It’s About Time

One of the things that I’m sure you struggle with is finding enough time.

Like most creative people who are passionate about their craft, I want to spend all of my spare time on it, and I know most of my friends feel the same. I seem to have a natural affinity for writers (after all – I married one!), and so quite a few of my friends are writers. I think it’s even harder to find time for writing than painting, and so I thought I’d ask some of my creative friends for their advice on how they find time for their craft.

This is the first in a series of blogs featuring the answers to finding creative time that my friends have given me. I hope you will find them as useful and enlightening as I have and that they help you to think more deeply about finding the time for your art.

So, this week, it’s about time for the talented artist Andy Bigwood! Andy is an Artist, Draughtsman, Bookbinder, Cartographer, and Illustrator from Trowbridge, Wiltshire. Trained in technical illustration, in Bath (shortly before the evolution of computer aided art), Andy has provided artwork, cartography and cover designs for a variety of Fantasy, Horror, and Science fiction novels, twice winning the British Science Fiction Association Award for best artwork.

 G: Tell me what a typical day looks like for you?

AB: Up at 6AM, train journey, in work for 8AM work until 4:30, train journey until 17:45, 45mins cycling, microwave meal, then doing art or whatever until midnight – three days a week
The other two days I work from home gaining me an hour’s extra sleep and 2 hours extra free time!

G: What is your biggest time challenge at the moment, and how are you dealing with it?

AB: Weight loss, achieved by cycling 5 miles at least 3 times a week.

G:Do you make use of internet limiting tools? Do they work?

AB: NO, One can never have too much internet!
You just have to recognise how much time a thing will take and how much you want to invest in it. I find that the hardest thing on the internet is an MMO where you end up leading a group/guild/team… you likely have kids/teens relying on your leadership, and thats a really tough thing to walk away from. Facebook is easy to walk away from.

G: What tip would you give someone struggling to find time to create?

AB: Try to maximise your day. The government has laid down an obligation to employers to allow working from home wherever practical. Not spending 2 or 3 hours travelling a day is a big bonus. If you have to travel to work, try to use public transport, use the time on public transport. On a train you can write, read, look at your mail/email. In the morning I get an extra 40mins sleep on the train and set my phone alarm for two stops before get off.  

G: Tell us a little secret about your art/writing/craft.

AB: I am an author and an artist, creatively I can’t do both in the same week..the creative energy always goes one way or the other. If you are creative EXHIBIT IT, there is no better ego boost than the unsolicited praise of the public.

G: Do you have any recommended reading/resources that have helped you with your artistic time management?

AB: NO. buying a book on time management is a waste of time. Every person is an individual and will have unique circumstances. In the same way that personal trainers and Gyms work for some people they won’t for others (that’s why I cycle for exercise).

G: Do you ever involve your child(ren) in your craft, or is it a no go area?

AB: I don’t have a child. But if I did, then he/she would be the main focus..consider a child as an art project, teach your child to draw and paint, read and write… the young ones thrive on the attention and are (probably) less trouble when focused on creativity. Clearly what sort of art you can let a child do really depends on age.  

G: What couldn’t you do without to get you through the day?

AB: Internet access and an ebook to read.

G: Final words of wisdom?

AB: Creativity can’t always be set aside, sometimes an artistic concept will DEMAND to be put on paper. When you absolutely NEED to do a piece of art, then you should try to make the time to let it out. And thats what Annual Leave is for.


Many thanks to Andy for these answers and insights into his creative process. If you’d like to discover Andy’s fantastic art, you can check out his website and DeviantArt page. Andy is also the organiser of the BristolCon Art Show, so if you are coming along to BristolCon be sure to say hello and check out his work.

Do you have any advice about finding time to be creative, or do you want to ask me any of the questions above? If so, please leave me a comment!

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