Creating Just For The Hell Of It: Shame, Fear and Self-Care

It may be pretty obvious, as I have this little blog and did I creative degree, but writing is something that I really love. When I was a child, I would spent hours scribbling in notebooks and typing up stories, journal entries and poems. I was never afraid to share my work and on several occasions would hand out copies of my ‘books’ (ie. ten or so pages bound together in a folder) to friends, family and teachers.

And now I’m in a funny period of my life where I’m free from any major commitments, like school, and have a lot time on my hands. I keep thinking about all of these creative projects and things that I’ve wanted to get stuck into for the longest time and sometimes I’m successful (see any recent posts). But at other times I feel like I’m holding myself back.

THE PASSION AND THE PRESSURE 

As I explained in a recent post I have finally gotten myself back into reading and I am now reading a lot of fiction once again. This is something that makes me so happy as I finally feel like I’m pulling bits of myself together again. A bit of a dramatic way to describe reigniting a hobby, I know, but that’s how I feel.

And with reading a lot comes this burning desire to write a lot too. Like I said, this is something I used to do all of the time when I was a kid without any structure or plan. I would just pick up a pen (or open a word document) and get writing.

I didn’t think much then about whether what I was making was good or something people would want to read. I simply just made stuff because I wanted to and I had the time.

I feel like so many people have similar stories from when they were a kid, but then it always seems to fizzle out by the time we hit our teens. It’s so sad.

We suddenly become so aware of everyone else and become fixated on their opinions that it gets in the way and we stop being as creative as we once were. Of course there are other factors, like having less free time and so on, but I think this is the main reason.

THE INSPIRATION AND THE GOAL 

I’ve been re listening to Elizabeth Gilbert’s podcast, Magic Lessons, that I’ve mentioned a couple of times on here and I think it’s been a combination of all these aforementioned life things  (the free time, the reading and the podcast) that have got me thinking a lot about this subject.

You already know, if you’ve read any of my past posts, that comparison is a major issue for me and it is a major barrier when I try creating things. And when I think about it now, I get so mad at myself.

For me, writing has always been a passion. It’s been the one thing that I have loved and actually felt like I am quite good at. Yet I still find myself restricting what I do because I’m not good enough or I’m not qualified enough or other people are just way better at it than me.

How frigging daft is that?

I know that we all get like this. I don’t know what your passion is, but I bet you could do it more.

Anyway, I’ve now had a realisation, or I guess I’ve just reconfirmed for myself, that I can just make stuff if and when I feel like it.

Writing non-fiction is something that I have been doing for so long now, what with my journalism degree and this somewhat lifestyle based outlet. It’s something I love and will continue to do, of course, but I now want to give myself permission to start writing other stuff too.

I stopped writing stories and poems when I was back in school, because I knew there were others around me who were better at it and who cared about it more than I did. But now at twenty one, with my degree still fresh from the printers, I want to start getting back into writing whatever I fancy- even if it doesn’t go anywhere.

THE SELF-CARE EFFECTS

Making stuff just for the hell of it is a wonderful and freeing experience. I know I talk about self care a lot on this blog, but this really is relevant to that conversation as well.

Allowing yourself to get involved with hobbies or activities that excite you is definitely an act of self-care in my book.

You’re being kind to yourself, you’re taking time out for yourself and you’re no doubt learning a little bit as well, whether that’s about who you are or about the craft.

So if you’re considering doing something creative, even if it’s something that you feel like you have no knowledge on or you think it won’t work out or whatever, I urge you to try it. Allow yourself to have a bit of fun and don’t put so much pressure on yourself!

It’s only art after all.

Please come and join me in this journey of making stuff just because we can and because we love it. I can’t wait to see what I get up to now I’m allowing myself and I’m so excited for you too!

Elizabeth Gilbert


I’d love it if you’d like to share some of your creative bits or even those that inspire you!

Best of luck and happy making.

Speak soon,

Rachael.


Materials:

Big Magic: Elizabeth Gilbert*

Brene Brown on ‘Big Strong Magic’

Your elusive creative genius: Elizabeth Gilbert (TED)

Am I Qualified To Be Creative? itswaypastmybedtime

Am I A People Pleaser? Ninkcompoop

 

Finally giving a fuck: justkissmyfrog

*(affiliate link used)

Seeing Things Differently (Alternatively Titled: Learning from Other People)

I recently just attended my first press preview (more on that shortly) for an new art exhibition and while it was a great experience to learn more about journalism and my intended future career, it also taught me a lot elsewhere.

Now I have to admit that I’m not really an ‘artsy’ person. Although, like anyone, I can appreciate a pretty picture and marvel at the skill it shows, I don’t really get it.  I’ve been to art galleries and various exhibitions before and nothing’s really struck me in a particular way.

So when I was invited to this press preview for a new Leonardo Da Vinci exhibition at my local gallery I was excited, sure, but I wasn’t really anticipating much.

And I was right. Some of the pieces I saw were pretty and I liked the look of them or the stories behind them but overall I wasn’t too bothered.

Then I spoke to the man who organised and devised the exhibition, a lovely talkative man called Martin, who was so excited about the work around him that I felt my perspective shifting.

He took me over to one of the drawings under the heading A Deluge. Now, this was something I had earlier dismissed as a mess of scribbles. I, in my uninterested and already prejudiced mind, couldn’t see anything wonderful or worthy in this image.

Deluge
Leonardo da Vinci, A deluge, c.1517-18 Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

But Martin began explaining what he saw and it couldn’t be more different from my idle opinion.

He explained that this image was a part of a sequence of images Leonardo Da Vinci produced, all of which showed a “mighty tempest overwhelming the earth”

“This is about half the way through the sequence as the mountains are collapsing into the valley below. You see huge floods washing across the landscape, trees being blasted, storm clouds swirling around in the upper part of the drawing.

It’s smaller than a sheet of A4 paper but Leonardo captures this most amazing panoramic vision and there’s nothing like it from the rest of the renaissance.

It’s an extraordinary drawing and if it didn’t exist, you wouldn’t be able to imagine that it had been done.”

This whole exchange just goes to show how different we all are and the various ways in which we all interpret the world around us.

Although this can often cause conflict and issues, being different and seeing things in different ways is such a wonderful thing and I felt very inspired and humbled by the whole experience.

It made me think that taking time out to truly listen to someone else, someone with an opposite opinion to our own regardless of what that may be (as long as it is respectful, obviously) is such a healthy activity and something I should do more.

Listening and looking out for the ways in which we are all so different and so wonderfully unique will surely take us that one step closer to seeing that we are all important.

What do you think about the image? I’d love to hear your interpretation.

Speak soon,

Rachael.