prioritize and take a hard look at what your “dream” really looks like. Many of us may already have many elements in place already, if we stop to notice.

    (And I love your “backyard” photos. My husband and I dream of living on the water too — we plan to move south in 6-7 years. Maybe I need to actually make a “list” of all these dreams?)

    And speaking of the day job, I’ve managed to take on NINE projects of varying intensity that are all due at the end of August. I’m not actually sure how I’m going to get all of this work done, although I’ve discovered I really can survive on six hours of interrupted sleep every night. This workload means that I won’t be able to post at Creative Construction as often as I’d like, but if you don’t hear from me that much in coming weeks just know that it’s not because I don’t love you guys! And please keep all the blog posts coming 🙂

    August 6, 2008
  11. Good grief, that was a “comment”? Sorry guys! I didn’t realize I was writing an entire TREATISE!

    August 6, 2008
  12. Cathy #

    miranda, i did it, too! it’s great to hear where each of is on the dreams journey.

    as for your son’s musician/engineer choice – a lifelong friend’s husband, a berklee grad himself, has a very successful career in international tech sales and support. so you never know where a berklee degree may lead! and he still plays, too. my dh majored in photog where he went, and now designs in CAD and other 3d programs as if he has an engineering degree. and my father who had an engineering degree, quit a lucrative engineering position to buy a tennis club as i entered high school. i’m sure whatever your son decides, he’ll be fine on a twisty road of life, just like the rest of us ‘creatives’

    now if you apply what you said to kelly:

    Kelly, if the art therapy route is calling to you, I firmly believe that you OWE IT to yourself to follow that dream

    to your son, i’m sure he’ll make a good decision. 😉

    August 7, 2008

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