Creativity Blocker #1 = Money

pexels-photo-164661.jpgDisclaimer:  I’m not claiming to have it all together.  This series is meant as a somewhat personal attempt to pass along some knowledge that I have gained along my journey.  These are merely suggestions. 

I’m going to begin with one creativity blocker that at first mention would not seem to have anything to do with creativity–money.  But when you think about it, everything in our lives has to do with creativity, whether it stimulates it or hinders it.  So, here’s what I have to say about money.

I was notoriously horrible at managing money for the first (long) part of my life.  It just wasn’t a skill that came naturally to me, and I never had the motivation to learn how to manage my money.  Until, I DID have the motivation to learn to manage my money.  Life handed me a wake-up call, and luckily I was smart enough to (finally) accept it.  I say all of this because I think advice (or whatever you want to call this) sometimes comes better from someone who was not so good at something and then ended up being pretty great at it.  I wasn’t good at managing money, and then I ended up being pretty good at it.

You have got to get your money life in order.  No one ever regretted becoming debt free, I promise.  How does this relate to creativity?  You can’t focus on your creative endeavors when you are worried about how you are going to feed your family or buy diapers or keep the lights on.  If you are living paycheck to paycheck (or less than that, even), you don’t have the mental space to focus on that creative passion that is within you.  You are purely in survival mode.

Creativity blocker #1 = money problems.  My suggestion:  Dave Ramsey.  I adore Dave Ramsey and his money advice. I listen to his radio show nearly every day.  It’s free.  I’ve read several of his books.  I’ve been through his Financial Peace University.  I’m not saying you have to become a hardcore Dave Ramsey fan, but he can help.  He offers common sense advice and a simple six-step plan to become debt free and save and give money.  It really is life-changing.

If Dave simply isn’t your style, I do have one other suggestion:  Ruth Soukup’s “31 Days of Living Well and Spending Zero.”  This book was a game changer for me.  It truly was the reset button that was promised.  I’ve mentioned Ruth a few times on this blog before because I really do love the “practical solutions to overwhelm” that she offers.

Bottom line:  You’ve got to get your finances in order, even if it’s just to improve your quality of life.  Admit it… Living a life where your money goes to everyone but you is no way to live.  And, even if you aren’t swimming in debt, living paycheck to paycheck is no fun.  Get your finances in order, pay off your debt and start focusing that energy on the creative life you crave.


How to Find Time for Your Dreams

I’m really loving the emails that I get from Ruth Soukup.  This one showed up in my inbox on Friday, and I thought I would share it because it’s so relevant to the book and moms everywhere.  From Ruth:

I don’t know about you, but over here this has been a busy week of trying to settle back into a productive groove after being out of town for a week and then moving to a new house, pretty much all in one fell swoop!

But the thing that is on my mind today is a question someone asked me this week in response to something I had said about goals.

The question was this:

“How do you find the time to pursue your dreams and accomplish your goals? I feel like every minute of every day is spent running around and putting out fires–I can never get ahead.”

It’s a great question, and one I’m sure we can all relate to! The reality is that we’re ALL busy, and that for most of us, life gets pretty crazy sometimes.

And sometimes all those demands on our time can mean putting our dreams on the back burner. We tell ourselves we’ll get to them when things slow down, or when there’s more time, but then we never do.

But the reality is that there will never be enough time for our big goals and dreams unless we put them first.

In my own life, I have discovered that the secret to making my goals and dreams a reality is getting up early every single day–even on the weekends and even when my schedule is disrupted by life events like travel and moving–and dedicating those first few hours of the day to the big things. Those early morning hours, when the rest of the world is asleep and there are no other demands on my time, have made all the difference. Without them, there would be no LWSL Blog, no books, no Living Well Planner, no Elite Blog Academy.

But make no mistake, getting up early every day comes at a cost. In order to get enough sleep and keep my immune system healthy, I have to be very diligent about getting to bed on time. I am almost always asleep by 9pm, and sometimes even earlier. And this usually means skipping out on evening activities that I enjoy, like going out, or reading a book, or playing games or watching a movie or favorite TV show.

It’s not always easy to say no to the fun things, but the truth is that every time we choose to say yes to something that is not a priority, we are–however unintentionally–saying NO to something that should be.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe once noted that “things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.” Along those same lines, Jim Rohn pointed out that “if it is important to you, you’ll find a way. If not, you’ll find an excuse.”

In other words, if we want to find time to for our dreams, we have to make them a priority.

My challenge for you this week is to resolve to become more intentional about making time for your big goals and dreams. Block time out in your calendar. Start waking up 30 minutes earlier. Skip your favorite TV show. Make the choice to do whatever it takes to get one step closer. A year from now, you might just be amazed by what a difference it will make.

In the meantime, live with purpose, friends, and have a wonderful weekend!

xoxo, Ruth

Productivity for Creative People

This little tidbit is from Gabriela Pereira.  She is the author of the book “DIY MFA.”  I also subscribe to her email list, and this was just one of the things she sent out last week.  If you aren’t familiar with her, please check out her website.

From Gabriela:

Mark McGuinness–an excellent writer and dear friend–has a new book out and it’s available for free! If you listen to DIY MFA Radio, you might recognize Mark as the guest who spoke about motivation for creatives. Whenever I have questions about the creative process, Mark is one of the go-to people I turn to.

His new book Productivity for Creative People is a follow up to his book on motivation and it’s a fantastic resource for anyone who wants to get the most out of their time. If you’ve been struggling to find time in your busy life for writing, this is a must-read. And the best part: It’s not terribly long so you can learn the techniques and then put them into action right away. Go here to grab your copy today!