Week 4: Creative Ups and Downs
Live each season as it passes,
breathe the air, drink the drink,
taste the fruit, and resign yourself
to the influences of each.
~Henry David Thoreau
It is Week 4 of Jamie Ridler's book club for creative bloggers. Every Friday, participants post their reflections from each chapter in response to Gail McMeekin's book, The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women.
This week's focus was on the creative highs and lows we all experience and how we approach these ups and downs.
I have an altered art collage piece I made back in the summer of 2007. I was at a creative crossroads, and the Thoreau quote was the focal point of the piece because it reflected what I was feeling.
I had closed a bath and body business that June and launched the small Etsy shop that would later evolve into my current business. I was burned out, tapped out, and feeling a bit like I lost some of myself due to the day to day grind I had been going through.
There was no longer any joy in what I was doing professionally, and I was going through the motions. Something inside kept telling me to just be. Rest. Take time to rediscover the joys of creativity that prompted be to start an internet business back in 2006.
One night when I was making a thank you note for a friend and doing some collage work, I felt this jolt within myself--it was my inner voice telling me to step outside what I had grown so familiar with and just have fun. Just create.
I had been stuck in a rut for so long, biting off much more than I could chew, and depriving myself of the many creative pleasures I had enjoyed so much.
I closed my newly opened and quickly growing Etsy shop after only a month and a half and decided I would walk away. Not forever, but until I was ready to take it on and give it 100%. I ended up being gone from Etsy from late summer of 2007 through late April 2008. It was wonderful for me.
I decided to do what was fun--making greeting cards, prim candles, and collages. It was fun. It wasn't anywhere near as profitable as my business, but I sold some of my creations. I was happy doing this for a few months. I was able to recharge and refocus--able to get a good night's sleep which is so hard when your "work day" begins at 8 after your kids are in bed.
That pull to return to my skin care business drew me back, so in later March, I decided to start back at selling KZM Facial Care Boutique products. That decision was right. It was great timing. It was just that I needed to take a break to enjoy life a bit more and learn to pace myself before throwing myself back into my work.
Creativity to me is a roller coaster ride. It is full of ups and downs, some steep downhill falls and long climbs back up. I find that my creativity isn't static.
My creativity reflects what is going on in my mind and heart. When I am relaxed and content, feeling a bit calm, my creative spirit soars to new heights. I have ideas popping out of the blue and want to express them. I can't draw well. I am not a good painter.
My creative outlets are through mixed media and altered art collage and through makeup artistry. That is why I adored being a makeup artist so much--because I could create new works of art each day and it didn't bore me. Whenever I was promoted into management, I had so much less time to do makeovers and my creative energy--and sense of self--were zapped out of me.
When I am feeling anxious, stressed, or doing another battle with my nemesis--depression (which is thankfully manageable now)--my creativity suffers. I cannot think of ideas. Even writing new material for my blog becomes a chore. Suddenly I look at my chest of art supplies and craft materials and have no idea what to work on, so I put it away until that has passed.
When I have felt I have reached a point where I am running on fewer cylinders than my creative engine requires, I look at the collage I made and feel renewed.
I choose to embrace the creative ebbs and I live each season as it passes...I resign myself to the influences of each. My creative juices will start flowing again; it may be days or it may be months. I just have to experience each day as it happens and then a new seed will be planted in my creative process.