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Mini Series: Barriers to Creativity - Perplexing Prioritization

To round out the month of our exploration of the creative journey, I wanted to talk about another universal barrier - prioritization - or rather, a lack thereof. The idea of prioritization is an easy out for creatives, for anyone, to use when they feel unable to dedicate sacred time to their creativity.

The root of prioritization aversion for creativity is guilt - whether it be surrounding taking time away from other priorities such as family and career or validating a part of ourselves that doesn’t have merit in ‘the real world’, we are quickly able to make the excuse of not having the time to engage with our creativity. When we do take the time to get creative and give ourselves the space to create and revel in our own power, we are often overcome with guilt for neglecting our other duties; careers, kids, families, friends, working out - although that one often gets prioritized out of our lives too.

By reimagining what our lives can look like, by letting go of guilt and embracing our creativity, giving ourselves the space to be who we are and explore who that is, we can stop letting this hierarchy of prioritization get in our way and allow it to serve us and our creativity.

My Journey with Prioritization:

I have always loved being organized. I used an agenda all through school and still do to this day. I kept up on assignments and events, vacations and eventually job schedules mixed themselves in and have yet to leave. In post secondary I started a three calendar system, colour coding courses and cross referencing the fridge calendar with the day planner. I always had the luxury of prioritizing my creativity - dance classes have a set schedule and a cost to them that make them a priority to attend. These days I have a set schedule for my instagram posts, blog posts, dance - to teach and to take. My creativity is a priority in my life, and it is a conscious choice I make everyday to make my creativity an important part of my life, one I am lucky to have support in, and lots of practice. So this isn’t much of a journey, but it has helped me to prioritize my creativity and make it serve me.

The Complexities of Prioritization:

  • It’s a Hierarchy. By organizing our lives into a neat list from top priority to okay if it doesn't get done this week, we put our world into stark contrast. We invite guilt into the process when we place one thing above another, especially when we place something that serves ourselves rather than those things that serve others in our lives.

  • Societal pressures are gatekeepers of priority - they dictate career and family be the top two priorities in a person’s life. Women feel the pressure to make children a priority in their lives, but none of us are taught to make ourselves the priority, to make our creativity a priority in our lives. Society tells us that making our own self exploration a priority has an expiration date - our early twenties, but even then school, career and family obligations are supposed to be the focus, but the self indulgence is excused as misspent youth.

  • Indulgence is an interesting path to navigate. Indulgence is used to indicate childlike behaviour, greed, over-consumption and selfishness. In our world creativity is seen as an indulgence, a fantasy we seek to pursue for our own ego or play.

Strategies to Harnessing Prioritization:

  • Creating barriers around your creativity can allow you the space to embrace and value your creativity. By making abrriers - structures - around the time you spend creating it can validate your creativity not only to yourself, but to others in your life as well. Setting a time each day, or specific days, or time limits on your creativity can indicate to the wider world that your creativity is a priority and of value to you.

  • Change your narrative surrounding self care. Creativity can be part of self care. We often see self care as time alone to have a bubble bath, sit in nature or dance in the kitchen to your favourite song, but self care is hard, it is time for you to work on yourself, explore who you are. Creativity can be an incredible source of self exploration and expression - if anything, that deserves to be prioritized in everyone’s life.

  • Writing it down. Too often we try to hold scheduling in our heads, lists of what needs doing, and those get catagorized into wants and needs. Needs we have to meet, but wants are selfish and can be pushed aside. We should be placing time to create into the need category; if we give power to our creativity by making it a human need, we can release the guilt of hiding it, of thinking of ourselves as selfish, we can give our creativity value in our own minds. To give it power in the world we need to manifest it, we need to do it. Writing it down brings our desire to create out into the world with confidence, purpose and intent.

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