As a creative lady, it’s almost too easy to find new outlets to explore. I’m a blogger. I live to write, to share, to pour myself out with my words. I love what I do - how it’s always changing, always evolving, always getting better. However, it’s easy to feel pulled in different directions creatively. Often, we see someone on our Instagram feed start selling hand-lettered prints and think, “I can make that!”. We hear of someone hosting an event at the local Madewell store and think, “I can do that!”. Or we get an email from a favorite blogger announcing a new e-course, conference, or podcast - and the same thoughts surface every time.
Growth as a creative can be tricky. Growing into yourself, your current gig, and what you love to do? That’s the most amazing kind. But growth in different directions, down new paths? That can get tricky. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to explore something new, but it is important to keep tabs on our intention with it.
A new outlet for creativity is an amazing tool that can help enhance what you’re already doing. But here’s the thing: not everything has to be done for profit.
We are bombarded daily with tweets, photos, and emails blasts telling us that we can do more, be more, and offer more. We are encouraged to believe that anything we do can be a business. And as creatives, we’re already halfway there. Trying something new, getting our hands dirty, and exploring is our second nature.
About six months ago I decided I wanted to try my hand at weaving. I bought a kit, a ton of yarn, and watched about one million Youtube tutorials. After a few weeks, I was drowning in all of these weavings I had created. I started to think to myself, “What if I sold them? I have a website, a platform, followers… I could totally sell these.” By falling into this trap, we can end up exhausting ourselves with yet another business venture. The truth is, even creatives need a creative outlet.
Yes, writing is therapeutic for me. It’s a release like no other. And while it is incredibly fulfilling, it is also a job. The work is not always all about me and my creativity. There are deadlines, sponsors, contributors, and marketing to consider. So, I need another outlet that is purely creative. Something that I can do just for myself. Something that I love, that makes me feel good, and that I can do without the pressure of making a profit.
If you’re struggling with feeling the need to turn every hobby into a product, try these four ways to find a creative outlet simply for you:
1. Explore explore explore. Sign up for a hand lettering class, order some yarn and a loom, dust off your old camera. The more things you try, the quicker you’ll find what you enjoy.
2. Don’t tell anyone. I’m not a huge fan of secrets, but you don’t need to go plastering your new hobby all over Instagram. Keep it to yourself for a while, safe from any expectations. Explore this new hobby on your own, and enjoy it for yourself.
3. Be messy. Be ugly, be wrong. This is the beauty of a secret hobby: it doesn’t have to be perfect. You can make the ugliest weaving in the world and it can still be an amazing creative escape for you! Not sharing every single thing allows the freedom to be perfectly imperfect.
4. Feel free to quit. Need a break? Bored? Burned out? That’s fine! That’s why this is a hobby! I haven’t picked up my little loom in months, and I’m okay with that. Weaving is just for me. Since I started weaving, I’ve also started taking more photos, writing what may end up being a book, and painting. These things come and go. One day I’ll want to paint, the next I want nothing to do with my watercolors. There is no pressure, and that’s precisely the point.
When work is so often on the forefront of our minds, it is easy to forget that sometimes our only job should be to have fun. Creating a balance between work and play not only keeps us from over-exhausting ourselves, but can actually make us far more creatively strong in our jobs. So get out there, and enjoy.
Photos by: Valerie Denise Photos