leezadancesby Leeza Hernandez

Do you mutter the words “Yes, but…” when someone suggests you take ten minutes for yourself? Many people I know cannot seem to muster a simple “yes” or “great idea, I think I’ll do that” then go do it. That big ol’ but (and life) keeps getting in the way. Dang that BUT!

Imagine, though, ten whole minutes just for yourself—to do whatever you feel like—not reading emails, doing chores or running errands—something special. What does that look like?

Close your eyes and take one long, satisfying breath. Imagine what you would do with ten minutes. What is it that you truly love to do? Where do you see yourself? Are you dancing? Singing? Lying on a beach? Getting a back rub? Making art? … Writing?

Typical responses to the ‘what-would-you-do’ question revolve around creativity. Yet, human conditioning suggests that taking time for creativity is when you have nothing else to do, or that you should be doing something more practical, or that it’s a forbidden guilty pleasure…oh, how selfish!

If the human conditioning changed, there’s a chance the habit of saying “Yes, but” could change, too. So, instead of feeling like you don’t deserve, you happily invest in your creativity time and subsequently open up a channel of beautiful inspiration and ideas—a new story, perhaps.

You wouldn’t be participating in PiBoIdMo if you weren’t creative. Writing (or illustrating) comes from another place. I call this place the Creative Self. Some refer to it as ‘The Well,’ or ‘Sea of Creativity,’ or ‘Happy Place.’ It’s where your ideas manifest from a deeper part of who you are, emanating from your heart and your soul. You have a calling or desire within you to bring your message to the world through story (visual or written). You cannot explain it, you just know it’s there—you feel it.

Some researchers consider that repeating a behavior for 21-30 consecutive days is a habit. So why not make ten minutes a day a habit? That’s the month of November right there. You may already do this, and that’s awesome. I have to remind myself to take the time because I easily get caught up in life filled with a job, family, friends, NJ SCBWI, book deadlines, school visits, etc. It’s exhausting. Yet, when I do take that time to paint, sketch, write and be creative, I feel reenergized, spontaneous, excited and suddenly new ideas begin to flow.

smileytimerTaking time out might seem difficult at first, but as mentioned before, think of it as an investment for your Self AND your writing/illustrating career. Here are some simple ways to find ten-minute pockets to get you started:

  • Wake up 10-30 minutes earlier than usual and paint/write while still in a dreamy state
  • Take a break from online activity (after you read the daily PiBoIdMo posts of course!)
  • Take the train instead of driving
  • Arrive ten minutes early for school pick up and stay in the quiet of the car.
  • Switch off the TV
  • Set a timer for household chores. (Instead of spending 30 minutes cleaning the bathroom, do it in 20. It’s great because you’re challenged to work faster to beat the clock!)
  • Go to bed 10-15 minutes early, relax, let go of the day and imagine yourself doing what you truly love to do.

Affirmations are powerful, self-appointed statements that can help condition the subconscious mind in a positive way to accomplish goals or boost self-perception. You can write them down, pin them in your creative space and say them aloud every day. Feel free to use any of the affirmations listed below or create your own:

  • I am creative ten minutes a day
  • My creativity brings me new and brilliant ideas
  • When I am creative I nurture my soul
  • Creativity fosters my imagination
  • My creativity comes from my heart with love
  • Creativity is a gift that I cherish ten minutes a day
  • When I write/illustrate, I bring my joy to the world

PiBoIdMo is all about ideas. Ideas come from your creative thinking. Creativity comes from the very depths of your soul. It’s who you are. Nurture your soul and ideas will flow abundantly. Plus, you are a beautiful giver—to your spouses/partners, families, co-workers, readers, community, environment—you makes others feel good. Please don’t forget give to your Self and how good that can make you feel, too. All it takes is ten minutes a day!

neverplaymusicLeeza Hernandez is a children’s book author and illustrator and volunteers as Regional Advisor for the New Jersey chapter of SCBWI. Her latest illustrated book NEVER PLAY MUSIC RIGHT NEXT TO THE ZOO, written by John Lithgow, released October 22.


Leave ONE COMMENT ONLY to be entered into TWO prize drawings!

The first prize is a copy of NEVER PLAY MUSIC RIGHT NEXT TO THE ZOO signed by both Leeza and John Lithgow!

The second prize is a 20-minute Skype session with Leeza to read and discuss her new book, plus a Q&A!

Both prizes will be given away at the conclusion of PiBoIdMo. You are eligible for these prizes if:

  1. You have registered for PiBoIdMo.
  2. You have commented on this post.
  3. You have completed the PiBoIdMo challenge. (You will have to sign the PiBoIdMo Pledge at the end of the event.)

Good luck, everyone!