Thoughts | Finding time for creativity to keep up my motivation

August 7, 2017

Mark making workshop Updtairs at Smug with Hello Marilu

Image: Design Soda

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Hopefully you know what to expect when you land on my blog usually, I tend to deal in home design that fits largely within the remit of the blogs tag line “Colour, Pattern & Patina”, but today I wanted to share something a bit different. I’m going to be talking about rediscovering my creativity so if you’ve come here for the usual dose of interiors feel free to skip on (though there are some reasonably pretty interiors shots too!).

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scandinavian monotone kinfolk bohemian bedroom interiors ideas and inspiration, plant styling

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In the last year my strategy with work has been to say yes to pretty much everything interesting that comes my way no matter how intimidating I find it or under-qualified I feel. It has been both exhausting and liberating, helping me to find the things I love and what I’m good at. But, it often leaves me feeling like a jack of all trades, master of none. I’m incredibly flattered to be asked to do things I don’t have expertise in and I think most of you that work freelance under your own name may feel the same, it can also grind you down, creating a fog of imposter syndrome that can be hard to see past at times which doesn’t help motivation or creativity. As life has sped up I’ve found myself evaluating things every few months and as a blogger it seems natural to me that I should want to share my thoughts with you. Especially because some of you may feel the same, you may have your own strategies to share, or maybe what I’m about to say below will chime with you. 

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Farrow Downpipe home study with vintage modernist furniture, home decor ideas and decorating

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I really feel that the online world has opened up new opportunities for Joe Bloggs to try and forge non-traditional careers and on their own terms. It’s a great thing, and for me in particular as a nearly full time mum, it’s allowed me to forge my own path in something that excites me alongside bringing up my fantastic little person. But with a large part of my work coming from the online world it can seem like the hamster wheel never stops spinning. I’m always trying to fit tasks in to spaces that aren’t big enough and sometimes I wake in the night and do silly things like reply to emails from America when I know my child will be up all bright eyed and bushy tailed in under 3 hours at 6am. I may be writing a blog post or designing a room for someone one day, crafting my photography skills and planning a styling job the next, working on someone’s social media strategy and writing posts for their website another, or collaborating with brands and prepping for a photoshoot. Not to mention the events, which if you went to them all are a part-time job in themselves! On paper this all sounds very exciting, which it is in many respects and beats my old job, but as an stay at home mum with a one day a week proper job it can be quite a juggling act.

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apricot stocks

 Image: Design Soda

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 Ive already hit a point this year where I’m starting to plan what I want to do with the next and it’s going to be honing down what I take on, I have a few ideas (two) of what I may want to focus on (which taking on everything has helped me to narrow down to) but I also want to feel more inspired and relaxed because there are times when I feel like I am just putting cogs in motion and have lost my passion, or am in a haze of self doubt that I can’t see past to get to the fun stuff. So how to up the creativity? 

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mark making practice

Image: Design Soda

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One thing I’ve really enjoyed over the last year and which has really helped me to loosen up and feel creative in my work is the small scale workshops I’ve done. Each has been no more than a couple of hours and inexpensive, I can fit these in alongside our hectic family life and, even more important to me, I feel I can justify this time as a creativity refresh. The weekend before last I went on a brilliant Paint a Plant Pot workshop run by the incredibly talented Hello Marilou upstairs at Smug. The workshop, which involved practising mark making and thinking about colour composition,  was a real tonic. I arrived really tired and a little run down, but I left feeling reinvigorated, I had ideas for a decor refresh I have coming up, drafted several blog posts (including this) and started to put into practice some of the admin things to make work easier that I’ve been avoiding for weeks (some even months). This was not coincidental. The workshop had inspired me to feel curious, productive and awake.

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Mark making pattern primary colour plant pot

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It reminded me how important downtime that feeds creativity is in order to find new ideas. The colours I chose for my pot (above) got me thinking about an old passion of mine – the primary coloured aesthetics of Jean Luc Godard films where the stylised meets the immediacy of colour. It’s taking me on a path, I’m not sure where it will lead, but there are some bold primary colours at the forefront of my mind right now. So, I am going to make a conscious effort to bring back time for inspiration, it’s an important part of feeling excited about projects and feeding the soul.  

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Here are three things I’m going to do, one each week until the end of summer to reset my creativity.

 

Images: The primary coloured aesthetics of Pierrot Le Fou, Jean Luc Godard

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  1. Visit galleries, starting this week with Grayson Perry and the Summer Pavilion at The Serpentine. I also really want to see the Camille Walala installation at Now Gallery, Greenwich. I want to see things that will inspire my love of colour and surface so if anyone has any recommendations do let me know in the comments below. 

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Images: Pierrot Le Fou, Jean Luc Godard

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2.     Watching films that visually inspire me, starting with Pierrot Le Fou & Le Mepris by Godard (pictured above) The Grand Budapest Hotel by Wes Anderson and Romeo & Juliet by Baz Luhrmann. Film was one of my favourite things in my early twenties, I want to re-visit the films that I loved visually now that my eye is trained a little differently, but again any recommendations incredibly welcome.

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Selsey Beach Prints from nature in the sand

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3.         Now this last one, is less of a singular goal but a commitment to do something regularly to raise my endorphins and give me more energy. I have a few friends who use the crèche at their local leisure centre whilst they use the gym or pool, it seems like a sensible way of working some me-time into your day. But, and I mean this with the greatest of respect if you’re reading this mum, they don’t have my mother, who is always the voice in my ear cautioning me against it. I won’t say why as I don’t want to legitimise it or plant doubt in others! But I’ve decided I need this, Ted will be getting 6 hours in nursery from September anyway so that will free up some time but I need some now and I want it attached to exercise (which has been distinctly lacking since Ted stopped being pushed everywhere in a buggy) so I’m going to start swimming early in the morning to get my system going.

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scandinavian rustic styling kinfolk bohemian bedroom interiors ideas and inspiration

Image: Design Soda

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I have a good feeling about these small scale changes, in the last month I’ve felt a little back in my flow again. I’m also going to give more workshops a go as I’ve seen definite changes in mood and motivation each time I’ve done them, even just paying more attention to palettes and textures immediately after. High up on my list is a candle making workshop by The Earls of East London that I heard about at the last workshop I did, but I’d love to hear of any others in London that are small scale and interesting. What do you do to keep your creativity thriving?

 

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2 thoughts on “Thoughts | Finding time for creativity to keep up my motivation

  1. Lins @ Boo & Maddie

    Oh what a lovely post!! And I can definitely testify to exercise making such a difference to how you’ll feel. That reminds me too that Romeo and Juliet is definitely overdue a rewatch very soon. I was struggling to find my place just lately but even just clearing our home office and lighting a candle whilst I blog has helped me to regain that. Look forward to reading more X

    Reply
    1. Design_Soda_Ruthie Post author

      Thank you sweetheart, oh yes you are my exercise motivation, I saw your story the other day about needing to run even when it’s raining, I absolutely must start committing to it! And you’re also so right about a clear out helping you concentrate. I hope we both enjoy the Romeo & Juliet revisit as much 🙂 xxx

      Reply

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