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Prioritizing time to be creative became a game-changer for mother and writer Allison Wells

With four children, I have a hard time getting anything done, especially making time for myself to be creative. But it’s something I have learned to prioritize and it’s a game-changer for sure.

When kids are small, it can be incredibly difficult to even find your imagination, let alone use it. Nursing babies and clingy toddlers make the term “alone time” a foreign concept. But once they’re all in school, suddenly you’re finding that those hours are spent catching up on laundry or taking the ever-elusive nap you wished you had gotten back in 2015.

Writing is my creative outlet, the way I relax and find my own inner peace and joy. As a writer, I have a hard time explaining to my kids that sitting at the computer isn’t wasted time. I’m not constantly watching something or shopping on my favorite website. I’m actually doing research, emailing editors, working on marketing or – occasionally – writing. When the kids were young, my writing was a bunch of post-it notes with ideas, shorthand dialogue exchanges or one word that I was sure I would know what it meant when I picked it back up again. Newsflash: I never knew what that one word meant.

But when my kids would nap, I would take a deep breath and write. It might have been horrid, but I did it. When I was exhausted and there was a pile of dishes needing to be washed, I begged my husband to do them and I hammered away at my computer. It might have taken forever to finish a book, but eventually, I finished four.

Now that my kids are in school, I can devote more time to my job. I need to be better at it, but with school switching from in-person to virtual this year, I’m not worrying too much about it. My main goal is to set aside that time to be creative and focus on me.

I can’t always write, and my eyes burn out from the computer screen. When that happens, I enjoy reading, coloring, baking and photography. I got into making magnets last year and it’s a fun hobby and makes cool gifts.

Wherever your imagination leads you in your creative pursuits, and no matter how basic your skills are, investing that time in yourself is a must for your health and the overall wellness of your family.