Interview with Marney Makridakis: Author of Creating Time: Using Creativity to Reinvent the Clock and Reclaim Your Life (& bonus article)

Fiona writes: One of the things I love about my work is that I’m occasionally asked if I’d like to see review copies of gorgeous books.

One of these was “Creating Time: Using Creativity to Reinvent the Clock and Reclaim Your Life” by Marney (here it is on Amazon UK paperback or Kindle & Amazon US paperback or Kindle).

Marney has had huge & deserved success with her book, which will help you “control your experience of time and use it in a way that consistently supports you and the highest vision of your life.” In other words, get your creative work done! It’s full-colour, fun, and packed with creative wisdom.

As well as our interview, I’ve also included an article which Marney has generously shared. You’re spoilt…

A very warm welcome to Writing Our Way Home, Marney. What drives your creative work?
Everything comes from an idea. Creative ideas are the bright shining lights of our souls. My very favorite part of my work is helping people connect the dots of their own idea-lights, unveiling new constellations that bring more light into the world.

What would you say to yourself if you could go back in time and meet yourself at the beginning of your creative career?
“Taking care of yourself is taking care of your business.”

How do you keep creating when things get difficult?
Of course there are challenges in creative work, but when you’re aligned with your passion, the wind is at your back. I keep looking for ways to tap back into the passion, the joy, the fun, the creativity, and, especially, connecting back to the essence of why I started this path in the first place.

How does your creative work affect the rest of your life?
I have often aimed for strict boundaries between work and life, but find I’m happiest when I allow a gentle blending between the two, embracing my art as my life, and my life as my art. Whether I’m writing, teaching, dreaming, parenting my 4-year old son, or simply relaxing, creativity is the core that runs through it all.

What is it like to send your work out into the world?
Creative ideas are like little children to me. I feel a maternal instinct to prepare for them, birth them, take care of them, nurture them to growth, and send them out into the world. There is great satisfaction in working myself out of a job, like good parents and teachers do; having faith to put an idea out into the world so it can take on a life of its own, no longer needing me.

What was the best advice anyone gave to you?
When my father, who passed away several years ago, told me that I reminded him of the Thoreau quote, “If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.“ – it was like I found a hidden superpower to get things done. Thoreau’s words are the best template I know for stepping into creative motion. When it comes to creative goals, it really does help momentum to put a so-called “sequence of steps” out of order and do the things we really want to do before the things that “have to get done”. Then we can get caught up in the joy and fulfillment, and that gives us the momentum to make it all happen.

What helps you to pay attention to the world?
This is a beautiful question, because it is often something that gets forgotten in the midst of following our creative dreams. We often need to remember that the goal isn’t to have a great career or a successful project or venture, the goal is to have a great life that includes our work and projects. Paying attention to the world, to the whole world outside our work, is key. For me, a gratitude practice is the best “shortcut” to paying attention. Developing fun ways to “collect” gratitude helps us find more and more things to be grateful for. It’s a very healthy obsession. In Creating Time, I introduce an alternative timekeeper to slow down time; it’s called a Stop. Watch. Simply stopping and watching the world around you, taking it all in, stretches time to the dimensions we need and brings depth to any experience.

Thanks for sharing, Marney. Your Stop. watch. sounds like it has some things in common with our small stones… Good luck with the book’s ongoing success!

Marney K. Makridakis is the author of Creating TimeShe founded the Artella online community for creators of all kinds and the print magazine Artella. A popular speaker and workshop leader, she created the ARTbundance approach of self-discovery through art. She lives in DallasTexas. Visit her online at


Bonus Article – Creating Time

Pay attention to the conversations of people around you, and notice how often the subject of time comes up:

“I’m fine, just crazy busy. . .”

“I just don’t know when I can find the time. . .”

“I can’t really talk now, I’m running late. . .”

People used to be tied to things like families, communities, rituals, worship, curiosity, and beauty. Now we are tied to schedules, watches, datebooks, computers, and keeping up with the latest gadgets that start with i.  It seems like time is going by faster than ever these days, and we’re all exhaustively trying to find, chase, save, and manage time.

Time-management techniques, as well as the latest time-tracking and productivity aids, can certainly be of help to us on the practical level, but they are limited in their long-term effectiveness, since the true nature of time extends beyond the chronological hours displayed in our calendars, wristwatches and smart phones. Time management can improve what we accomplish but often at the peril of what we experience. Ironically, the more we desperately try to manage our time, the more fragmented we often feel.

Instead of exhaustively striving for time management, I propose a new solution of time metaphorphosis. Rather than simply managing our time, we can re-imagine time itself and completely reshape our relationship to it. When we don’t have time, we have to create it, and the incredible news is that we can do so with one of the greatest resources ever to exist on our planet: human creativity.

The concept of “creating time” is not just about adding more hours in our day, but creating a new relationship with time itself. We expand our sense of time by when we change the ways we think about, measure, and experience time.

Here are some good places to start:

1.      Change the Way You Think About Time

For most of us, being stressed or worried about time has become second-nature. The most immediate way to change these deeply-ingrained patterns is to become more aware of the words that you use when you think about and talk about time. Time reacts as if we’re yelling in a canyon; whatever we are saying about time comes back to us in our experience.  If we are saying, “There’s never enough time,” then our experience echoes back, “Yes! There’s never enough time!” If, however, we are saying, “I have all the time in the world. More and more, I see that I have all the time I need,” then our experience is reflected back with a more expansive, flowing sense of time.  

Another simple way to shift awareness is simply to check the clock in a different way. The phrase, “What time is it?” inherently indicates that we do not have control of our time. By replacing this phrase with “What time does the clock say?” we take control of our time through the words we speak. The new phrase indicates that we respect the clock, but we are the ones in charge of our time.

2.      Change the Way You Measure Time

We measure time in linear fashion, with numbers on a clock and squares on a calendar to represent the movement of time. But what if we could interpret time as a qualitative entity instead of something just measured by quantity?  Instead of measuring how long something takes, why not measure it by how much we learn by doing it, or how much love we are feeling?

Think about the moments in your life that have meant the most to you. Those moments are not viewed linearly at all, but through a plethora of other measurements, such as intensity of experience, emotional depth, and even quality of color or the particular scent of the moment. We can learn from these experiences by applying a similar free-form perception in our everyday moments. So, in your day-to-day life, instead of measuring how long something takes, explore new measurements, such as how much joy you feel, how connected you are to other people, how grateful you are, how engaged you are in the topic at hand.

Incorporating these new “measurements” doesn’t mean that we are forgoing the linear methods entirely. Rather, we remain aware of both kinds of time (quantitative and qualitative), but it is the qualitative measurements that are, in the long run, more important. Our sleeping hours are a great example of this duality. Most of us would prefer to get six hours of deep, restful sleep rather than nine hours of tossing and turning. While we can be aware of the number of hours we sleep and even plan our schedule to ensure that we sleep a certain number of hours, we are far more focused on the quality of the sleep that we have achieved. Similarly, when evaluating our time, we can be aware of the hours and minutes passed, but the quality of those moments is what really matters.

3.      Change the Way You Experience Time

Instead of seeing time as something separate from us, true freedom happens when we become one with time, partnering with it in a new way. We can invite it into a relationship, a dance, so that we can fall into oneness. When we are truly at one with time, we reach a blissful state of being less aware of time itself but more aware of the present moment.

We can become more present through simple, easy actions. Expand the breadth of time literally, through deep breaths. Observe what each of your senses is taking in. Feel your feet on the earth’s floor. Express gratitude for all the “little things” that are easily taken for granted. Each of these is an example of a simple way to connect with the fullness of time.

Each moment you fully insert yourself in the present, you change your experience of time, shifting your focus away from how you spend time to instead reveling in what you receive from it.

Based on the book Creating Time: Using Creativity to Reinvent the Clock and Reclaim Your Life ©2012 by Marney Makridakis.  Published with permission of New World Library
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