Last month, I eagerly watched the Maintaining Your Creative Spark webinar from the Craft Industry Alliance.
The webinar discussion featured a keynote by Anna Maria Horner followed by an artist panel discussion with Rebecca Ringquist of Dropcloth Samplers, e bond of roughdrAftbooks, Joy Ting and Lisa Solomon.
As I’ve done more digesting and reflecting on the rich conversations that happened in this space, I’ve found myself thinking a lot about the panelists' discussion around two particular things: creating just for yourself and making time for your creative practice.
I want to expand a little bit on these topics, and pose some questions, because they align so much with what I do and talk about here at Reverie + Felicity Studio.
Creating Just for Yourself
Do you find yourself policing your creative time by putting expectations around the outcomes?
Do you feel like investing time or money into a creative pursuit only makes sense if you’re going to sell what you make?
As a creative business owner, I personally relate with doing both of these things.
This is partly because I'm most often creating with the intention of making goods to sell. I recognize my tendency to apply a expectation that my creative experimentations should ultimately become products available in my shop. Talk about putting pressure on the creative process!
Always having a pre-existing outcome in mind, or creating exclusively for others, feels empty to my heart and soul though.
Because we live in a capitalist society and need to survive by trading our time or creations for money, I totally get these inclinations.
And I think this is something a lot of us do, whether consciously or not.
However, there’s a freedom worth exploring by creating something that will never be seen, much less consumed, by another human.
We’re often a victim of perfectionistic expectations, or a desire to monetize (for good survinal reasons!) But when you create just for yourself, you can freely explore your ideas without pressure or judgment.
What would you try if you knew no one would ever see it?
Making Time for Your Creative Practice
We can all think of a hundred things that need to be done at any given moment, which often results in our creative pursuits getting pushed to the side.
In fact, before writing this post today--which I most certainly consider a fulfilling creative activity--I spent nearly 30 minutes cutting up a huge watermelon, read a few pages of a book I've been meaning to return to as I sipped my coffee, helped get my son set up to do some new chores, ran an errand, watered plants and paid bills online.
And that's just a sampling of the first half of the day!
While caught up in the whirl of life, I had to literally tell myself:
"Erin, it's time to write! You'll be annoyed with yourself if you don't get these thoughts out of your head. There are always other things that you can be doing and they're going to always to being vying for your attention. Remember, you like to write and value these conversations around creativity."
Looking at this example, the element of my self-talk that ultimately was so compelling was the reminder that one of my own values is encouraging creativity in myself and others.
Writing about creativity supports that value and I suddenly could see more clearly why writing would take precedence over some more seemingly urgent tasks.
If finding time, or more specifically giving yourself permission, to play is a challenge, consider framing the activity that's calling to you around your values.
That will usually put what's tugging at your attention into perspective!
What can you say “no” to (for now, at least) in order to say “yes” to connecting more with your creativity?
If you watch the webinar, I would love to hear your thoughts about what resonates with you from the discussion! Feel free to email me or leave a comment below!