To say things have been a bit quiet around here,
would probably be an understatement. Every year, after a hectic holiday season, without a fail, I hit a wall and find myself buried deep in the doldrums of “the annual creative rut”. So, after a few initial years of trying to force myself right back into the swing of things, I’ve learned that it’s best to take time off to unwind, rest and just be. While I may still be working behind-the-scenes, or on client projects, I try to take at least a full two weeks off from the blog. This year, however, two weeks turned into three, which turned into four, which turned into my Grandma’s 100th birthday, a trip to New York, client projects, exploring, hanging out with loved ones, brushing up on business skills, and, well, now here we are.
Creativity is such a fickle beast. It’s at the root of all that I do, yet it’s one of the things I have almost no control over. It comes and goes as it pleases. Translation: sometimes the words flow easily and I could write an entire novel in one setting. Other times, I can barely string together a simple sentence. Sometimes I have more articles ideas than I do days in the year. Other times, I can’t think of one solid thing that I feel inspired to create and share. Sometimes, photos come together with ease, and other times, it feels like a 5-year-old could do a better job.
Suffice it to say, after the holidays I’m usually in the latter category of most of those examples, so the only thing I can do is step away. It’s scary. It feels a bit like I’m abandoning my child, but I always remind myself that I’m better for it in the long run. After all, if you can’t take care of yourself, you can’t help anyone else, or, in this case, if I can’t find any creativity within me, I can’t create anything useful for anyone else.
As a (mostly) one-woman show, I’m responsible for just about everything you see, from coming up with ideas, researching topics and trends, sourcing props, shooting photos, pitching potential partners, formatting the layout of posts, writing articles, sharing them on social media and on and on. My point is, I’m a little spread thin. This can cause some serious burnout, and while I wish I had a full team to hand off tasks to and keep the site running, the reality is that I don’t. So I take extended breaks instead. As much as this site is my baby, my business and the foundation for everything else that I do, I truly believe that these lengthy breaks are necessary. I’m ok sacrificing whatever short-term checkbox I might tick for long-term content, quality, growth and reputation.
Most importantly, after all these years, I have learned you can’t force creativity. You can help nurture it along, but you can’t force it. The best thing you can do for it, is step away. So I do that. I step away, and get involved with other things to help nurture it back to life. Reading, learning, spending time in nature, browsing book stores, painting, traveling, going out to eat, visiting art museums, spending time with friends and family, tackling personal projects that have been pushed to the side, picking up a new hobby, or re-visiting an old one, organizing, spending time just ‘being’, journaling, taking on a challenge (like making croissants from scratch) and volunteering are just a few of the things I’ll do. And, eventually, when it’s ready, the creativity will start to awaken, start to come back to life, eventually flooding its way back into my life, often times for me, with so many ideas and words, I can barely get them all out of my head and out into reality.
Which is where I am today. Bursting with ideas, itching to create, ready to share.
Thanks for sticking out my creative ruts with me! Now back to regularly scheduled programming…