Most weeks I really struggle to write this very blog you are reading right now!
Every week I know what I have to do. Instead of being organised and starting to write down a few ideas at the start of the week, I don’t think about it until Friday morning. I panic. Spend 2 hours writing and doubting my worth as a creative person, double check for typos then hit send. It's kind of a nightmare!
This blog has been one of the worst and best exercises I’ve given myself.
While I dread the actual writing of the post, I found that posting something into the world under such duress is helping me seperate myself from my work. This separation is the key to growth if you are a creative person.
When I think back to my days at University there was very little taught about the business of design and what life might look like as a professional. We were encouraged to pour our hearts and souls into assignments and were marked on experimentation and the journey rather than the final execution.
Being so invested in your work is a tough habit to break but it must be broken if you want to have a long and healthy career creating for others.
You have to be able to look at your work objectively and when you refer to projects as “your baby” that is impossible to do.
Before I had this realisation, I used to get super defensive if anyone had any negative, or mediocre feedback about my work. It's like my ears just shut up and I couldn’t hear the reasoning or thoughts behind the comments. It felt like a direct attack on my integrity and skill as a designer.
This may sound rather dramatic, and it is, but bear in mind that no-one told me that you can create a piece of work and it not be a piece of you!
Part of that fear also comes from the perceived limitation of the creative ideas and opportunities themselves. As if there are only a few great ideas floating around and we are lucky if we catch one and are reluctant to let it go if we do.
I’ve just finished reading ‘Big Magic’ by Elizabeth Gilbert in which she refers to creative ideas as ‘big magic’. While hard work and just being there is a major part of success there is an element of “magic” that happens when we connect with an idea. Ideas are beings and we have to be open to them and be willing to let them lead us to some unknown wonder!.
While I’m a bit too practical to believe in ‘magic’ but I most certainly agree with the sentiment. There is this strange and wonderful thing that happens when you have a great idea. It can feel like it came from out of nowhere. It can be quite a physical experience. I have a million notebooks that I carry around with me and I’ve been known to stop mid sentence and quickly jot down a thought I didn’t want to forget.
My misunderstanding that these moments are limited and needed to be fiercely protected has been holding me back for years! I’ve made more progress professionally and personally in the last 12 months than I have in the last 9 years as a freelancer.
That simple notion of creating something (anything for that matter) and letting go into the world without a piece of me attached has given me room to fail, be wrong, be right, nail it and completely miss the mark. It hasn’t changed how hard I work on projects and if anything it has given me permission to try new and different directions, ones that would’ve once been too scary to try.
I joked with some friends that other night about putting some of Franks kinda creations straight into the recycle bin when he brought them home from school (I’m talking about the egg carton with a rubber band around it - not the masterful pieces of art). I wanted to teach him the importance of being able to create something then let it go. Of course I didn’t throw out his egg carton (in front of him...) but it got me thinking how amazing it would be if you could create freely and be truly objective about your own work from the age of 4! We’ll see…
Thanks for reading my bulletin. I realised that I wrote about writing but sometimes it's just about showing up on the day and getting the job done! As I get closer to a week 52 for Bulletin Board I find myself wondering if I should keep writing them? My goal was a year and I’m confident I’ll make it but I fear I’ll miss this emotional rollercoaster every Friday morning! Perhaps if you’ve read a few and enjoyed them you might sign up to the newsletter below so I know there are people out there reading them. For those of you that have already - My sincerest Thanks!!