More than anything being an artist means to craft and create a life that I love and that belongs to me. The word artist to me has expanded for me from being a painter to being a pioneer of my life.

—Kelly Rae Roberts

Kelly Rae Roberts

Kelly Rae Roberts is an artist, writer, teacher, and a possibilitarian who believes art heals and we that we get to craft the exact life we want. She started making art at 30 and selling it a year and a half later. Now she has a thriving business based out of Portland, OR where she lives with her husband, son, and their English bulldog, Lulu.

What time do you get up?

My son True (6 yrs old) usually comes into our room for snuggles around 6:30 a.m. We then lounge around a bit in our big bed with him and our English Bulldog, Lulu. I’m a sloooow waker. I often fall back asleep after snuggles while True and my husband, John, head down stairs for breakfast. By 8 a.m. I’m up and running.

 

What time do you go to sleep?

I generally try and get myself cozy in bed between 8:30 and 9 with a book or a show on the ipad. I’m generally asleep by 10 pm.

 

Is your creative work your full-time job?

Yes.

 

Do you wait for inspiration before you begin or do you begin regardless of inspiration?

I am often on deadline so I don’t wait for the inspiration. Usually, however, once I get started with a painting (or writing), the inspiration will flow. Like many things, starting is often the hardest part.

How many hours a day, on average, do you do your creative work?

Hmmm, no more than 3hours. That seems to be about my stopping point for painting or writing. I can then do admin work for a couple more hours before I’m done and done.

 

At what point are you done for the day?

This really varies, but lately I’m done by 3pm when my son gets home from school.

 

Do you work primarily in the morning, afternoon, or evening?

Mornings, and early afternoons. I used to be able to work in the evenings, but nowadays I reserve that for working out, reading, and lounging.

Do you have a daily routine for your creative work?

Yes.

 

How does it start?

I have ebbs and flows. Usually mornings are best for my creative work before I ever check (or get sucked into) emails.

 

How does it end?

Usually at the 3 hour mark, when I’m a bit tired and ready to move on to the next thing.

 

How has your creative process changed over the years?

I’ve had years where I’ve been super prolific and years where I’ve barely made anything. Becoming a mother many years ago help me create boundaries around my work hours which was a blessing.

 

Do you have a dedicated work space?

I do!

 

If yes, do you have anything in your work space to encourage creativity?

I have a candle that I light before I get started, angel deck of cards that I always pull from, and a beautifully decorated space that feels like it belongs just to me. And music and tea. Gotta have both of those things before the creative urges come.

How do you stay focused in a world of the internet, social media, interruptions, and other distractions?

Ah, this is so hard. Lately, the thing that has helped is I will carve out specific time in my schedule to be on social media, or in my inbox. Outside of the scheduled times, I ignore it completely. It works! I also keep my phone on silent so I’m not interrupted by texts. I answer my texts in the evening when the day is done.

 

How do you maintain your creative energy?

I give myself lots of permission to flow in and out of work mode. I wander around my house from place to place with my laptop as the change of scenery seems to help me stay focused. I take lots of breaks for snacks, walks outside. And I’m sure to workout about 4 times per week. I have found over the years that radical self care is the only way I can live a sustainable creative life, otherwise it’s burnout cycle over and over.

 

What other activities do you engage in to encourage your creativity outside of your creative work time? 

Reading, walking, spending time with friends and family, and taking in other types of art.

The deeper stuff...

To listen to the conversation with Kelly Rae on The Creativity Habit podcast: