About a month ago, a friend asked if it was possible to work a 8-5 job, in a cubical, on more "creative" projects and still have energy and inspiration left to be creative on personal projects at home. Such a great question and I've actually been pondering that question a lot this past month -- and I think I've decided that it is possible...but really hard.
In fact, this blog may be a good example of how it's been hard recently. This past month I had to devote a disproportionate amount of my time working on two writing projects that took a lot of collaboration, blood, sweat, and tears. And to be honest, the last thing I wanted to do when coming home was write a blog entry. It was as if all my creativity had been reallocated into these work projects. Since writing at work wasn't super fun, blogging, journaling, and any other kind of writing did not seem fun.
But I think there are other aspects within my job that do make it hard to remain creative away from my job:
1. Working in a cube: There is something about being confined in an 8x8 square without access to windows that puts a damper on my creativity. And I wonder if that's because at some level it puts up barriers between me and God's creation (both in terms of people and nature). Now I know that not all inspiration comes from nature...but I have found it true that more often than not I'm inspired by God's creation far more than I am by things I see on the internet (with maybe Pintrest being the recent exception to that).
2. Not separating work from non-work projects: as I've mentioned above, I have noticed that if I am engaged in writing a lot at work, it's harder to find the energy and passion to write outside of work (especially when the work project is hard, political in nature, or emotionally draining). It's been easy to let the frustration at work creep into personal projects.
3. Time: While working a 8-5 job has brought a sense of stability into my life (as compared to the haphazard life of a campus staff worker), it does seem like there is less time to devote to creative things in my personal life. Or I find personal projects get postponed to the weekend (and even then...those projects fight for time between all the other weekend activities). So finding time to work on projects has felt more challenging.
I'm sure there's more...but those have been the few things I've noticed about my current job that make it hard to be creative outside of my job.
But again, I think it is still possible to be creative when you work in a cube from 8-5 -- it just takes some creativity.
So thanks Abi for a great and though provoking question. It's been good for me to think about.