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Downsizing Works! – by Lorena Bowser

Downsizing Works!
by Lorena Bowser

There are two salient aspects of life today that I wish were not true:  It’s becoming increasingly hard to find time to relax and enjoy a quiet moment.  And making a living from what you do best, and love, is no longer a feasible goal for most people.  

For the artist, these things are particularly true:  we are not service providers.  We do not fix people’s plumbing or aching back, make diapers, or tires for their cars, or provide any of the other “necessities of life.”  We deal in the intangible.  We “paint the walls” with places people love but cannot reach, and decorate their lives with the exciting, the unusual, and the sublime.  We fix the soul!   The one thing that we ALL have in common is the spirit within.  As such, the artist’s market is the most far-reaching of all.

Yet out of the ever-growing population of people who call themselves artists, there are few who make a living from their art.  The rest of us either call ourselves “leisure-time artists,” as we continue to work at the hospital, department store or office to earn our living; or “starving artists,” who dedicate all the time we wish to sate our inner desire to create, and are barely able to put food on the table.  In either case, I’d be willing to bet that most artists are on the fast track trying to survive.

So how does the inner artist survive?  How do we find time to create our art in the peaceful atmosphere on which creativity thrives … and then make a living from our efforts?  Sometimes it seems impossible.  There are only 24 hours in a day, and after sleep, daily chores and the social pleasures we hold dear, there’s not much left to make art.  The “experts” keep telling us to organize! They call it “Time Management.”  For the creative artist, it doesn’t work!  What we need is Time Downsizing.

In other words, don’t organize your activities - throw some out! 

For me, that means no T.V.!  Yes, I basically gave it up.  I only watch two hours of my favorite programs now, and that’s on Saturday and Sunday.  I gained over 30 hours of free time in my week when, instead of sitting in front of the tube in the evenings (to forget my frustration of not having done any art), I can paint!  In case you’re thinking that I’m some sort of super hero to sacrifice this “essential” element of life, not true!  My PC monitor/TV/VCR access went “dead.” I borrowed a simple PC monitor, and was forced into the situation.  By the time my monitor with the TV connection was repaired, I had discovered more rewarding ways to use my time – and freedom!
Next on my list - Sleep!   No, I didn’t give up sleep, but I made some changes.  I used to find it hard to drag myself off to bed, caught up in the moment of TV or computer.  I was getting to bed too late.  Even when I got up on time the next day, I couldn’t get my brain and body in gear until well into the morning, much less the creative mood. Those normally productive early hours for me were down the tube – or out the monitor.  By going to bed by nine each night, I started getting up earlier, rested and ready to go. I gained another – productive - 3 hours each day.  

There you have it: I have added a full work-week of hours to use as I please.  And I please to create art!  As for making a living at it… it’s too soon to find out.  But I have four commissioned artworks on my table currently – and I’ve gained enough peace of mind to … you guessed it! - take time to smell the roses.

Post Script:  What I choose to give up when “time downsizing” may not work for you, but somewhere in your busy lives, there is something you do that is just not as important as art.  When you throw it out, let me know.  I’ll meet you at the coffee shop…

Lorena Bowser is a lifetime artist and linguist. She has lived all over the world and really knows how to make the pennies scream. Enjoy more of Lorena's resourcefulness at her website and blog: at http://lorenasartandprose.blogspot.com
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3 Responses »

  1. I so enjoyed your article regarding time downsizing. I, too, am a slave to the mundane and wish to have more time to paint. Wishing and doing are two entirely different brain functions, i.e., as in mental and physical. At least that is the case with me. All this is to say I'm going to give some thought and action to this time downsizing idea. I like it!

  2. Gini..It's nice to hear from you! I'll check my blog and figure out the "followers" detail. Will let you know. Thanks so much for the connection on yours!

  3. Thank you, Barbara! Downsizing does work. But some sacrifices are involved. It's a question of priorities. It's kind of like "growing up." You finally figure out what's really important in life and things get a lot easier. Works for me! It will work for you.

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