Happy July! It’s been such a long time since I’ve been able to write here because June was obnoxious. I’m gearing up to head up to New York City for WordCamp NYC. We’re spending five days in the city and it’s my first visit ever. I really can’t expect to be excited about returning but I’m looking forward to a change of pace, even if it’s a little quicker than I’m used to. With all that’s been happening in Orlando, dealing with an emergency room visit with David that I didn’t expect, and the over-abundance of murders and attacks, it’s so hard to focus.
As a multi-faceted creative running a creative business, it’s imperative to funnel my creativity to what my clients need. One of the reasons we offer so many different services at Sevenality is David and I’s preference for many different creative outlets. We thrive on solving intricate puzzles and combined with the power of creativity, creating design-centered solutions for small to medium sized businesses. It’s our dream job and I love everything I do; but, when you’re a creative at heart, it’s hard to funnel your creativity and really focus on your day-to-day tasks. Through my experiences in the past few months, I’ve found some ways to really help figure out how to pay the bills and be creatively fulfilled at the same time.
Taking Time to Process
I’ve been drawing, writing, and making different things my whole life. Writing and art is a huge part of my daily creative process. As far back as the end of elementary school, I can remember having those soul-gauging needs to make something. I needed to write or I needed to draw. I would have to stop what I’m doing and work on making whatever my heart was leading me to. I’ve pretty much thrived on fulfilling those needs and making those needs part of my business. When I experience loss or life-altering experiences, instead of creative block, I feel an overpowering need to process those emotions through different mediums.
This is all so awesome except it’s hard to do that when life needs to happen. Your clients still need their projects completed, your kid still needs your attention, and you still need to do your day-to-day tasks. As an adult, it’s hard to breakaway from your everyday to fulfill your creative needs. Fortunately, through the process of healing, I’ve found that taking the time to process is imperative. I’ve made it a priority to have at least an hour to focus on my craft. If I need to get through a yoga session, write, take time for photography, or design something that I want to do—I make it priority to do that. You shouldn’t have to stifle your creativity when it’s part of your healing.
Creative Block vs Creative Overload
When I worked a 9-5, more than often I thought I was experiencing creative block. I couldn’t create. I felt my brain was clouded and I didn’t want to create. I focused on my work and when I came home, it was all about socializing and unwinding. However, no matter how much I didn’t create, I still felt unfulfilled. I still had all of this energy that I couldn’t dispose of. No matter how much I worked out or focused on my actual work, nothing was helping. It wasn’t until we decided to slowly take on more projects that I was able to writing. I began focusing more on blogging and things really started to make sense.
Knowing the difference between creative block and creative overload was something I learned in adulthood. I am an INFJ and those with the same personality type feel burnout often. We are creatives at heart and we use that creativity endlessly. It’s very easy for me to get burned out but what I thought was burnout, was often me not focusing that creativity in the right way. Sometimes you need to trust your gut and go outside of your comfort zone. By working on projects I never thought I would enjoy, I’ve started to lose the overwhelming unfulfilled feeling.
Making Creative Work Feel Natural
Client work isn’t always easy. Often times, it can be stifling which is why it’s so important to focus on working with the clients who help you feel fulfilled. Our ideal client owns a small-to-medium business, understands creativity, but wants solutions to help grow their brand. We usually don’t work with other creative businesses as service providers but as partners. We find ourselves providing services for non-profits, healthcare companies, restaurants, schools, and other smilier businesses because those industries are intricate and unique. There is no one answer to solve problems which is why problem-solving is a part of my creative process.
It takes time to figure out how to build your business around yourself creatively. You will always been evolving as a creative and your creative business should be evolving with you. Your clients should not look the same. Your work should not look the same. Creative work feels more natural when there’s a natural progression over-time towards growth. When you force yourself into a box that you no longer fit into, you will find your creative work becoming mundane. Here are some simple things you can ask yourself right now to check your creative process:
- Am I doing the work I enjoy today?
- Do I enjoy my client communication process?
- Am I comfortable with my current rates?
- Have I felt creatively fulfilled by my business recently?
If you answer no to any of those questions, it’s time to really think about what you can do to help get your business on track to where it needs to be. As creatives, we really have to measure our creativity daily and it’s not easy but it’s so rewarding. Being a starving artist is hard work right? 🙂
Let me know how you manage your creativity when it’s all over the place!