Reclaiming Creativity

Thinking back on my days creating Manic Mommies, I often wonder where I found the time (or energy) to, with my amazing partner and friend Erin, record and edit a podcast nearly every week for almost 10 years – over 400 episodes, if anyone is counting – not to mention the blog posts we also wrote in our “spare” time.

And, if I remember correctly, we were both raising toddlers, husbands (yes, I said that on purpose), and managing careers.

I have good excuses for the decline in my “side hustle” creativity and productivity at home – age, work responsibilities, did I mention age? – but recently I came to another conclusion.

For me, creativity (and by extension productivity) requires a little selfishness, space, and self-confidence.

If social media channels like Facebook, which I think we can all admit are a total time suck, are about being connected and engaged with people in our lives, then reclaiming that time requires me to disengage.  To be okay not knowing what is going on at every moment, with everyone we know. If anything, to be a little selfish and focus on me.

So I’ve disconnected – not completely, but certainly significantly. I’ve tried to minimize my time on social channels, finding something else to do when I slip into mindlessly scrolling through timelines and streams. And when I do share something – as I will do with this post  – not obsessing about how people respond, or anyone responds at all.

This weekend, that change gave me time, and space, for other things, including riding my bike on the trainer, continuing the house purge, finishing a book that challenged me (Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder) and working on new watercolors to hang in our living room.

What, you didn’t know I painted?

I don’t really, but we needed something to replace the holiday watercolors and, since we are also on a financial detox this month, I decided to give it a try.

Which brings me to the last thing creativity needs – confidence.

Confidence to give something a try, knowing it may not the best, or perhaps not even that good. (Did I mention that I didn’t listen to my first podcast, probably ExtraLife Radio until we had recorded and published 3 or 4 episodes of our own?)

Confidence that what you’ve created is good enough to hang on the wall, or the case of the podcast or the blog, confidence to make public.

Confidence that someone, anyone, might want to read what you’ve written. And the confidence to keep creating, even when the feedback is negative, or non-existence, because it makes you happy and fuels further creativity.

8 thoughts on “Reclaiming Creativity

  1. Kudos, Kristin! I always enjoy your posts (and I miss Manic Mommies—you and Erin were my lifeline!). Best wishes to you and yours in the new year!

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  2. I know you said you won’t care if no one replied, but I wanted you to know I am still reading all your posts and appreciate the perspective you bring to me and others. I’m not a creative person, so it’s not that so much that I responded to today but rather the importance of deliberately making time for things that matter to me. I’ve been struck since my only kid left for college a year and half ago that I’m back on my own in a way I would never have thought possible. I love my husband, and really enjoy my job, and am trying to reconnect with friends who I’ve neglected too much. I need to find a way to stop working and stop shopping online and stop reading twitter and Instagram endlessly and instead cultivate a more thoughtful use of ‘my’ time. I don’t want to waste my days – but man is it hard to get off the phone and engage.

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    1. I’m glad you realized that last bit was a total lie – of course I care. I just need to make sure I don’t become obsessed with if people reply (or not).

      I totally hear you – this weekend was very much about “me” – even as I was cleaning the house, etc. That was very unusual and enjoyable!

      I remember talking to a friend a few years ago when her daughter went to college – she was at a loss as to “what” to do with her time since she didn’t have many other interests. Recently she told me about her new Virtual Reality googles and her obsession with Skyrim! It’s certainly not for everyone, but for her it was the perfect way to recapture some of her time and do something she enjoys.


  3. Love, love, love your little birds! So whimsical and adorable! I really relate to this post because I also look back on when I was raising kids, working like a demon, attempting to train my husband, and had the weight of the world on my shoulders. I’m almost to 60, the kids are almost out of college, and I am also looking at how I use or don’t use my time. I sure don’t have the energy I used to have, but I also know I’m capable of much more. You’re a great role model, Kristin – I admire your drive, your insights, and your thoughtfulness.


    1. Thanks Julie! I am in love with them – and also have an itch to make more.

      And thank you for your kind words. I’m so impressed by anyone who has made it through the high school years with their sanity intact!


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