Bards Lost in The Metaverse Episode 34 - Starting your creative journey - How to find time
This week Sharn and Andy explored the challenges of finding time for creativity in today's hectic world. Discover their unique approaches, gain practical tips, and unlock your own artistic potential. Whether you're a schedule man like Andy, or a go with the flow girl like Sharn, this episode offers insights, techniques, and inspiration for integrating creativity into your busy life.
But first, the news
It’s Friday the 19th May 2023, and this is news with Sharn:
In Web3 and tech new this week:
Spotify has removed tens of thousands of AI-generated songs from its music library due to suspected automated streams from fake listener accounts. The songs were generated by AI music startup, Boomy, which allows users to generate an assortment of tracks based on particular "vibes". Spotify temporarily cut off new uploads from Boomy and took down thousands of its songs, which is part of an industry-wide issue to stamp out artificial streaming. The incident is a sign that generative AI is causing a lot of weird headaches for the music industry.
Google I/O 2023 conference took place last week with a strong emphasis on AI. Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google, highlighted advancements in AI during his keynote, including PaLM 2, a large language model powering Google's Bard, and the introduction of the "Magic Editor" in Google Photos. The conference also featured expansions to Google Bard, previews of generative AI in Google Workspace and Search, as well as AI-driven features in Android, such as generative AI wallpapers and a new "Find My Device" network. Additionally, Google addressed its commitment to AI responsibility by implementing measures to mark AI-generated images and reduce the spread of misinformation. The event concluded with announcements about new Google Pixel devices, including the availability of the Pixel 7a. Google I/O was Google’s chance to not only show the world what its AI is capable of and what’s in the pipeline, but also its chance to show everyone how it is working to roll out AI with as few negative impacts as possible.
Moving now to the world of Publishing:
The winners of this year's Pulitzer Prizes in the United States were unveiled earlier this month. Hernan Diaz and Barbara Kingsolver jointly received the Pulitzer Prize for fiction for their captivating novels Trust and Demon Copperhead respectively. The Pulitzer Prize is an award administered by Columbia University for achievements in newspaper, magazine, online journalism, literature, and musical composition within the United States. Established in 1917 by provisions in the will of Joseph Pulitzer, who had made his fortune as a newspaper publisher, the Pultizer’s are regarded as the highest national honor in print journalism, literary achievement, and musical composition. They are awarded in 21 categories each year so a big congratulations to all the winners.
In the US, a new initiative called Reimagining Bookstores, launched by Praveen Madan of Kepler's Books, aims to address the challenges faced by independent bookstores and transform them into vibrant community spaces. The project has gained significant support, with investors, philanthropists, and independent bookselling associations offering grants, investments, and strategic advice to bookstores. The initiative is also partnering with the Whole School Leadership Institute to develop customized training modules for bookstore management and creative leadership. The goal is to create a larger movement that emphasizes storytelling in displays, strengthens advocacy, forms partnerships with local businesses, and fosters community engagement.
And that my friends, was news with Sharn.
On to the actual episode
Time is the most valuable resource on the planet. So how do we use it well to achieve the things we need and want to do…. before it runs out!
I think the first thing we need to do before we even talk about finding time to write or create or whatever it is you want to do is to do a little budget/stocktake.
What currently takes up your time
and the list goes on and on. But it is an individual thing that you need to figure out for yourself. You need to do a stock take and see how much time each of these activities is taking up as well.
What's important to you?
Out of all the things you currently do you probably then need to rank these activities in a priority order.
Watching netflix may be higher than something else if you have a Review blog for example but it may not be more important than exercise or spending time with the kids.
Again only you can answer these questions as they are personal to you and your current life.
Sharn’s test: Imagine yourself on your deathbed, at that point, what are you going to look back on and wish you prioritised or where brave enough to try?
So now you know where you sit, what's next. Well here is how we do it:
Andy: I am a big creature of habit and a follower of the saying “If it's important, do it every day.’ So many moons ago when I started writing I decided to get up early (usually around 4am) and write and make that a non- negotiable. As in that had to happen. And over the last 3 years I'd say I have probably only missed maybe a total of 10 days, and that's due to things like travel or covid or the kids keeping me up until zero dark and deciding 3hrs of sleep is better than 2hrs.
On top of this I have some other blocks of time I try to work in that I’d say I stick to “most of the time”. They are:
3 mornings a week over breakfast at the cafe at work. Although this time can be a bit more admin focused
for an hour or 2 at night after family time. This is a recent addition just this year and has helped massively with Bookurary and making the audio drama. But this time is much more susceptible to outside influences (which we will discuss later) so it isn't as regular as I would like.
I would love to be a creature of habit, but I’m not. I can’t work that way cause I get down on myself as soon as something comes up and the habit slips.
So this is what worked for me. First off was realising and acknowledging writing was important to me and something I really wanted to do. But it was hard to start because I couldn’t see any way to carve out big chunks of time in my already busy life to sit down and write. It almost felt indulgent and something I couldn’t justify. But I realised, I didn’t need to find hours of free time, what was important was just starting and getting any words on the page. So I started in 10 minute chunks. Just 10 minutes. I could manage that. So I would finally get the kids down and then sit down only for 10 minutes and write. Often it would end up being more than 10 minutes, but mentally telling myself it was only 10 minutes made it possible for me to sit down and do the work. And this is how I drafted my entire outline, which then enabled me to be able to easily keep track of the story and know what I needed to write whenever I jumped back into it.
The time I would write changed from writing after getting the kids to sleep, to writing in the dark in their room. I wrote for 5 minutes while filling the bath, then eventually I started writing for 30 mins at 6am. Things chopped and changed, but I guess I did build a habit of just trying to fit in writing where I could around my life. And this was a much easier mental task rather than trying to adjust the rest of my life to fit in writing. Now the kids are older and both at school, I’ve kept my Thursday off work and use it to write/edit.
I admit, I found editing needed me to sit down more and give it dedicated time compared to creating on the fly, so I had to do this either after the kids were in bed, or on my Thursday.
My schedule constantly changes, but I keep writing as a priority in my life, so I manage to find time to do it. Although it does end up feeling like I always have a pretty crazy to do list always hovering over my head.
Why we do things that way
Andy: The reason I get up at 0400 and write is because I can do it every day and rarely are there ever any distractions. The world is mine at that time and the creativity is high. There are no boundaries to be set with the family, there are no jobs that need doing, no one is calling me or asking me for anything. It's amazing!
That being said, I am thinking of experimenting with changing it around soon as I am at the point where I need more sleep 🙁
But I am also at the point where I have older kids and can set better boundaries.
I also added in the other two times into my day because we are learning that being an author/creative you only get to spend about 50% of your time actually doing that. If you want to be successful and hopefully one day get your work into the hands of others you need to do all the admin tasks as well. Website, socials, podcast ;) and the list goes on.
My priority is my family. So I don’t want to make them fit around me, I make sure I can fit stuff around them. Of course they do support me and provide me the time and space I need to write, but I never want writing to get in the way of having fun and enjoying the short amount of time my husband and I spend with my kids.
I also have lots of interests and I don’t want to close off all of those just for writing as I want a full and colourful life filled with experiences.
I have learnt I need to embrace the crazy and not compare myself to others who are more disciplined. As I said, if I try to hold myself to some unattainable or unsustainable goal, I end up being so harsh on myself and feeling like I’m a failure. So, I don’t do things that way. I make sure I am working towards my goals, by juggling the crazy that is life. And I’m better with that.
It is a constant struggle though and I have to constantly remind myself of my writing mantra “Progress is progress”.
What we have learnt along the way
Andy: For me it's the power of routine and consistency. I feel that if you have a plan and you stick to it you will just eventually get the thing done. Some days will go to shit and other days you will have massive wins but overall it's sticking to the plan and being consistent over a long period of time that pays off in the long run.
The other thing I would say is to be ready. I always take my laptop with me in case something happens and I'm stuck doing stuff all for 30-60 mins. Kids sports training (not games, games are for watching and supporting) cancelled meetings at work, inspiration of lunch or breakfast. The point being if you are ready to go you can get an extra hour or two in here and there over the week and that adds up over time.
You need to find what works for you. We are all so different and have completely different lives with different priorities. If you want to write, you need to be kind to yourself and be flexible and experimental to find what works for you. And maybe you’re like me, where you don’t have a schedule, but you still get things done when you can. Finding the method or process that works for you and that you can personally sustain is essential. And I would say the best thing to do is ignore what everyone else is doing, and just focus on yourself and what works. Cold showers at 5am might be the answer for some people, but definitely not everyone, and those people definitely don’t include me.
What we would change
Just kidding i would probably change the following:
Starting my night session a year earlier, I used to think that I had to be “having fun” and Watching shows at night as I “deserved it” and working at night would make me the type of person I don't like. (Corpo/ consultant types)
Being stricter with my creative and admin times
having set times for consuming as well as creating
having a monthly theme
Since I change all the time anyway, I don’t have anything in particular. I constantly change the focus of my work week to week, or even day to day.
The only thing I wish I could change, is I wish I was brave enough to take myself seriously earlier, just because I would be more experienced now. But saying that, I then would have the experiences I have now. And really, there is never a bad time to start, the only failure is not starting.
Have a realistic plan and try to stick to it (but be kind to yourself)
There isn’t one way to do things, so find what is right for you, and don’t feel bad about it
Don't forget time for admin
Understand its a marathon not a sprint
Always remember “Progress is progress”
Have fun damn it!
Final wrap up
There are 1 million ways to get to the top of the “mountain” so find the one that works for you.
As always, we have a lot to do and a lot more to learn. Hope you all have fun following along as we improve our understanding and knowledge!
You can find this podcast episode (and all our other episodes) here: https://anchor.fm/invokecreations , or directly on your favourite streaming services.
NOTE: Everything discussed during the podcast is simply our own interpretation of information we come across as we research topics, or is commentary based on our own personal experiences. We highly encourage everyone to conduct their own research into topics of interest as information, especially in the technical space, changes regularly.
Music track featured this week was titled Sky Joy and can be viewed/listened to here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPH5KySvBnWgWPXHi_OtTng
To check out our latest art and music adventures, make sure you like and subscribe to both our Instagram account https://www.instagram.com/invoke_art/ and Youtube channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPH5KySvBnWgWPXHi_OtTng
Or, if you want to read some musing from Sharn and Andy, or maybe see some random pictures of the two of them where Sharn doesn’t know what to do with her hands, then follow us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/invokecreations
Or if everything is just too confusing and you can’t remember where all our stuff is, head to our website www.invokecreations.com and it will point you in the right direction.
As always, we’re off to put our bums on seats and do some work, so until next time stay dangerous!