10 Tips to Inspire Creativity and Achieve Your Goals

I’m so excited to have guest poster Samantha Dorn from Aqua Paisley Studio with us to share 10 Essential Tips to Make Time for Creativity and Achieve your Goals. Her posts are always so thoughtful and inspiring.

10 Essential Tips to Make Time for Creativity AND Achieve Your Goals from Samantha Dorn

It’s the beginning of a new year and it feels like the world is buzzing with goal setting and resolutions. “This year is going to be my year”, I hear people say. “I’m finally going to do that ‘thing’ I’ve always wanted to!!”

Awesome, right?! A new year is full of exciting possibilities. And, it seems to come with a surge of energy and momentum that makes these goals feel within reach.

But a week goes by, and then another, and we begin to realise that our dream of making things happen, isn’t as easy as we’d hoped.

We are unique individuals leading equally unique and busy lives. And, with only 24 hours in a day, most of which we devote to work, sleep and regular commitments; how can we make time for the things we want to do?

The good news is, there are things we can do to reclaim our time, without closing ourselves off from the world or hiring a full-time nanny to look after our children. Here are 10 simple things you can do, to get you closer to your goals this year.

1.Use a planner

If you feel like you are constantly juggling balls and, on the run, with no rest stop in sight, then you need to stop and take account of your time. Using a planner helps you visually see your schedule at a glance. Everyone has the same 168 hours in a week, but we each have very different time slots available to us for creative projects.

Find your personal pockets of time that you can use to work towards your creative goals. Block them out in your planner. If you are serious about making time for your craft, then you will have to be prepared to invest a regular amount of time into building a creative habit

2. Protect your creative time

You would never intentionally miss an appointment with a healthcare professional – would you? Of course not, you respect their time! So, when you set aside time to create, give yourself the same respect and show up.

Be prepared for your ‘appointment’. And, do your best to avoid unnecessary interruptions and distractions. Even small pockets of time are worth protecting, because they ultimately accumulate and have the potential to make a big impact in achieving your goals.

What to do when creative motivation fades

3. Choose projects wisely

In a world where inspiration can at times be all consuming, it is easy to find ourselves in situations where the excitement of other people is contagious.

Before you embark on any project, ask yourself, “Do I really want to spend my creative energy on this project, in this moment?”

It’s an important question, because once the initial enthusiasm wears off – which, let’s be honest, does happen more than we might like; you need to have the intrinsic motivation to push through the resistance barrier and keep working on the project. Choose projects that speak to your heart and your circumstances.

4. Learn to say ‘no’

We live in a society where we are encouraged to say ‘yes’ to new experiences and opportunities. But there is a reason the word ‘no’ exists!

We need to get comfortable with saying ‘no’ at times in order to be the best version of ourselves. Being willing to help and support others is a wonderful human trait, but at times it means we end up trading precious personal time for activities that don’t interest us, or spending our time in ways that either physically or emotionally drain us. So, don’t feel guilty about occasionally saying ‘no’ – remember, if you know a ‘yes’ is going to weigh you down, be honest with yourself, and have the courage to decline the commitment up front.

5. Let it go

Along with choosing projects wisely and learning to say ‘no’, it’s important to give ourselves permission to let things go. If a goal no longer has meaning, there is nothing to say you have to stick with it throughout the year. Change, pivot or let it go – it’s up to you.

The same goes for past projects. If something you were working on in the past no longer sparks any meaningful joy – let it go!

Letting go of the ideas and things that no longer serve our purpose, or make us happy, helps to free up mental or physical space that allows us to explore new possibilities and connect to our authentic creative selves.

Stardust Quilt Pattern by Aqua Paisley

Stardust – Pattern by Aqua Paisley Studio

6. Know thyself

Don’t compare your creative output to that of anyone else. You are unique and your talent and strengths are yours alone.

It’s important to know your body’s rhythm and energy levels in order to find the best times to create. If you are not a morning person then it might not make sense to schedule a creative session at 5.30am, but giving yourself half an hour each day in the evening might be the answer. Finding your biological creative prime time is essential to finding your creative flow.

7. Disengage from your device

Social media and the Internet are awesome – they help us connect in ways we could never have imagined not all that long ago. But with the amount of inspiration at our fingertips, we can easily find ourselves down a rabbit hole, with no bottom in sight.

Any device in your hands is a distraction – an inspiring distraction, perhaps, but a distraction nonetheless! Decide how long you are willing to allow yourself to be distracted. Remember you are the boss of your device, and set yourself limits.

It’s important to realise that distractions are stopping you from getting important stuff done. A mode of sustained concentration is the only way you will find your natural creative flow.

8. Do something

When you have a choice between doing nothing and doing something, always choose to do something. One small step towards your goals will create momentum that can snowball into many steps. Routines and habits are the building blocks to a creative life. Learn to love the process as much as the outcome and you are on your way to reaching your goals.

My only caveat to this principle is when your energy is extremely low. When this is the case remember it is important to ‘know thyself’ – occasionally the something you should do, is nothing at all ;).

9. Believe

In order to be a creative person, you must decide that is who you are! Stop making excuses. It’s important to believe that the universe is supporting you and wants you to succeed, and then get to work and create!

Believe what you have to contribute to the creative community is worthwhile, and share your work. Believe that you can make your little corner of the world a better place, simply by being you and expressing your joy through the projects you create.

10 Tips to Make Time for Creativity and Achieve your Goals

10. Create joy

When it comes to true creativity, joy is not something you chase, but something you unlock deep within your soul. If you are feeling tired or stressed about the prospect of creative work, you may need to reframe the way you are thinking.

The ability to think and act creatively comes down to having good knowledge of yourself and the best working practices for you.

Remind yourself of why you want to create. Ignore all the noise you find in the outside creative world and reconnect with what inspires and motivates you. Knowing your ‘why’ is vital to your own path of creative self-discovery – it’s ultimately what brings you joy and fulfillment.

Wherever you are on your creative journey, and whatever goals you have set yourself this year, I hope you remember, the journey isn’t about perfection.

It’s about progress.

It’s about self-awareness, routines and habits that help us ultimately reach our creative goals. These things may seem boring, perhaps even limiting; but these are the things that will make your creative dreams a reality.

Yes, it will be some work, and will require change – but your life will be enriched, and you will have brought a piece of you and your story into the world – so, I hope you agree…

it will be worth it!

Happy New Year – I wish you all a successful journey on the road to making time for, and achieving your creative goals in 2019!

Samantha, xx  

Thank you so much, Samantha! Just what I needed to hear! You can read her excellent tips on Sparking Your Creativity and 5 Ideas to Help You Feel Motivated in past posts.

I’m taking Samantha’s advice and working on something just for fun, just for me. I’ve had my eye on her Memory Lane mini quilt for a while now and decided to just go for it! I’m using some favorite fabrics, including prints from my 3 fabric collections to make this sentimental mini quilt. I’ll hopefully share the finish by the end of the week! You can find more of Samantha’s patterns in her Aqua Paisley Studios shop.

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  • Reply
    Jenny Coyle
    January 22, 2019 at 12:16 pm

    Excellent advice, thank you! (And totally worth the read just to view the eye candy…my display wall still has a looong way to go after seeing this!)

    • Reply
      Samantha D
      January 27, 2019 at 5:07 am

      Thanks Jenny – I have been working on my wall for a while now, and luckily I still have lots of room for more minis in the future 🙂

  • Reply
    January 22, 2019 at 12:56 pm

    Thanks for the tips… especially the “let it go” and “do something” bits. No one ever said “I quilt to be miserable”…. right?

    • Reply
      Samantha D
      January 27, 2019 at 5:08 am

      That’s so true Yvonne – make the things that bring you joy!!

  • Reply
    January 23, 2019 at 3:27 am

    Thank you for today’s blog, I got out of bed & went & did some piecing for the first time in weeks.

    • Reply
      January 25, 2019 at 11:01 am

      I’m so glad! xo

    • Reply
      Samantha D
      January 27, 2019 at 5:10 am

      Lynn – you have made my day -thank you!! I am so glad you felt inspired to sew 🙂

  • Reply
    Gayle Shumaker
    January 23, 2019 at 6:43 am

    Thank you for your excellent tips. As I read I definitely connected with some tips as advice I needed.

    • Reply
      Samantha D
      January 27, 2019 at 5:11 am

      I am glad there was a connection for you Gayle 🙂

  • Reply
    January 23, 2019 at 4:03 pm

    Thanks for this! It’s very timely for me, as just this morning I decided to put aside the project I have been working on (and avoiding) and make a mini just for myself. I need to be working on something I want to do, rather than feeling I have to.

    • Reply
      Samantha D
      January 27, 2019 at 5:13 am

      That is so good to hear! It is really important to connect our craft with our joy and make things that feel inspiring!

  • Reply
    January 25, 2019 at 10:38 pm

    This is SO GOOD.

  • Reply
    January 27, 2019 at 7:31 am

    Thank you Amy and Samatha for these good advices!

  • Reply
    snowbaby katz
    February 10, 2019 at 9:51 am

    This is so good I cried. I have been making quilts for a long long time. But lately I just sit in my quilt room ~ my sewing space, and sit. I collect beautiful fabrics, but I don’t have the energy or inspiration to do anything with them. I mean, what’s the point when there is no one to appreciate anything that I do. This line really spoke to me. . . hence the tears

    ” Believe what you have to contribute to the creative community is worthwhile, and share your work. Believe that you can make your little corner of the world a better place, simply by being you and expressing your joy through the projects you create. ”

    You all have no idea what my little corner of the world is like. Its pretty dismal. There is nothing here, in any direction for hundreds of miles ~ nothing. And yet maybe, just maybe I could do something to brighten this little corner of the world…
    lets see.

    Awesome article, just what I needed for such a time as this.

    • Reply
      February 10, 2019 at 1:15 pm

      Aww, I’m so glad it struck a chord for you. I’m going to pass your comment on so that Samantha sees it. She is a great inspiration. I’m so glad this helped. xo

      • Reply
        Snowbaby Katz
        February 10, 2019 at 2:51 pm

        you both are inspiring.. both of you ~ thank you for sharing Samantha’s post.. I just really needed it right now

        • Reply
          February 19, 2019 at 10:41 am

          Hi Snowbaby Katz, Heart felt hug to you! We all need PURPOSE in life. Glad you feel better! I live in Switzerland and when it snows, I am homebound too. Your quilt room sounds intriguing! I mean to have a quilt room…wow! Best to you and hope it’s an early spring for you.

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