The end of March. The end of my month of creative "spring cleaning". This month's focus was just what I needed. At the beginning of the month I said that I needed to clear the way in order to be creative and productive. It was so true. I've made space in my studio. I've rediscovered ideas and projects and supplies and I've come to some realizations about creativity and about living a creative life.
- Be sure to do something creative every day
Do I really need that reminder? Maybe not. I would say that I live a very creative life. Most days I spend hours painting. But I also know that when I'm tired or distracted or feeling down, I tend to let things slide in my down time. I won't cook interesting meals or wear joyful combinations of clothes. I won't work on fun projects in the evenings or on weekends.
I've realized something else about it. Winter is not my most creative time. Sure it seems like winter would be the perfect time for tackling crochet projects or sewing projects, but I just didn't feel it. I felt like hibernating. Now that it's spring I'm overflowing with ideas and inspiration.
I'm going to have to come up with some tricks to prevent a creative slump next winter. Maybe I need a light therapy lamp. Or maybe I need to put together some project ideas, meal plans and outfits so they're ready to go. Or maybe there's a natural ebb and flow of energy and inspiration that needs to be honored. I'll have a while to think about it and plan for it (thank goodness I have a good long while until I will need that plan) and I'll share the ideas I come up with. Do you have suggestions or recommendations for keeping inspiration through the winter?
- Use up what I have and don't purchase supplies unless/until I plan to use them
A couple times in the past few months I've run into problems with supplies that have been sitting around for too long. Before Christmas I was hoping to use some air dry clay I had bought years before. It was just too old. Even adding water didn't help. I bought the clay because I wanted to play with that medium, but I never got around to it. I had to remind myself of this lately when I felt the pull to buy a product I saw online that looked like it would be fun to play with. Unless I know that I am going to use it, I won't buy it.
Yesterday when I was ready to cut out the pieces for my next sewing project I realized the fabric I wanted to use had wrinkles and creases from sitting folded for years and I could not iron them out; in fact, ironing was making it worse. Washing and drying it seems to have fixed the problem, but what a waste of energy and a waste of time.
- Follow through with creative ideas
This one is hard for me because I tend to have idea after idea and I want to do them all, but can really only tackle one or two at the same time. Ideas can fizzle away after the initial inspiration and if enough time passes I may not even want to do them anymore.
So what's the answer? Maybe I need to go back to keeping my project/idea sketchbook and be sure to consult it regularly. Or maybe I just need to make sure that I don't lose momentum. Work on things start to finish. Just keep going. Project after project after project. The flip side is that I need to be realistic and to be honest with myself. Not every idea needs to be put into practice:
- Let go of ideas or projects that no longer inspire
This, too, can be hard for me to do, especially when the idea is beautiful. Some projects or creative outlets just aren't for me. If I am honest with myself and let go of those things, I open up the possibility for other, more beautiful ideas.
- Follow my passion and inspiration
I guess this one goes along with all of the other realizations, but with an added caution: don't force it. Do what I am inspired to do, not what I think I should be doing. It's also the answer to my question of "What next?" for my Make & Do creative challenges. I don't want to box myself in. I don't want to limit myself. I've worked through my slump. I've decluttered and I am thoroughly inspired. I am energized by spring, by longer days and the promise of green and growing things (I know this snow WILL melt) and I'm moving forward.
Thank you for following along with my creative challenges. I hope you were inspired to challenge yourself. To try new things or to declutter or simply to think about creativity and its place in your life. I hope you will join me in continuing to do something creative every day.