Recently, on our Remarkables blogging get-together in Noosa, we were encouraged to brainstorm some creative ideas. If we could do anything with no limits, what would be the biggest, coolest, pie-in-the-sky ways to work with brands on our blog? Everybody scribbled furiously on coloured post-its, and I sat there blankly, willing the ideas to come.
When it was my turn to share what I’d thought of, I fumbled around with not much at all to say except my brain doesn’t work that way. I’m not the big-idea-haver, I’m not the creative dreamer. I’m the logical, methodical, left-brained operations expert that can put your dreams into action, but as much as I’ve tried to allow creativity into my life in whatever form it wants to take, there’s just no denying I work best with parameters.
When people said “oh no don’t put yourself down”, I really wasn’t. I was being honest. I don’t feel like creativity is a talent I already possess, and I think it’s important to be aware of your shortcomings so you can work on them. Of course I think I can do anything, or at least give anything a go. And I like to keep an open mind. But my talents lie elsewhere and creativity is something that I have to work on.
I’ve felt even less creative in the past few years, when two babies straight after each other have kept me busy all day and awake all night. I have rarely had the brain capacity to peek above the daily hamster wheel of domestic pursuits and the fine art of slicing apples eighty times a day. My writing has suffered, my imagination has suffered, and my motivation has suffered. And I’m perfectly fine with that. It’s a season in my life where others need me more and my energy goes to them. It won’t always be this way, but for now, this is where I find myself and I quite enjoy it. But it means my blog isn’t growing by leaps and bounds, and I’m not keeping up with whatever it is you’re meant to be keeping up with these days. It hasn’t for years. And that frightens some people, but it doesn’t bother me. I know my time will come.
Somebody mentioned to me recently that “the years with small children are some of the most creative” and I looked at her blankly. The only thing I seem to be able to create is large laundry piles and under-eye bags. Maybe when the kids are older and they don’t eat the glitter instead of creating masterpieces with it, I might feel that way. But at the moment, creativity is on the list at about nine million, right under “ability to get a medical degree”.
I was reading one of my favourite blogs yesterday, when a post jumped straight out at me, and I realise I’ve been doing blogging wrong these past few years. In “Why The World Needs the Makers to Say No Boldly“, Myquillyn says that when you interrupt a creative person in their flow, you can ruin their whole vibe (which obviously, they need to have in order to create). When you stop a creative so they can attend a meeting or whatever, it throws them quite a bit. And I realised I’ve been thrown approximately once every ten minutes for the last three and a half years, so I’ve never gotten into much of a flow. Someone craps their pants or needs to be fed or steals the other’s favourite shoe or whatever. For someone who isn’t creatively-minded, it can be even harder to find that part of you when you can never get a stretch of time long enough to dig in deep.
Myquillyn mentions: “I have no choice but to protect myself as much as possible from the creativity killers. Otherwise I’ll do every interview, promptly answer all my emails every day forever, and never have another blog post or painted wall or fantastic idea again in my life. Is that what I want?”, and that’s where I realised my mistake. When I do finally get the chance to work, I dick around sorting emails and social media and answering whatever is asked of me and adding things to my to-do list, because it is stressful and there are deadlines and I don’t like it all hanging there in the back of my mind. And I’ve been doing that instead of blogging first and doing admin when I have time, so I’ve had it all backwards. I’ve been admin-ing like a pro, and watching the spaces between my blog posts grow. And the amount of time I can spend on each one of them narrow.
Just before Pepper was born, I dialled back my social media quite sharply. I didn’t need its constant presence jamming itself into my brain. I cut it to the bare minimum last year when I got sick to goddamn death of everyone on Facebook whingeing about Halloween and how it should stay in America, and I realised all I was reading was everyone else’s venting. I don’t need that. I don’t even need to know that much about people, even if they are my friends. I liked most of them better before I knew every SINGLE aspect of their diets anyway. I pop on when I feel like it, but I don’t check it as much as you’re supposed to when you’re a blogger and you’re trying to build a readership. But that’s ok, rules are made to be broken, right? I still respond to every single person who talks to me on every single platform, which I thoroughly enjoy (you guys are funny!) but it’s rarely on time, and my email is being ruthlessly culled. It’s not that I’m not grateful, but I am stretched too thin.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve signed up for Pip’s Inspiration Information class and it begins today. I’m going to go get my mojo back. But first, tell me – are you creative? does it come naturally, or do you have to push it a little bit?
*PS not sponsored, I paid for the course.