What does living a creative life mean to you? Is it turning your passion into a living and running your own creative business? Or pursuing a career in a creative industry perhaps? Or maybe for you, it’s more about finding time for creative activities and hobbies outside of what you do for work. Creativity is such a personal thing and I’m sure creative fulfilment looks and feels different for everyone. However, I think we can find common ground in our shared craving for creative expression, and the fact that a large majority of us wish we had more time to dedicate to our creativity.
In a recent episode of my podcast Friends With Business Benefits, my cohost Franky and I discussed creativity – specifically ‘How do you make time for creativity when you’re so busy being creative for clients?’. Getting paid to be creative (for clients or customers), is, of course, a dream for many but I don’t think it’s uncommon to still feel the need to pursue your creativity outside of your day job.
And obviously, it isn’t just work commitments that lead to us feeling creatively bereft. Something else we delve into in the episode is how becoming a parent has changed the way I can indulge my creative inclinations.
On a number of occasions over the last year, I’ve received the question of *how* I’ve managed to still find time for creative activities alongside being a new mum. I’ve found myself initially baulking at this comment because as with so many things in parenthood I feel that there are two contrasting sides to how motherhood has impacted my creativity…
On one hand, being a mother (and I guess specifically being a stay at home mum) feels inherently creative to me. Our days are filled with play and curiosity, music and dancing, books and silly voices. I’m constantly thinking on my feet, making games out of household chores in order to get anything done, coming up with ways to delight and distract my little shadow. Along with the practical side, parenthood has also sparked a more emotionally expressive creative side of me – basically, becoming a mamma has turned me into a wannabe poet. I scribble love notes to my son and fill journal pages trying to find the words to capture how immensely wonderful/inspiring/exhausting/frustrating (delete as required given the time of day) motherhood feels.
On the flipside, there’s just so little time to really get stuck into a project or creative activity the way I would have done pre-baby. Which of course can be very frustrating. Especially as I’m the sort of person that needs time to get into my groove creatively – I’m just not able to bash out blog posts quickly or shoot photos I’m happy with straight away. But instead of feeling constantly frustrated feelings over the last year I’ve found it helpful to reframe what creativity looks like and means at this stage of life.
I’ve realised that to me living a creative life is as much about cultivating a particular mindset than any actions. It’s about noticing the little moments that add up to me feeling that I am honouring and making time for creativity. All this reframing and readjusting has led me to uncover somewhat of a personal philosophy – one of simple creative living. What that means is that I’m prioritising creativity alongside striving for a simpler slower way of life. And what that looks like is some simple habits and ways I bring creativity into my everyday.
Here are some of the shifts which have been so helpful to me. Maybe they’ll help you also think about how to cultivate your own simple creative life…
// Notice and appreciate the smaller moments of creativity in your everyday. From creating a meal from scratch to foraging something to decorate your home, creativity probably already shows up in your days more often than you realise.
// Shift the focus from the output to the process. I think we can get hung up on our creativity having to have a (sharable) end product rather than creating for the joy of it.
// Tune into your cycle. You may well find that your creative energy ebbs and flows depending on what your hormones are up to. Likewise, it’s thought that the lunar cycle can have an impact.
// Follow your joy. There may be a time and a place to dig deep and do the hard work to see your creative projects realised, but when your time is limited I feel like creating for enjoyment should be paramount.
// Meditate on creativity. A search on Insight or YouTube will bring up a number of guided meditations and visualisations that focus on creativity. Depending on what you’re needing you could choose a meditation for inspiration or motivation.
// Use the tools you have to hand. And I mean literally *in* your hand – take photos with your phone, use the notes app to write. Or whatever it is you are creating don’t let waiting until you have fancy equipment stop you!
// Be mindful of what you consume. Often listening to a podcast or reading blogs can be great for motivation and inspiration, but sometimes I find they can have the opposite effect. If you’re really feeling overwhelmed by the noise try taking a break from consuming altogether.
I feel I should state that my life doesn’t always feel simple or creative by any means – sometimes far from it. But I do find making these intentional choices and shifting my mindset help to move me out of frustration towards creative fulfilment. I hope you may also find this helpful or inspiring. Creativity is a topic I never tire of chatting about so if you have a question or something to share come and let me know!
I love this, Charlie. I’m so inspired by your approach to creativity and motherhood.