Creativity and Baby Making.
Always be making. This is kind of my maxim. It’s not really a motivational thing so much as just the way things are.
The drive to play with materials and make something is why I started Lola Creative and why I can say I’ve got the best job ever. Last week we made a giant 12 foot octopus. This week it’s vintage computer geekery. For the last seven months, I’ve been making my first human.
Human production, as it turns out, reduces one’s available brain space for most everything else. Add onto that the daily requirements of a business and there’s just not much left for free-creating- making stuff for fun, making stuff not related to my business projects. About all I have energy for right now is to make these here Skittles, sitting next to me, into painting apparatus with my own spit and draw smiley faces on my humpty-dumpty belly. (I mean, if I weren’t pregnant, at least they’d be an impressive design).
and then there’s the fear that once this squirmy bump IS actually a human, what if I have even LESS creative mojo? Oh man! Is creativity like love, it just grows to satisfy a greater desire to give it? A muscle? Just plain old discipline and habit (ergh)? I’m hoping for the first since that seems lovely and easy. But just in case, I’m inviting myself to casually make with whatever is available.
The wise woman in me says, “Oh honey, a creative outlook doesn’t go away, it’s just cast upon whatever you are doing. You will never be wanting of creative outlets that satisfy and inspire you. ” The neurotic pushy person in me says, ” Better get to making or your abilities will dry up like pregnant feet in flip flops made of asphalt and good intentions.”
This is what wise woman probably looks like
Now I’ve learned that the wise woman is usually right and the pushy person is lovable but misguided. But a little casual making never hurt anyone, right? So here’s my first share from a trip to my sweetie’s family cabin of making just to make. Materials are whatever is in front of me. Thanks nature for the materials.
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The Pursuit of Ease… (and pruning)
Ease. Just the word alone lengthens in your mouth and softens posture. It’s the word 97% of my clients use to describe their perfect social party. It’s also the word I use to lure my business and personal life along toward success.
Ease is not lazy. It describes calmness and stillness but also connection and alertness. Ease accepts what is happening now and observes, taking on new obstacles as they come up. This is especially important to me in a business that has a lot of ambiguity. Sanity and resourcefulness comes from being able to ease the mind, observe, stay connected, and adjust as necessary.
As I write, I’m wearing a flowey tunic from Free People (clothing to promote ease), and thinking about other ways ease is working (or trying to work) in my life and biz.
Maybe it’s because late winter/ early spring is the perfect time for tree pruning, but I can’t help but think about pruning and its metaphoric application in other areas of life. When you prune a tree, you keep the big picture in mind. What is the natural shape of this tree, where does it want to go? Then you select a few branches as the structural elements that will get your tree to its balanced shape. Remove branches surrounding these branches that are not structurally sound, unhealthy, or even healthy branches that rub (or will rub) against your selected branches. This way, your selected branches will have space, more light, more air circulation, and all the tree’s resources can be redirected to the strong parts. New branches will form on these strong parts and fill out your tree. Finally, don’t remove too much at once or your tree may not be able to adjust in time.
Ease in event design first has a lot to do with movement and space, clarity, and editing. Before guests can be wowed, they must be at ease. Guests can move their bodies and ease easily throughout the space. It’s not cluttered, there is a hierarchy of attention grabbers, and physical and sensory obstacles are minimized. The message is clear and your guests are comfortable.
Ease in flowers comes naturally in the garden. Ease in floral design comes from observing nature and mimicking shape. Floral designs with ease have an air of natural form. There’s also a curvature and sort of supported heaviness that comes from a thin stem working against gravity to hold up a big, fat bloom. It’s appropriately scaled and like event design, ease in floral design limits visual obstacles to a few attention seeking contrasts.
This bouquet for Adrianne and Michael was one of my favorite bouquets. It’s whole air of the day was full of ease. Oh, and it was definitely NOT easy to make. It’s a good reminder that the pursuit of ease takes a lot of refocus.
The Problem with Creativity/ 7 ways to tackle your block
The problem with creativity is… it’s messy. Not in the tripping over boxes, duct tape stuck to my sneaker, branch in the eye type of messy (that’s the type I can tolerate), but messy in terms of delivering something tangible from a bunch of buzzing farts of ideas. You have a deadline, a bunch of half-baked thoughts, some doodles, and dang it, you are hungry. Maybe you just need a little snack and then you’ll be ready to go. Uh- oh. Below is a mish mash of problems I face, and things my inner #girlboss tells my whiney, playful, and sleepy parts to get my act together.
1. I have too many ideas. If you are like me, your thought process is not a straight line. It’s not even a circle. It’s like a suckering shrub with tangents sprouting off to produce their own family of ideas. Sometimes it’s difficult even to figure out where it all began. At some point, I have to tell myself to stop. From the suckering idea shrub, I connect the lichen growing on one branch over here to the sprig over here to the root over here and, BAM, a thing/ idea. It’s an overwhelming thing to begin but it is my process.
My best lesson was taught to me by the creative director at the first firm I ever worked at. I was designing a courtyard for a condo. He told me I had four hours to have an initial concept over to my new client, my eyeballs nearly fell out. After four hours I was still drawing like mad and grumbling that I needed more time. My director ripped the drawing from my hand, scanned it, and emailed it directly to my client, incomplete. I needed that lesson in order to learn how to give myself limits. At some point, it’s time to stop and move forward with the material in front of us.
2. I need better tools. I find myself using this excuse a lot. The fact is, I can probably use what I’ve got and the restriction may even produce something even better than I had imagined. Needing more or better tools won’t solve my procrastination problem, but if may create a money problem.
3. It’s so big, I can’t begin (enter procrastination). This is halfway correct. It is big. So, I must begin. My favorite quote is this: “It’s such a big dream, I can’t see it all.” by Edward S. Curtis- Seattle pioneer and photography adventurer. I know from experience that I always come up with something. And I can count on one hand the number of times I knew how it would end when looked at from the starting line. So… GO! If you are having trouble figuring out how, maybe this video will help you. I mean, if George the Poet can do it, you can too.
4. I have so many things to do. Multitasking is an illusion. Great multitaskers are just those people who can break focus, focus on something else, and then swap over to a new task. It’s not that they are doing many things at the same time, they are just doing many different singular things in a small amount of time. But at any one time, they are doing only one thing. When I am doing too many things at once, I am most likely doing them poorly and more slowly. Practice juggling.
5. My client/ boss’ control problem is stifling my creativity. Oy. Well first, the real problem to first apply your creativity to is the client’s project problem, so try shutting out any of the human drama. Apply your creativity within their constraints without the ‘don’t tread on me’ feelings. Then have a conversation or find a new boss or client to explain how you best work. Employers want their people to do their best and need to know when they are holding things back. For clients, at some point you’ll be able to build clients that trust you. For me, my best work comes when I can follow a thread of an idea and just see where it leads. Instead of madly trying to come up with interesting combinations of ideas under duress, the process is more exploratory. This is when it becomes really fun for me and my best clients know they will get way more than they paid for.
6. I’m stuck. Ya, it happens. Probably your brain needs to work on something else. I know I make the best connections while driving or after a nap. Maybe your brain needs a bit of time and a change of activity in order to organize your thoughts into genius. If I haven’t even started, a trip to the art museum or a coffee and copy of bomb or elle decor will usually give my brain a new direction and unanticipated focus.
7. No really, I’m stuck. My desk collapsed on me and I can’t get up.
Oh dang! Sorry buddy, that’s all you. Do you have any of those tools we discussed handy?