Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Taken
Creativity flows more readily when restrictions are removed. That's why kids can create so easily and get so much joy from a simple sketch. Their little minds are not yet affected by what other people think, they just do it, then love it and show it to everybody else with unabashed pride. And there is nothing wrong with that. Somewhere along the line, you lose that as an adult. The funny thing for me, is the more pressure I put myself under to do something 'great', the more I get it wrong. It's a fallacy that you have to try extremely hard to produce a good piece of work or agonize over every detail until it's perfect. Usually it just results in a stressed looking project. I had no fun doing it and it doesn't have the beautiful simplicity that comes with good design work - it has all the complication that was whirring around in my head when I was making it.
I had a drawer of 'disasters' when I had my clothes business - items that I made when I felt like I needed to push myself. Most of them were dreadful. I didn't realize my style was mine, and it was good as it was, so I went outside myself and it just didn't work. What works for one person, won't work for another.
My creativity is something I have struggled to balance with business. Sometimes it's like I have two sides fighting each other. The creative element normally suffered under the regime of what is considered proper in business and what will work. I have come to the place where I realize creative business is unique in itself - it can't follow the rules of other businesses.
I recently deleted my two extra instagram accounts, and my facebook page. Having all the social media was too much. My inner peace returned the minute I had made the decision. That's what I have been using as a guide more and more. Basing my decisions on whether something 'sits' well in me or not. Because I have a blog, and a fabric shop, and I have just recently (and tentatively) opened my new handmade clothing business, I thought I should have a profile for each of them. That seemed like the right thing to do business wise. But it wasn't working.
I was afraid that if I had them all together, some followers might not like it and it might not work as well. I was worried some people wouldn't want to see my bloggish/personal posts, some might only want to see fabric and other's might want only to see the clothes. It wasn't sitting well in me however and it was a couple of weeks of feeling 'not right'. I watched the tv show Madeline when I was a child... I kept hearing those episodes when Miss Clavel would run up the stairs singing "something is not right".... A strict regime was what ultimately gave me months of creative block last time and it wasn't something I was eager to repeat.
Luckily, my sensible side kicked in - practical people would argue a creative mind is never the sensible side but I don't flourish without creativity.
It said be yourself, and you'll attract like-minded people. People who understand me, people who are part of my tribe. There really is no point trying to people-please. You won't build up a genuine following and you won't be happy doing something that isn't you. Thanks sensible side! I knew I had you around for a reason.
Business-me likes to retain a certain amount of professionalism and control. Creative-me likes to run a bit wild - crochet today, applique patterns tomorrow, a fabric bundle on friday and some dress sewing on Sunday! It's a bit hyper-active at times.
The creative side balances out the obsessive 'everything must be a certain way' business side. Draws it all back into perspective.
I am really, hugely, deeply thankful to the support from you guys in the form of comments, emails and messages for my blog. It really lights up my day and let's me know I'm not just talking into space, and the thing I like the most - that I potentially have been able to help someone else just by them knowing there is someone else out there who can relate to what they are feeling. It's people I have found online, whose confidence in themselves and in me has made all the difference some days. I find people with a free creative spirit really inspiring. Because if they are doing their thing and being successful at it, it means I can do my thing and be successful at it.
I love this quote, which I had pinned above my sewing machine for so long.
Confidence is not will they like me? Confidence is I'll be fine if they don't.
Marching to my own beat, occasionally having the remind myself it's okay to do so, and enjoying watching my real creative side and full artistic potential grow as a result of removing the worry and restrictions.
My current projects consist of:
A growing, changing fabric shop
Turning my drawings into applique patterns
A crochet granny square pattern
Stocking my handmade boutique with bespoke dresses
Fabric Blog Hops
Learning about Surface Pattern Design
A Quilt that is a WIP that I need to finish
My ultimate goal with Dolly Henry is to be creatively fulfilled, and as a member of Gen Y, I am keen to encourage and inspire others back into creativity. Less time on screens and more time creating - whatever the medium. Creativity is relaxing, restorative and peaceful. It opens the door to friendships, breaches culture divides and makes life just so much better.