However you express your creativity, you need undisturbed time for its expression. One of the best ways to crush your creativity is to avoid setting boundaries that others will respect.
Virgina Woolf wrote at length about the importance of having a room of one’s own. With all respect, I’d take it further. You need a life of your own, one that isn’t constantly interrupted by the child who can’t find his shoes, the teenager who urgently needs a ride to the mall, and the mate who wants to know who used the last light bulb.
It seems to be a law that, whenever you go into that room of your own and close the door, everyone wants to open it. This, however, isn’t a law of nature. Unlike the law of gravity, you can change it, but it’s going to take moral fortitude, fueled by the conviction that a life of your own is important.
The key to upsetting the law of interruption is to closely examine the idea wanting time for yourself is selfish. My guide on this subject is Edward Bach, M.D., who also created the Bach Flower Remedies, designed to deal with emotional imbalances.
Many of us learned that to follow our deepest desires is to be selfish, despite Shakespeare’s observation that we’re true to ourselves we will be false to no one else. In Dr. Bach’s view selfishness consists, not in honoring our own desires, but in interfering with the desires of others.
In other words, anyone who wants to interfere with the time you’ve set aside for yourself is saying, “Don’t be selfish and do what you want. Be unselfish and do what I want (so I can be selfish).”
Your beloved family and friends don’t think of themselves as interfering. They may be upset that something seems more important to you than them. They want reassurance. They want to know that they’re LOVED.
And the truth may be that after the sixth interruption in as many minutes, you may not be overflowing with love. They’re right to be worried.
Everyone’s situation is unique, so you’ll have to figure out the particulars of how to shift the dynamics in your relational world. You may find these general guidelines helpful.
1. Believe in yourself and in your creative urges. Honor them as if you needed them to survive and thrive. You do.
2. The more you respect yourself and your creativity, the more you will automatically draw respect from others.
3. The more you insist on fulfilling your needs, the more interest you’ll have in helping others fulfill theirs.
4. To whatever extent possible, include others in your creative life. If you write paranormal fiction, ask “What’s a good name for a vampire?” If you paint, ask others to be on the lookout for compelling views in nature. Do whatever works to make them feel included rather than excluded.
5. Finally, consider this analogy. If you were a car, you wouldn’t say you’re too busy taking people to where they need to go to stop in for a checkup/tuneup, because you know a car can’t do what it has to do unless it gets serviced. Know this applies to your creative life, and communicate it to others.