I remember when I was a little boy, I would take my notebook and pencils with me on every car ride, to the grocery store or restaurant, to the beach or out of town, no matter how short the trip. For the entire trip I wouldn’t look up; my attention would stay glued to the paper on my lap as I wrote stories and drew characters and created worlds. I always loved creating, and it was my dream to one day create my own book or video game or movie filled with these stories and characters and worlds born in my imagination.
As little kids, many of us dedicate countless hours thinking or creating or building or playing towards a certain dream or passion, maybe several.
We have the ability to immerse ourselves in a creative and playful state of flow easily for long stretches of time. As we grow older, it is the flow of society’s conveyor belt that takes hold instead. Many of us surrender to its pull and let it take us while we leave our pencils, dance shoes, guitars, cameras, paintbrushes, modeling clay, and other beloved tools on the sideline, telling ourselves that, one day, we will return to our tools and our passions when we retire or have more time to dedicate to them.
Meanwhile, our time gets filled with work, family, careers, responsibilities, commitments, and unforeseen elements. I’m not saying those are all bad things. Many of these things are wonderful things that we desire, but many of these things we chase because of the expectations and values that society assigns for us. Still, many other things that come about are unexpected and unpredictable.
Practicing mindfulness teaches us that this unpredictable nature is an essential aspect of life and part of its beauty and helps us become better at navigating it. And yet, the feeling that we didn’t dedicate enough time to the things we loved doing creeps up on many of us. I believe that there is a way to minimize this regret without subscribing to the romanticized, somewhat privileged, idea that you should leave everything behind to pursue a passion. We’re all capable of nurturing our dreams and passions by being mindful and intentional, even those with kids, school, a full-time job, and/or other large commitments.
What I mean is that, by being more intentional and mindful, it’s possible to build our passions and dreams in a practical and balanced way.
By being mindful of how we feel about doing certain things, we can identify the things that bring us the most sense of fulfillment and joy, and by being more intentional with our time, we can realize that we have more time to invest in those things than we tend to believe.
The half-hour commute to work that could be used to listen to an audiobook or course about a topic or skill that we’ve been wanting to learn, the hour or two that we dedicate to Netflix that could be used instead to build a blog or create a podcast—it doesn't take a great deal of time each day to do something that can build over time. Even with 15 minutes each day, or a few hours on certain days of the week/weekend, you can accomplish quite a lot over the span of a few months.
I urge you to dedicate some time to a dream or passion that you’ve left on the sideline.
The key is to be consistent and intentional with your time. Make a list of long term-goals, then break those down into smaller actionable steps and projects, and make sure you set aside at least a certain amount of time each day, or certain days of the week/weekend, to carry out those steps.
To encourage you in your practical pursuit of your passions, I put together a list of 5 actions you can take to nurture your creative passion:
1. Create a podcast-
Podcasts are very popular these days, and they’re becoming more and more popular. Creating a podcast can be a fun and engaging way to immerse yourself in a topic that you are passionate about and share it with the world. It’s also a good way to gain exposure and experience within your field of interest. To create your content, you’ll need to invest in a microphone and you’ll also need a recording software, but don’t worry, no need to break the bank. Here’s a list of inexpensive microphones that are ideal for podcasting. Also, check out this list of free audio recording software options. To share your content, you could use a music/audio distribution platform like Soundcloud, or join a podcast hosting service with a free tier.
Here’s a very extensive and helpful guide about how to start a podcast. Remember, if it seems like a lot to take in, don’t get overwhelmed. Take it one step at a time but be consistent.
2. Start a blog-
One of the most popular content creation methods is blogging; it’s a wonderful way to engage with a topic that you are passionate about. Blogging can help you learn more about your field of choice, and if you pursue it more seriously, it can be a very effective way to gain a following and build a reputation as an authority in your field. And the best part is, you can be as minimalistic or creative as you’d like to be; blogs come in all shapes and sizes—articles, videos, images, or a combination of any. You don’t need to invest anything to blog, just start writing! You will need to share your content on a site or platform, but there are many free options. Here’s a list of the best blogging platforms with free tier options.
Here an article by Huffpost with 5 tips on how to start a blog.
3. Join a group-
Join a group or network of people that share your passion. You never know, meeting people with shared interests might lead to an unexpected project, which could eventually lead to a fruitful partnership or business venture. At the very least, you’ll get to spend some time engaging with your passion and you’ll most likely make new friends that you can converse with about your interests. There are apps and platforms out there made for networking and joining groups, such as Meetup and Facebook Groups.
On the off chance that a group dedicated to your field of interest doesn’t exist, you could be the one to create it!
4. Take a course-
Why not continue your education and learn about what you love? Learning is thrilling when you can choose to learn about what you love, and the internet gives you this opportunity.
Even if you don’t receive a degree in its physical paper form, the knowledge you can accumulate from watching videos and courses on the web can be on par with getting degrees in multiple fields, especially if you enjoy and engage with the material. Instead of listening to the same old songs on the radio during your commute, why not use the time to listen to a biography on Audible? Or instead of binge watching shows on Netflix, maybe spend half of that time taking a course on Skillshare or AskVideo?
There are plenty of websites that offer memberships at reasonable monthly prices and give you access to a wealth of knowledge, and, if you really don’t want to pay, the internet is flooded with free tutorial videos and courses on just about anything that you could think of!
Here’s a list of 25 sites that offer free online education, including classes from Harvard, Yale, and MIT!
5. Just create
Just create something. It doesn’t have to be a huge or long term project, and you don’t have to share it with anybody if you don’t want to. It doesn’t have to be perfect, finished, or polished. Keep a sketchbook, an audio diary, a written journal. If you start a project and really don’t enjoy it, switch to something else. Try things you haven’t tried before. Try old things in new ways. Trying different things can teach you new skills and knowledge, and it can also expose you to things that you didn’t know you enjoyed or were good at. If you’re creating, you’re learning, and if you’re learning, you’re growing. And it’s incredible how quickly a few minutes a day can accumulate and evolve into a solid portfolio of work.
I gave you a short list of just five things, but there are many other things you could try, such as creating an Instagram page or TikTok account, writing a book, creating a video series on Youtube—your imagination is the limit. Eventually, you might find yourself building a website, printing business cards, creating an online shop, and building a brand from the work you’ve accumulated and growing a business from your passion!
But here’s the most important thing: Do it for the love of doing it.
Yes, make goals, plan, and organize yourself, but don’t get caught up in expectations. Enjoy the process of creating and the process of learning something new. Don’t let your passion become an obsession. If you’re intentional with your time, mindful of your actions, and you do these things for enjoyment and not for the sake of expectation, it will be much easier for your passion to turn into a creative business venture organically.
To this day, I carry a backpack with me wherever I go, which holds my notebooks and pens and iPad and books and other creating tools.
For the past few years, I’ve been following my dream of creating my own little universe, consisting of my songs, illustrations, poetry, stories, and characters. I call it the Syneverse.
Here’s a song from the Syneverse that I released a few days ago, called Plato’s Cave, dedicated to all of those creative people struggling to hold on to their dreams. I hope it resonates with you:
Here Are A Few More Useful Online Tools for Creators:
Blurb: (a platform for self-publishing books and magazines):
Canva: (an easy to use DIY graphic design platform)
Entrepreneur Store: (a store that sells many discounted software, memberships, courses, and other tools for creatives and entrepreneurs)
The Bezier Game: (a fun game that can teach you how to use Bezier curves for vector illustration)
Game Crafter: (a website that allows you to design and create your own trading cards and board games)