I've had a couple of requests to do this blog post, and honestly, the only reason I've decided to do it now is that I finally had some advice to give. As a fellow creative person, I often find it really hard to stay focused, and remain passionate about my work and my business when things just aren't going 'according to plan'. There will be times when I'm overly self critical, or I fall down the treacherous rabbit hole of comparison, and it can take days or even weeks to start to feel that inspiration trickle back into my life again. So, now that I find myself here, at a point in my life and my business where I am extremely excited for the future, whilst also being slightly nervous, I thought I would try and impart some wisdom onto you, my lovely readers.
First things first, when you feel like sh*t, don't try and force the creativity. It's important during this time to still get things done, as a sense of achievement and accomplishing a task can give us a boost in happy hormones, so try ticking off something that doesn't require too much of the right hand side of the brain. This might be getting up to date with emails, expenses, or other forms of admin. I know what you're thinking, admin doesn't get my creative juices flowing, and that's kind of the point. Take a break from trying too hard to be creative and allow yourself a little breather, whilst still getting your jobs done.
My next tip for you is something that happened to me completely by accident. My mum and I had arranged to have a creative day making things, and I think this was the first time I had allowed myself to be creative which had absolutely nothing to do with my business. It's actually surreal how much of a difference it makes to create something without having to think about how profitable it will be. Will people like it? Will it sell? Is it good enough? Carving out that quality time with either yourself, or with family or friends, to be care free in your creativity is a massive help towards finding that inspiration again. Just having this one day made such a difference that I was then able to take that burst of positive energy and direct it towards my business the following day. It also doesn't even have to be a full day. I mean, if you have the time and the capacity, take a full week or more! But even an hour or so could make all the difference. I would also advise for it to be something completely different to your business. I spent my time making a journal with textiles and stitching, as photographed above, so use this time to try something new, maybe?
Now, if you follow my stories on instagram, this one may not seem like a surprise to you, as my third tip is to get outside! As you can probably tell, my work is heavily inspired by nature. However, even if you're not the outdoorsy type, the simple act of being in nature has shown to have such incredibly positive effects on our mental and physical well being. So, if you're feeling like sh*t, what better way to improve your headspace than to take a walk in the woods. I read a book recently all about Shinrin-Yoku, which is the Japanese therapy of tree bathing, and it was fascinating to find out about how much nature can impact our state of mind. It doesn't even have to be a 4 hour walk in the woods (which has actually shown to have such a boost in the stress relieving hormone that it's effects can last up to a week!!), it can be as simple as going to the park for 30 minutes, or even just bringing nature into the home with house plants or flowers. Just by being around part of the natural world can help to relax your mind, and enable the space for creative thoughts to bloom.
If you're still stuck for new ideas, or even the motivation to get going, start small. Grab some paper and all the pretty pens you can find and start journalling, doodling, and writing lists. Try writing down all the positive things you've achieved within your business so far, or listing all the things you hope to achieve in the future. Don't be afraid to write down big crazy ideas that seem completely inconceivable at the moment. You don't have to show anyone, but by simply writing things down your brain starts to go on tangents and the more your ideas will start to flow. A couple of months ago, I did this very exercise, but I broke it down into two parts. One page was entitled 'Things I Want To Focus On This Year', and the other was 'Dream Big Girl, Don't Hold Back'. On the first sheet I wrote down all the things I felt like were achievable and whilst still required some growth from where my business currently was, they were goals that I deemed reachable. As you may have guessed, the second sheet was a lot more fun to create. When you know that no one is going to read it, you can write down literally anything and everything that you want to create for your business without worrying what others will think. In actual fact, what this exercise does, is highlight the big picture goals that you ultimately want to work towards. Yes, those goals might seem out there at the moment (as mine were!), but they are never impossible. Spending that time to really clarify where I want my business to go in the next 2 months, 2 years, 10 years, sparks a fire of creativity to move forward with these goals in mind.
I touched on this a little during my previous blog post on 'How To Find Motivation When Working From Home' which you can read here, but working in an environment that inspires you is a huge stepping stone towards finding that creativity. If you're surrounded by clutter and mess, or you've only given yourself a tiny corner of a desk or room to create then your not giving yourself the easiest of starts. Get some inspiring images around you, or positive words and affirmations, I'm talking real life Pinterest boards here people. Gather your materials/mediums you create with, and form a sacred space that's just for you and your work. Allow yourself that time and space to dream big and make whatever it is you want to make. This doesn't have to be a permanent space, but by being in a clean and clear environment you love, will allow your brain to focus on the task at hand, rather than the fact that the other end of the kitchen table has the washings that needs doing on it.
Finally, be more Jess Glynn and don't be so hard on yourself. We're not supposed to be creativity machines, and expect to churn out amazing products and ideas all day every day. We all need a break and a breather from our businesses sometimes, and being self employed can make it that much harder to allow ourselves some space. So, this is me, Rosie, telling you that you're a bad ass business owner, and you can achieve anything you set your mind to, but you're also human and wonderful, and the creative mind should be nurtured, not tortured. Stick those big picture dreams on the inside of your wardrobe, or in your workspace, follow the above exercises to get that bit closer to your goals each and every day. I have faith in you. You've got this!!!!!!
This one is for all of the creatives out there. (And I'm sure for future me at some point too!)