Ever since I was little, my dream was to use my creative voice to do art and to write.
I love to write.
It’s as if letters put together into words is something so powerful. Because depending on how you put them together, the words and eventually sentences will have completely different meanings.
Furthermore, it will not only have different meanings for you, but for each and every person who reads it.
The same applies to any art form. If you look at our embroidery pieces, you may love the one we like the least and vice versa… Isn’t it fascinating?!
I lost it
It feels like I refer a lot to the sentence “since becoming a mom”. But truth is, becoming a mom changed everything (to the better, but in ways I couldn’t imagine).
A classic example; We thought we never had time for anything before being parents… HA! If we only knew. Time was the only thing we had and I will never take going to the toilet alone for granted again haha 😉
Though my time-optimism has not been cured, my relationship with time has definitely shifted.
To watch our daughter grow is the greatest blessing I’ve ever experienced. As a result, both Charles and I want to be as present as possible when she is awake, which means that every minute she sleeps has to be used efficiently.
BOOOM, there it dropped. The heavy stone of the word efficient.
Because no matter how much you try to push, the pressure these past couple of years have simply been too much. Some days I felt like hiding under a blanket from all the to-do lists of trying to keep a company alive during crazy times, while simultaneously figuring out how to be the great mom I want to be.
The result was that I slowly lost my creative voice.
I could never imagine it possible to feel physically sick when you don’t get to exercise your creativity.
Rediscover your creative voice
How was your last two years?
Frankly, it’s enough to think about the last 3 months. Because creative well-being is like your physical condition: It fluctuates constantly depending on how much you invest in it.
You may think it’s funny coming from someone who seemingly gets to create art for a living.
But truth is, when you run your own small business, there is less and less time for you to create art due to the increasing list of other tasks such as administration, customer service, management, marketing, development and so on.
Even if you would be financially able to outsource some things, you most likely still have to actively schedule and be proactive with your art-creation or else you fall into the trap of computer work.
Fall into the trap of worry and comparison. Unfortunately I feel like I’ve wasted too much time this past year on the latter, which is the time I intend to take back and use for what really matters: To lead a creative life together with my family so that we are able to continue to bring creative joy to you as well!
Ps. If you’re interested I might make a separate post about reflections on the development of social media for artists and how I consciously try to decrease time on it for the sake of my sanity (and of course to use the time and energy for more important things such as: Creativity and our daughter).
The breaking point
Both Charles and I have been feeling the urge to rediscover our creative voice for more than a year. It was like a ticking bomb inside of our stomachs waiting to explode.
We would even tell each other things like “Oh I just want to create“.
Then why didn’t we?
For the same reason that you don’t create as much as you wish you did. Because life happens.
What’s ironic is that when you actually prioritise your creative well-being (I’m speaking to you who recognise yourself in the creative desire), you perform better in all areas of life.
When you lead a creative life you feel:
- Less stressed
- Less anxious
- Less worried
- More energetic
- More creative
- More productive
The cards are out on the table. It’s pretty evident that we should all rediscover our creative voices for the sake of both ourselves and those around us.
At least for us, we reached the breaking point some months ago. We had to make a drastic change or else everything would fall apart, including our business that we’ve invested our whole lives into.
What we did
Many thought we were crazy, but we’re used to it so that didn’t stop us haha.
We decided to move country. Get new air under our wings. Fresh surroundings, inputs and experienced. To break out of the comfort that you build as you stay in the same place for years. And even more so since becoming parents.
Our goal with Charles and Elin is to inspire you to lead a more creative life. But how can we teach something that we no longer practise fully? It doesn’t make any sense.
So we pulled ourselves together and made the commitment just like we did when we decided to launch Charles and Elin soon 5 years ago.
To lead a creative life
The first step was to make a shift in the business that would enable us to make a greater impact. That is when the Charles and Elin Academy Membership was born.
Instead of individual courses, it is designed to be a place where you find everything we’ve ever created for the purpose of inspiration, learning and support for you who also want to lead a creative life.
It serves as one space where you can access everything in the same place, which makes the step to get creative shorter for both you and us.
To lead a more creative life is all about setting yourself up for success. According to James Clear, author of Atomic Habits, that means setting up your daily habits to support your desired lifestyle.
In the case of creativity, it can be to keep a basket with your supplies next to the sofa so that when you sit down to watch some tv in the evening it’s just a matter of stretching out your hand and you can start to stitch while you relax and watch.
To be creative doesn’t mean that you have to do huge impressive art pieces. In fact, if you have the idea that it has to be impressive every time, or “look instagram-able”, you’re most likely putting too much pressure, which will make you less creative.
Biggest blockers of creativity
Now that we’re onto it, these are some of the most common blockers of creativity. You may have experienced one or all of them.
- Perfectionism (It has to look amazing/perfect or else it’s not worth doing)
- Theorisation (Thinking too much about what to do instead of actually doing)
- Limited space (We don’t know where to practise our art)
- Too much stress (We don’t feel like we can make time for it)
- Negative surrounding (For example your social circle tells you you should do something else)
- Not enough materials (You never feel like you have the right materials…)
- No inspiration (You don’t know what to make)
- Lack of motivation (You don’t have the energy to even start)
Wow that’s a lot.
The good news is; there are solutions for all of these limitations. And you have the key to unlock all of them if you dare to take action.
You don’t have to move abroad to find your creative voice back
Just a quick disclaimer before we continue. I don’t want you to feel that you have to move country to be able to be creative. NOT AT ALL.
It just happened to be what we needed for our family at the time. We really needed A BIG CHANGE. But for you it may be enough to move the storage location of your supplies to make it more accessible.
Or to be better at scheduling time in your calendar for your creative “you-time”.
The scheduling part is truly super effective. Because it makes the commitment more serious and you are more likely to hold yourself accountable.
Because how many times have you thought to yourself “I’ll do it later” only to discover that later never comes…
If you don’t put a day and time next to the activity and preferably tell someone else about it, there is a great chance it won’t happen.
This is why I decided to launch a Creative Challenge.
The Creative challenge will hold both you and I accountable to get back a creative habit. It also pushes you to rediscover your creative voice.
To learn more about the challenge and how you can join, click on the image below.
I filmed the first session today
Just before writing this piece I actually filmed the first session of the challenge. To sit down and chat about creativity while working on the task of the day for one hour was SO ENERGISING.
I’m amazed how it works EVERY TIME. Pick up those materials and just do it! The experience gave me so much inspiration that I immediately felt like sitting down to write something (which turns out to be this haha).
I have lost count of how many times the urge to write hits me and then I never do it. So this is me making a public statement that I want to write more. And I want to create more.
Enough with limitations that it has to be perfect or that the topic has to be “super interesting” for it to be worth it. Because not everyone will think everything you do is interesting regardless of how much thought or effort you put into it.
If I learnt anything from 5 years of running our business it’s this:
The more you let go of perfectionism and just DO IT, the more magic will come to you. You just need to get out of your own way. Publish the article. Try the art design. Experiment with a new technique.
That is how you advance. It’s how you burst through creative blockages, and how you conquer your creativity.
Are you with me? Let’s get creative!
Together we will be able to take back not only our creative voice, but also the positive energy form new ideas and fresh inspiration that we can spread far and wide.
The Creative Challenge kicks off on Friday 22nd April for all members in the Charles and Eli Academy. And if you come and join us before the release, you are able to benefit from our limited 7 day free trial, which means that you can watch the first session for free and see whether it’s for you or not before committing to stay in the Membership.
Thank you so much for being with me, and cheers to many more articles and creative making to come!
P.s. If you enjoyed this article, you may also like “Reflections on being an artist and entrepreneur”