This week I wanted to talk about how we can sustain and nurture creativity in a work setting. When I began quilting many moons ago, I never dreamt for a minute I would actually make an income from it. If you had said to me I would have projects and patterns published and be teaching patchwork, well I would have laughed manically.
However, here I am. I work as a quilter. Opportunities have arisen that did not exist when I began quilting.
When you work in a creative field you are still faced with creative lapses and losses of your "sewjo". When I quilted for a hobby, this was annoying, but not dire because I wasn't really working to deadlines or commissions. Now I am faced with deadlines and briefs and need to try to sustain my creativity.
So here are the ways I try to maintain my creativity so that I can create on a regular basis. I did not start off this way. It has been and continues to be a journey of self discovery and growth.
- I try to approach quilting as my job now. Not a boring job but one I love. A passion. Something I just need to do. I wouldn't be a quilter if I didn't love it. We have all heard of "do what you love" and I can honestly say that I do! I love teaching, I love writing, I love making quilts. I have worked hard to get to where I am just now. It didn't all just fall into my lap. It has been and still is a journey. One of success, failure, knock backs, rejection, elation, and joy. A mixed bag.
- This means that I need to continue to put the work in. By having a working day and a to do list, I expect to create and get the work done. There are the days, of course, I just have no motivation, my sewjo has gone, or I am just being plain lazy. Sometimes I can take a day off and just use it to do something completely different. However, more often than not I need to work because of an imminent deadline. This is where the point below comes into play.
- I need to ensure that I turn up at my desk and am ready to get some work done. More often than not my creativity turns up along the way and off we go. Even on the days I am not feeling it. I can switch tasks and focus on say a different project, or just the pattern writing or preparing class notes. By changing task this means I am still getting the work done in one way or another and when my sewjo reappears(which it always does) then I am ready to get going!
- I work from home and those of us that do, know how hard that can be. Self discipline is not a strength of mine, but I am learning. I need to make the best use of those school hours when the kids are off learning.
- Distractions can be a personal pain. The housework is all around me, always needing done. So I usually try and get a few bare minimum tasks out the way after the school run. This frees up some head space a little for the work ahead. I am way too easily distracted by social media and web surfing too. So I try to allocate space in my day for specific tasks. For example, in the morning my head is always clearer. This is the best time for me to write patterns and blog posts. I can then get on with practical sewing and cutting work as the day goes on.
- It can also be helpful to get out for a walk during the day. I am in the house most of the day apart from when I am teaching. I talk to myself and the dog A LOT. I need to do a 20 min walk to school and back to collect Emma. Most days I can't be bothered but I kind of try to view it as essential. Obviously it is a bit of exercise which I definitely need but also the fresh air, human contact, and sights and sounds refresh me and give me a chance to go over my work for the day (or sometimes lack of) in my head.
- Lastly please try not to compare! I do this all the time. I look at all the awesome, talented people around me and often think "I am not good enough". It is really hard not to do this. I get that. With Pinterest, Instagram and such like everywhere it is a constant battle. I need to tell myself that I do not know someones creative journey. I only know my own and I need to remember that we are all at different stages. You are exactly where you should be at this time. You will be where you should be another 10 years from now. We need to en(joy) where we are at now. I don't want to lose the joy I get from quilting and creating by comparing. I certainly don't want you to lose that too. We are a community built on ages of tradition and mutual support and we should treasure it.
So there you go! My thoughts on how to nurture your creativity if it is your job. Please feel free to share your own thoughts, tips and such like in the comments here, on the link up or on Instagram using the hashtag #howtogrowyourcreativity.
I will draw the fabric giveaway next Thursday to allow anyone joining the conversation this week to enter.