Nurturing Creativity and A Free Give-Away

Notes: This column was printed in the Barrow Journal on March 21, 2012.  To read the details of this give-away, please scroll to the bottom of the page.  (UPDATE:  GIVE-AWAY IS NOW CLOSED.)

I was flattered recently when my favorite blogger, Renee Tougas, asked me to contribute a few words to her first mini e-book titled, “Nurturing Creativity: A Guide for Busy Moms.”  The book is “part philosophy and part practical – with ideas for how busy moms can make time for creativity in their lives.”

Whether mothers work, stay-at-home, homeschool or not, many of us find little time to nurture ourselves.  For those of us who are creative (who isn’t creative?), it’s very hard to find time for artistic pursuits or other hobbies.  This can be draining, and it doesn’t always make us happy mothers.

She asked me what my favorite creative activity was and how do I make time for it during this busy season of my life?

If you read my column every week (thank you!), you can probably guess that I love to write.  I have been writing in one form or another since I was ten years old.  That’s right, in the fourth grade, I said I wanted to be writer, and unfortunately, I never changed my mind.

I say unfortunately only because I never had the right guidance, discipline or foresight to know what to do with my passion.  I believe everyone should go after what they want to do, but you can’t be too picky about your options within that field, and you have to work your butt off to get anywhere.  I never worked my butt off until now, which means I don’t make much money with my chosen vocation.

But that doesn’t mean I’m not happy.  If you told me 20 years ago that I would find the creative life I was yearning for in being a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom, I would have been horrified.  But here I am – loving every minute of it.

And I learned a few years ago that neither failure nor having children could keep me from putting pen to paper.  Just when I gave up on writing, the Barrow Journal landed in my mailbox.  I let the idea of a column float around in my head for a few months, and now you know the rest. I don’t know if many people read my corner of the paper, but I appreciate the few people who have stopped me in some local store or sent an e-mail to tell me they like my column.

So no matter what, I’m going to write because it’s just something I do, and I have no idea why I feel the need to tell strangers my story, but I do.  It’s as essential to me as breathing.   I credit this column for keeping my sanity during these last few years.  Even when I want to throw in the towel, I know I can’t because if I didn’t have some kind of creative outlet, I might start to resent motherhood.  I dare not let that happen.

So when I do I get a chance to write?  Sometimes I write in the afternoon when my boys are watching T.V., but mostly I write at night after they go to bed.  I make sure I start early in the week because I never know what kind of interruptions I might get or how tired I might be on any given night.

But it can’t go without saying that in order to do this there’s also a lot I don’t do.  My house is not very clean, and (here my husband will stand up and nod vigorously) I rarely cook.  I do clean once a week to keep the house livable, and I make sure everyone eats, but my abilities in homemaking are lackluster.

I appreciate my husband’s support in my attempts to keep up with this column and my blog and all my other creative attempts.  Though he may grumble from time to time, I think he knows (because he is similar) that without being able to do something for myself and without being able to be creative, I wouldn’t be happy.  And you know what they say, “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!”

AND HERE’S THE BEST PART:  Renee is offering one free e-book to one of my readers.  I had the pleasure of reading “Nurturing Creativity: A Guide for Busy Mothers,” and I assure you it’s worth the time to do so.  I found much inspiration and encouragement in her words.  In addition, Renee wrote with busy moms in mind – it’s short, under 50 pages.  So, you have no excuse not to read it.

To enter this give-away, all you need to do is leave a comment before midnight on Tuesday, March 27th, 2012 and tell me why you’d like a copy of this inspirational e-book.  That’s it.  Nothing else.  I will let my five-year-old draw one of your names from a hat on Wednesday, and I’ll contact the winner by e-mail that day.  I’ll also post your name on my blog unless you tell me not to.  You have nothing to lose and much creative inspiration to gain.

One More NoteThe wonderful artwork on this page was created by Erika Hastings of Mud Spice: Mucking about in Art and Motherhood.

21 Responses to “Nurturing Creativity and A Free Give-Away”

  1. This book is on my list of things to buy but winning it would be better and not make me break my New Years Resolution to not buy any more books for 6 months :) I love the reviews and after reading the table of contents I can’t wait to read it. I think this book would be the perfect way for me to recharge and help me to utilize the creative being that is inside of me but often bogged down by all of the other things that I must do.

  2. I saw this on Renee’s blog and instantly added it to my list of must reads! I would love to win a free copy!

  3. Goodness could I use a book about nurturing creativity as a busy home schooling mom! Thanks for the tip on the book and for your perfectly timed post. Before having kids I used to sing, dance, paint…basically anything creative at could get my hands on. Now the closest I get is finger painting and giving my son paint lessons. I love both of those things, but my own creative pursuits are a thing of the distant past. Your post couldn’t have come at a greater time! Thanks!

  4. This post really spoke to me. I also started writing when I was 10 and soon decided I wanted to be a writer. But I am very good at letting everyday life get in the way of writing and would love some tips on how to not let motherhood (and homeschooling) keep me from nurturing the writer in me.

  5. What?? It’s possible to nurture creativity without feeling guilty about not spending the time doing some other household/childcare duty?? I could use this book!

  6. I’m not a mom, so don’t enter me in to the drawing… :) But just wanted to comment that I used to teach art to children and it broke my heart to see the older many of them got the more they asked for rules and instruction… So one day when they came to my place for art, I had a big sign up. NO RULES EXCEPT DON’T EAT THE PAINT. We made art out of everything we could find in the kitchen. :)

    On a more serious note, I can see how rules are drilled into them at school. I was a visiting artist at a blue ribbon (I think that’s what it is called, but it was a top ranked school) in a very wealthy neighbourhood (ie. the parents were very educated & involved with the school & it was well funded.) In other words, shouldn’t it do better???? We made face masks out of plaster & then made them into “personalities.” One kid was so excited to tell the teacher (who was there, as I haven’t a clue about managing a classroom ;)) “I’m going to make a Picasso face.” And the teacher said to him, “NO. Do it like we are all doing it.” I just died inside. :(

    And it can be some parents. :( Was often told, oh the kids don’t have the patience for such a long class… And I would reply that indeed they did. We had 2 hour classes at least. Even for the younger ones. Sometimes you just have to dream a little before you start to create… One class (on a Saturday) the kids begged to stay on and we ended up making art for 5 hours straight. Don’t tell me kids don’t have the staying power. They do! As one of the kids mom’s drove off (he was very enthusiastic about the class he’d just had) she leaned out of the car window and said to me (ehem, NB I’m an artist) “Oh great, now he wants to be an artist when he grows up.” I died a little inside for that little boy… :(

    But in summary, I found that the children really had so much capacity for creativity and focus… Such a joy to teach them.

  7. Right now, life seems like a daily grind for me. Could really use some inspiration and your last sentence is so true!

  8. Sounds great, I would love to win.

  9. I’d like a copy to explore my creative side. I’ve never thought of myself in those terms until recently, and I’ve been trying to work it out.

  10. I’ve just finished reading the book so no need to be entered into the drawing. but I wanted to tell you how much I appreciated your contribution in the book. a lot of my energy and time go into homeschooling, and I’ve begun writing more as well, so my homemaking leaves a bit to be desired. I’ve kept up with the rest of the household tasks like bills and admininstrative things, but clean laundry doesn’t get put away as fast as I’d like, and dishes aren’t always done. my husband sounds likes yours – on occasion he offers “helpful suggestions” on how I can get some more housework done during the day, but he is very supportive and appreciative of all that I do, and so his suggestions are honestly just that, suggestions on how to get the five year old involved more in cleaning, etc, and never a criticism.

  11. To NomdeB: yes, that is heartbreaking when kids actually get in trouble or belittled for wanting to express individuality or creativity. My 6 year old recently participated in a homeschool pottery class run by our local pottery guild. Kids were NOT ALLOWED to veer from the model piece of pottery. The instructor actually grumbled, too, when our kids wanted choose their own paint colors (like, “who on earth would want a blue cat?”). Well, apparently the six year old did! I really had to bit my tongue all through that class.

  12. I’d love to settle down over this book and let it simmer long. It looks like a good read. Thanks for the giveaway!

  13. I would be SOOOO excited to win this. I am a SAHM that homeschools and also works part time outside of the house. I have fallen into a pattern of not honoring my creativity or need for personal time. I cannot seem to find the balance. I know this book would inspire!

  14. I am a stay-at-home mama of two young children. I have found myself feeling burned out lately and would love to read Renee’s book. I could really use some inspiration and help with nurturing myself and not just my little ones. Thanks for the giveaway!

  15. I have enjoyed Renee’s blog for a long time. I admire the way that she analyzes things in her life and that it doesn’t end with the analysis! She takes steps in reaction to the analysises. I am trying to emulate this more often.!

    I am a creative person. At least, I think I still am! Of late, what I mostly do it by rote, in order to get everything done. Guess what? I am starting to bore myself and cannot even imagine how my kids must look at it! So, I hope I win this book. Just a few steps ion the direction of being more creative would , hopefully, allow that part of me to enter back into our lives. Win -win for everyone! – my kids would especially reap the benefit Thanks for the opportunity to enter.

  16. I would LOVE to win this. As a homeschooling, SAHM,I have let the daily grind take over and sort of lost myself along the way. Finding and nurturing my creativity is something I need to do for myself.

  17. Ready to send this ebook to my daughter who lives in Lima, Peru….lots of resources are great when you are in a different culture than the one you were raised in!!

  18. would love to win this book, it looks so inspiring. i too, am a homeschool mother and i have been writing since a young age but it has dropped off in recent years.

  19. I will try homeschooling for the first time this Fall. I’ve read about the importance of incorporating regular time for me to nurture my own creative outlets (I am a freelance writer and classical pianist), something at which I’m largely failing right now. When I see my boys’ vivid imaginations, I lament the loss of my own creativity. Perhaps the ideas in this book could help me recover some of that.

  20. I want to learn how to have the discipline to fit in the creative time when I can, but also the passion to want to do it, instead of letting exhaustion and lack of inspiration turn into a vicious cycle.

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