Creative Fatigue: Admitting When You Can’t Do It All

Write my first novel. Start a small business. Finish more short stories. Update this blog.

These are just a few of the things I really, really want to do but haven’t had time to pursue. For me, one of the hardest adjustments I’ve had to make as a parent is admitting that I just can’t do everything.

Hell, if I had a penny for every time I laid in bed at night and genuinely wished the days had 12 extra hours or that I didn’t have a biological need to sleep, I’d be rich enough to quit working and actually pursue every single one of my fleeting fancies.

Pre-parenthood, I had my days entirely to myself. A full-time student, I could sleep whenever I wanted to (relatively speaking) and never felt like I had to rush my creativity. I could spend the entire day writing, watching my shows, attempting to create art – whatever I felt drawn to do. Such freedom seems unbelievable to me now, like a dream I once had long ago. Now that I have a 2 year-old, spare time is a hot commodity. When I have a precious free hour, I am filled with anxiety. Do I study? Work on my writing? If so, should I edit one of my many works in progress or pursue a new idea? Should I catch up on my shows and/or watch random crap on YouTube?

On the other hand, having such limited time for creative pursuits has made me more disciplined. Professionally and creatively, I have achieved more, in the few free hours I have each day, than I did back when I had time to be lazy and push things off until tomorrow. I stopped believing in and waiting on creative muses and learned that I was going to have to buckle down and work if I wanted to accomplish anything before my son was 18 and out of the house.

Still. Only having time for one or two hobbies is extremely difficult for a creative hummingbird like me, who likes to flit from thing to thing. As a self-proclaimed hobby queen, I’ve had to relinquish my crown and learn a different way of creating and expressing myself.

I do what I can. I pursue what feels right. I follow where my life seems to be leading me, and hope and trust that there will be time for other things in the future, when the time is right. Looking back, it seems like I was always where I was supposed to be at any given time, doing what I needed to be doing.

As Park and Rec’s Ron Swanson so eloquently put it:

Gif via
Gif via

So how do you handle creative desires that you just don’t have the time to fulfill? Do you agree with Ron Swanson and believe that you should only do one thing and do it well? Or are you like Leslie Knope, in that there are a million projects you want to complete and you’re passionate about every single one of them?

2 thoughts on “Creative Fatigue: Admitting When You Can’t Do It All

  1. I really like this post and definitely go back and forth between half-assing and whole-assing different pursuits. I guess as I’ve gotten older, I finally de used to do both. Spending quality time with my kids? … No half-assing there. Weekday lunches tho? Well… Let’s just say they get fed 😉


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