Good question! First, I've learned not to expect the dream to be a linear process. My process was all over the place. An illustration here, a quote there, a splurge of writing now and then, another illustration, a trip to Costa Rica, a few losses, a few triumphs, another quote, a buffet in Las Vegas, another splurge of writing.. you know, like that.
Making sure I kept everything so I could find it when it was time to compile the book was important. It was also important for the project to be fun.. something I might do for myself and my friends even if it didn't get published. It is so satisfying watching it grow and letting go of any kind of expectation of how it's supposed to look.
Having a deadline for both my books helped a lot. Working on other projects as well as continuing to compile ideas kept me going on one project for a number of years because it was not my only focus.
How do you protect your own creative time. I find it hard to say no to requests when I don’t have any other commitments on my calendar except those to myself and my creative projects.
Give your creative time a promotion and a raise– make it as important as requests from others. It's sacred and necessary. Embody the tenacious personality of a rebellious, self-determined artist who is adamant about protecting her creative time even if it means saying no to a bunch of people who are unhappy that you did. It's part of your license and requirements as an artist to do this. It also good role-modeling for others.
Or mark your creative time on your calendar as if it were a class and make it a class with yourself. I mark down my creative time and "ruthlessly protect" it. Sometimes I make a time with a buddy so both of us are working in our separate spaces at the same time. That gives that time more importance, structure and likely follow-through. I invented a Bodyguard to go with the nine modern day Muses in my first book in order to summon up our protective powers. If we are creative, engaging in our creativity is vital to our optimal functioning in all areas of our life.
Make it a fun habit. Show up almost everyday even if it's just for 5 minutes. Remember how good it felt when you engaged in your creativity before. Give yourself permission to be imperfect.
How can we find more hours in the day to create as well as keep up with the admin involved in teaching, putting your work in exhibitions and shops!
It's a balancing act for sure, but in each moment, ask your intuition what would make sense. We often know more than we give ourselves credit for.