a few things I wish I had known about: being creative.

Hello from the midwest and Happy Labor Day to my American friends!  I’m currently battling some type of allergies/cold/cough thing that is leaving me feeling mega crappy at the moment…lots of Kleenex being used over here.

Today, I wanted to talk about being creative.  It is clearly evident in my blog-posting schedule and my scrapbooking time that I just have not been feeling creative at all lately.  And “lately” can actually be broken down to the last couple days, months, maybe even a year or two.  I don’t think I realized quite how important “being creative” was until I started listening to the podcast Elise Gets Crafty, and more recently, an episode of The Paperclipping Roundtable.  The thought re-sparked during a recent conversation with my younger sister Jen and her boyfriend that made me want to write this post.  Jen’s boyfriend was telling me how she doesn’t scrapbook as much anymore because she is tired after a long day at work or on her days off and wants to relax and do nothing.

Don’t get me wrong.  Having days to “do nothing” is great, I highly recommend it to everyone.  But the thing I have learned about creativity and motivation that totally sucks is: the longer you stay away, the worse it gets.  I myself have been the queen of excuses lately when it comes to why NOT to create: I have ‘x’ amount of things on my To Do list, I “should” be doing this instead of scrapbooking, I’m tired and don’t feel like it, or (my biggest excuse lately) is I’m not super happy so how can I scrapbook happy things? 

I really think that being creative is sooo important in our lives: for our mental health, for a way to unwind after a long day, to let out our inner-artist.  So many reasons.  I could go on forever and ever!  I’ve been realizing this so much more lately, and so my creativity and motivation has slowly been building more and more each day.  I can honestly feel my happiness growing, too!  And it has been majorly helping with life situations that hubby and I have been going through (because sometimes we just need to stop thinking about tough life situations, and think about something else).  Hearing that my sister was going through a similar feeling that I once had made me so sad.  Her job is tough.  My job can be tough, also.  We both have regular, long hour, day jobs.  It sucks sometimes but this is what we do to make a living.  I don’t want Jen to lose her love for scrapbooking, documenting, or just creating in general, like I did for a while.  I went through this learning process and it sucks, and I don’t want her to go through the same situation.  So I’m hoping this post inspires her, and maybe others out there as well, to keep going and feed your creativity. By doing this, maybe, just maybe, even 15 minutes of something creative will make you feel like a million bucks.  And your inner self will love you immensely!

I also wanted to share a few tips that have worked for me for getting back into a creative flow: 

1) Listen to your soul and what it really really wants.  If you feel the need to create, finish those 2 “must get done” things on your To Do list, and CREATE.  Don’t just ignore the creative urge or tell it to shut up.  There’s a reason WHY you have that urge and need it!  And let’s all be honest, as long as no one is starving and nothing’s on fire, some of those tasks can wait until tomorrow, right? 🙂

2) Trust your first instincts, they’re usually the best.  Sometimes, when I get to my desk, I think “I just want to play with something pretty, but…I should finish those cards or this Project Life page.” But that can seem like such a daunting task, such a big project after a long day.  Often, this has made me just get up and walk away and do nothing at all.  So, I’ve been trying to trust my first instinct and do what it is telling me.  This happened the other day and I created an awesome art journal page that I LOVE LOVE LOVE instead of pushing my creativity to something I didn’t really want to do at the time, and end up with something that I wasn’t happy with.

3) Appreciate the time you have and set small goals.  I’ve been trying to appreciate the little time I have to create.  Before my goal would be “finish that pocket page layout,” but really I don’t have time for that anymore and my schedule doesn’t allow for lots of time to sit and create for hours on end.  So, when I have 15 minutes to create, I work on one pocket (add journaling, add embellishments, create a title, whatever) and it makes me feel so good!  Yes, I didn’t finish the whole pocket page, but if I have 5 of these 15-minute sessions, then my page is done at the end of the week, and I still get that feeling of accomplishment.  Yah!

4) Don’t over indulge on inspiration.  This was a huge HUGE issue for me and a big reason why I lost so much motivation to create.  I spent so much time on Pinterest or blogs, looking at other people’s work, sometimes even comparing my work to others.  Or maybe just pinning, in general.  Pinning and pinning.  You spend so much time looking at other people’s pretty projects that you could have a) had some solid time to create something of your own and b) could have created something beautiful that you love and is totally you.  I have limited my time looking for “inspiration” and this has helped so much!

5) Do what works for YOU!  I recently listened to Amy Poehler’s book and she said in there “Good for her.  Not for me.”  I love certain scrapbookers’ styles, and I love looking at projects they create, but I have realized that I like my projects to be clean, or organized messy, whatever you want to call it, and that’s what works for me.  So I’m not fighting it.  I’m not trying to change my style.  I’m trying to GROW the style that works for me, and what I like.  And this makes me sooo happy.

6) And finally, use the KISS method.  I am naturally an overthinker.  It’s something I’ve been struggling to overcome for a long time.  So the creative process used to take such a long time for me because I would overthink every single thing I did.   Sometimes it became so frustrating.  Now with creating, I’m trying to remember to keep it simple.  If I can’t decide on something in 10 seconds or less, I glue it down, making it permanent.  I did this with the *Smash page above.  Once it’s down, there’s no going back, and I have to move on with the process.  This technique might not be for everyone (my sisters thought I was crazy when I told them I do this!), but it helps me to enjoy the creating process more, and move on.

I am by no means an expert on being creative or finding ways to get through a period where you feel unmotivated, but this has been the way I have felt for sooo long.  And it freaked me out!  And I thought I was losing my interest in scrapbooking.  But really, I was just changing, and my life schedule was changing, and I just had to go with it, and continue to try and find what works for ME.  It may never be a perfect balance, but instead of fighting it, if we go with it and adapt, we can create things we LOVE and continue to have a hobby we LOVE, instead of letting it go altogether.  Remember this my dear Jenbabe!

PS: I highly recommend listening to the episode A Form of Self Care and also Building Back a Routine/Ep. 68. These were two of my favorite podcasts I ever listened to.  The guests were awesome and had so many good things to say that you can use in your creative everyday life.

3 thoughts on “a few things I wish I had known about: being creative.”

  1. Great post. You named some great things that I am going to use toward my blogging. I love the KISS method, I do that too in my scrapbooking. That is the only way I can stay on top of my dt projects last month. Hope you are feeling better dear.


  2. For me, its looking at supplies or opening a drawer, until I find something that peaks my interest. I will tell myself that I'll try 10 minutes, and maybe 15 if I want to continue. But if I don't, then at least I scrapbooked for 10 minutes. 🙂


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