13 March 2014

on creativity.

I’ve been thinking a lot about creativity in the past few months and have felt a strong need to readjust my approach to art, crafts, and making things. For the past several years a lot of my creative energy went towards my Etsy shop. When sitting down at my craft table the prevailing thought bubble above my head was, “what can I make to sell in my Etsy shop?” When working on any sort of project I often asked myself, “could this be a new product in my shop?” 
That's not necessarily bad. I think there can be space for those kinds of thoughts in my life, but after a while I wasn't feeling creative and had little motivation to make anything at all. After Christmas, especially, I was feeling a little burned out (I made a majority of the gifts I gave) and I was generally uninspired. I didn’t like the self-imposed pressure to make something worthy of being sold every time I sat down to create. I had forgotten that the process of making things is just as valuable (if not more) than the end product. I didn't spend very much time making art or crafts during January and February, but eventually I started missing the creative process. So I decided to take a break from my Etsy shop and to try working on projects just for fun. 
And let me tell you it is fun to experiment with script art (I'm so inspired by Kal) and it's exciting to paint a picture I can keep, especially when it's a painting I love. My entrepreneurial spirit has not diminished; I just try to quiet it at times so I can lose myself in the wonder of painting, drawing, scrapbooking, taking photos, so on and so forth. Being honest, though, I've been really frustrated at times. I don't always like what I make. The vision I have in my head is not always so easy to put down on paper. I'm not as skilled at drawing and painting as I want to be. I know that I have a lot to learn and honing skills takes time. Nevertheless, it's encouraging to remember that I'm actually giving myself a chance to improve.
A few practical things have aided in this process:

1. I set aside specific time in my week for creative exercise. These times are flexible, but I try to sit down at my desk on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday either right after work or in the evening after dinner. Since I enjoy this creative stuff, I tend to make things at other times too. I just have these semi-mandatory times so that I will actually create and so that I can challenge myself to learn more about work in particular medium. 

2. I have a creative accountability partner. My good friend Kelly (who is an amazing artist) and I both need a little external motivation to get ourselves to spend time being creative so we decided to talk weekly about our creative processes. We are even giving each other weekly challenges, which acts as a deadline and spices things up. More about those weekly challenges later.

3. I'm co-leading an art group for high school girls. We meet weekly and do creative writing, different types of art projects, and talk about life. We're following a curriculum and I love that I have another creative outlet through this group. We work on projects that I wouldn't think of myself; it stretches and inspires me. A recent project at Girls Group sparked the idea to paint splashes (my favorite painting is above). 

While this personal reflection was largely a means to help me process my situation , I hope it encourages or inspires some of you out there. And if you have tips on being creative, by all means, share them in the comments! 


  1. I don't have any creative tips right now to share, but I love this! And I am excited to get back to some crafty projects this summer!

  2. I love this, Raq!! I struggle with keeping personal creativity alive as well. Since shooting personal work usually just feels like I'm making more work-work for myself, I've made it a point to really stretch my other creative outlets when I'm feeling stifled. So I've been focusing on taking 15-minute breaks to play piano or journal or paint. It's helped SO much with my productivity during the day. I miss you!! I hope this trip works out this summer!

  3. Thanks for the feedback, friends! Miss you both!!

    Allison, it's cool to hear how you keep your personal creativity alive. I've also found breaks to be helpful; when I start to feel really frustrated or worn out from a challenging project I often try to take a step back and work on something else or get outside for fresh air. It can be hard to pull away when I'm in a "this must get done" mentatlity, but the breaks are totally worth it.


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