When I was young I spent most of my time reading, writing and drawing. Somewhere between High School and now I let a lot of my creative pursuits go. I watch my own children now and let them inspire me and reignite my creative efforts.
Part of why I stopped creating was a lack of confidence when compared to other adults with “real talent”. Something about being a kid allows you to simply try your own thing without worrying as much about whether you will be really good at it. You can do things simply for the pleasure they bring you. I lost that a little bit – focused more on doing things I needed to do, day to day living, taking care of others. I stopped asking myself what I might want to try that was new.
Another hang up for me is my perfectionism that sees me struggle with being a beginner. I am so uncomfortable with not knowing all the answers, the steps to take, how to make it “right” and have fear surrounding things that should simply be pleasurable. By definition creative pursuits don’t really have a right or wrong. There are of course skills to learn in many cases, but with everything, from cooking to writing to painting to decorating, rules are there to be broken. When we break the rules, or go against what everyone else is doing, is actually when we are really creative. So really why the hell the perfection hang up?
I know I am not the only one – as I trawl forums and blog post comments I see hundreds of other people with the same things holding them back. What if I mess up? I don’t have all the right equipment. I don’t know what I am doing. I need to take a class!
Really what we need is just to get started. You learn by doing. You let go of perfectionism by letting yourself mess things up and surviving.
Maybe you don’t struggle with my issues, but have just lost touch with your creative side. Here are my top tips that I have been working through this year as I now find myself doing hand stitching, doodling, creating an art journal and more.
Make time to play
Whether it is 15 minutes or an hour, make time for yourself as often as possible (daily if you can) to play freely. In 15 minutes you can craft, do some stitching, cook, play with your kids, pick and arrange some flowers, write or doodle with some pens and paper. A little bit daily can see a huge change in your connection to your creative side.
Take on a “first draft” mentality
As you explore and grow let yourself work things out knowing you can always fix things, make another version, tweak and improve. Dishes you cook will evolve. Stitches in your sewing can be unpicked. Practice cakes taste just as good with imperfect decorations. Mistakes can often be the right thing in the end – think of all the happy accidents and inventions that came about unintentionally.
Try various mediums
Have an open mind if you are looking for a new creative outlet. If you used to paint you can also try drawing, mixed media collages and art journals. Mix things up, stretch your muscles and play!
Invest in your activities – even if you are an absolute beginner
Take a paid course. Buy the good pencils. Rent the instrument you dream of playing. Invest in supplies even if you may abandon it later. Allow yourself room to make mistakes, break a needle or use up the good stuff on something you find in the end you don’t love.
Find inspiration and spend time with it
Trawl forums and soak in the conversations and ideas or wander a museum. Follow blogs that light you up and make you inspired to go create. Get outside and take in nature. Wander a favourite homewares shop for ideas even if you can’t afford to buy their designs. Read and re-read books.
Some of my favourite places for inspiration:
Alisa Burke is my number one place to hang out and be inspired on many levels. She shares so much of her artistic process through sketchbook pages and videos that I am inspired just soaking in her work.
You have probably seen some things from Homegrown Hospitality around the web as her stuff is shared a lot. I took a doodling class with Stephanie recently and just love to look at her creations. I am most drawn to mixed media so love to hang out here.
Lil Boo Blue is another site I enjoy -Ashley has recently led a journaling challenge and I love this video she shared of her process and pushing us all to just go ahead and get messy.
Tinkerlab is a great site and I love following on Facebook as Rachelle adds sketchbook pages people share. There is ongoing posting of double page layouts along with other ideas. I love seeing the colour and creativity pop up in my Facebook newsfeed. Check out this post for five ideas for bringing more creativity into your life.
Pinterest is the mother lode of inspiration – the trick is to actually use what you find to actually make and do things – don’t spend 2 hours on pinterest when you could use an hour of that time on your own creative pursuits. here are my boards for both art/junk/smash journaling and art/crafts/DIY for adults (separate board for kids!). I am not a creative cook but you might find inspiration in the recipes I pin.
How do you connect with your creativity? Any tips or sources of inspiration – share them in the comments.
Find your simple,