I’d love to say that I’m always creative and have ideas going round in my head all the time, but like all energies, the creative energy that generates ideas ebbs and flows as unpredictably as a river after a heavy rain. I have days, weeks, and rarely, months, where I seem to be forever creating and crafting and the ideas seem to keep on coming at me, but I also have times where my ideas and passion for creating seem to dry up and shrivel away to nothing.
In the past, staying creative was easy – university provided me with loose themed projects to work on, our own interpretation of the topic was hugely encouraged. It made thinking about topics and things to do incredibly easy, in some ways it took that ability away from me. I found it easy to come up with creative ideas when there was a topic presented to me. We had group chats about our work and the direction we wanted to go in with our projects along with feedback from our peers and lecturers. We focused on research, trial and error and then the final outcome. Having other persons input into our ideas really helped. But now I’m alone and away from group discussion, the onus is on me to continue with being creative.
After I finished university I had this itch to continue to make things but had no real idea of how to start and what to do with this energy inside me. I had very little skill in knowing how to use this energy and formulate it into solid ideas. I dealt with it in the worst way possible. I sat and did nothing, letting this feeling fester and then wither. While I did continue to take photos and create other bits and pieces here and there, it was nothing like having a project and something to really focus on.
And then the fear started to creep in. Fear that what I was doing wasn’t good enough, fear that what I was producing didn’t have a point, fear that my ideas were limiting my work and without discussing my ideas and getting feedback and opinions that my work wasn’t somehow validated. So I stopped. I stopped creating, I stopped thinking, and I felt like I had lost a part of me.
What really got me back into creating and being creative was social media, I found some Instagram accounts that I liked, I joined Facebook groups where my interests were embraced and where people shared their work with others. And I slowly started to re-gain confidence in myself and my ideas.
Now, to stay creative I read articles that are related to my interests, I read blogs about crafting and art, I follow lots of Instagram accounts that are working in a similar way to me, and I research skills I’d like to learn. There are so many craft ideas pages, tutorials and step-by-step instructions on the web that have helped me to. Lots of the big hobby stores have pages of ideas to read about too, which help.
I keep a notebook of ideas, my phone holds lots of web links, I have saved articles on my pc and I am subscribed to websites that email projects I may be interested in that I can refer to when I hit a wall which helps me to overcome an “artists block”. I have realised that I don’t always need the guidance of others to help me create and I follow my own set of rules. I no longer care whether what I create has a point, means something or whether others will like or understand it. I create for me. That’s how I stay creative.