Creative routines with Emily Johnston

Hello everyone! I’m Emily (Mle) Johnston (Jay) – hand-letterer and watercolor artist.

I create cheerful paintings of inspirational words and phrases on wood and colorful watercolor paintings. When I’m not working on my art, most of my time is spent with children or on adventures in nearby mountains.

These happy things are what inspire my artwork.

I am a part-time nanny, so my art life is pieced in around a ton of park trips, reading, playing and laughing. I’ll tell you all about a typical weekday!

6.45 am

I make coffee and brainstorm today’s to-do list. I keep MANY lists.

This is the time I am most positive and optimistic about GETTING STUFF DONE. I star the things that are absolute musts.

7.30 am

Morning nanny time!! I go over and get my 14-month-old best friend ready for preschool.

9 am

I drop Liv off and get to work on some artsy things.

I spend this time a few different ways: sometimes I plan and set goals, sometimes I shop for supplies, sometimes I call my mom or best friend, and sometimes…I PAINT.

11 am

Let's Adventure Mountain Illustration by Mlejay
Let's Adventure Mountain Illustration by Mlejay

I am usually painting.

12.30 pm

It’s time to wrap things up for my trip to the Post Office.

1 pm - 3 pm

I pick up baby Liv and head back to her house! While she’s napping, I check my email, make sure I have loose ends tied up, and set myself up to paint again!

I am not an adventurer by chance but by fate - illustration by Mlejay
I am not an adventurer by chance but by fate - illustration by Mlejay

3 pm

Liv’s up and we giggle, go on walks, to the library. Have fun together!

5.30 pm

My “day” ends and the evening begins.

At this time, I usually do shop maintenance or tidy up our house (glass of wine in hand) while my boyfriend cooks us dinner.

After dinner, I may just relax and call it a day. Otherwise, I set up my paints around 8 and paint until 10 or so… or later if need be (eek)!

Mlejay Like A Boss Artwork
Mlejay Like A Boss Artwork
Advice for Other Makers:

TIMERS! I’m obsessed with timers. They help me keep my focus and give me the breaks I need.

How I use them: I always have multiple projects going at once, and some are naturally more appealing to me.

I set short timers for the things I know need to get done, no matter how tedious and unpleasant they might be. “Okay, I only have to spend 20 minutes cleaning.” Then I move on to more desirable projects.

I also set a timer so that I don’t get distracted. For example, if I take a break to look at Instagram or to shop for supplies online (everyone knows the internet is a time thief), I only allow myself to do it for 15 minutes.

For projects that I’m really into, I set longer timers (40 minutes, an hour, two hours, etc.), and when the timer goes off, there are other things I need to move on to. (Sometimes I cheat and add in more time!)

I used to be a super procrastinator, and having a timer has been a MASSIVE help. It keeps my time organized but flexible.

I've also learned that one of the most important things in a creative business is to value your own time. AND, of course, have FUN!!!

Follow up with Emily's adventures on Instagram and Etsy.

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Maker Academy Creative Routines with Emily Johnson If you’re a creative entrepreneur, blogger, business owner you’re not going to want to miss this article. Click to read!

Maker Academy Creative Routines with Emily Johnson If you’re a creative entrepreneur, blogger, business owner you’re not going to want to miss this article. Click to read!