I’ve got a love/hate relationship with creativity. When all is going well and ideas are flowing it is the most wonderful feeling in the the world. You come up with an idea, work it through to the end and if you’re lucky it’ll turn out even better than you imagine. It’s a feels great, you don’t need anyone to tell you it’s turned out well; you just ‘know’.
Obviously this isn’t always the way it works. It’s an illusive thing and the more you search for it the harder it is to pin down. Frequently in interviews I’m asked where I’ve found my inspiration. I find this a really hard question to answer because the truth is that it’s different every time. Sometimes I might pick up a yarn and stitch pattern book and start experimenting. This is great if you’ve got a particular yarn you need to design for as you can see what kind of stitch patterns work best for the yarn. For me often inspiration comes from clothes. I might have seen a detail on a sweater in a shop but hated the rest of the sweater or I’ve got a mental image of something I want to wear and as I can’t find it anywhere so I’ll knit it instead.
The times creativity get difficult are when the ideas just won’t flow. You sit down to swatch and every single swatch turns out wrong. Or maybe you’ve got a lot of ‘busy work; answering emails, sending out bills, writing blog posts and updating social media. These make it impossible. In my head to create I’ve got to feel like I have all the time in the world. Creativity is slow but the rest of the world moves quickly. So then the question is, how do you slow down enough to create?
Finding Head Space
To create I need to feel that no one is waiting for me and there are no deadlines. Swatching is slow and I’ve got to allow myself to make mistakes and learn. I think that’s often why I do my initial idea blitzing on weekend mornings. If I’m up before everyone or if they all go out for a few hours my head thinks of it as free time. I don’t need to do the busy work, so my mind is relaxed and it feels like the day is open ended just for me to explore. I think that’s also why working in time blocks helps. If you’ve got a creative morning or two blocked off you don’t feel like you should be doing something else so it allows you space.
Getting Over the Block
The times I find most difficult to deal with are when you just have a creative slump. It doesn’t matter what you touch, design or finish the end result just feels ok to you rather than magical. It usually means for me that I’ve taken on too much work and I”m tired and burnt out. I use that as an indication that I need to say ‘no’ for a while until I find my balance again.
For any creatives out there, what do you find kicks starts your creativity again when you’re overworked and feeling a little burnt out?