I've been thinking a lot about creativity recently. In fact, I would consider myself to be in one of the most creative periods of my life. You will hardly find my without a crochet hook, knitting needle, camera or spatula in my hand these days. I lay awake at night dreaming up fantastical creations. I spend most free moments sketching things that are next on the list.
Of course, the irony is that, actually, I want to do nothing more than lay on the sofa and watch trashy films. I have never been more tired and I struggle to stay awake past 7pm.
I can only put the reasoning for this burst down to one thing...I recently started selling a few hats on etsy and folksy. They have sold remarkably well and I find myself with a number of orders to fill on any given day. Selling little pieces of myself has driven me to be better, no perfect, in these creations that go out into the world. And as they grow stitch by stitch, my mind wanders to other things I can make...or to photos I want to take...or to what I would want to make my family for dinner to repay the half attention I have been giving them.
And in the midst of it all, it dawned on me. Creativity isn't communing with angels or being visited by the muses. Its about hard work and learning. Sure, there may be a spark...a good eye or a dab hand. But the the fire only grows with a lot of stoking and fuel.
One of the better examples of this for me is how photography has developed in my life. Until recently, taking good pictures was largely a matter of chance. It wasn't until I decided I needed to LEARN how to use my camera and photo software that I began to be able to take many of the pictures I see in my head. I started reading my camera manual (whilst stirring risotto). I try and take a picture every day...and slowly things improve. I still have a long way to go, but the point is, I am working towards it.
There are many times in the last few weeks where I have thrown down my yarn and hook and stomped upstairs (Kevin once said that stomping is one of the things I do best). When crocheting purely for enjoyment, I would leave it at that...abandoned project for days or months. But with a responsibility to someone else, I am forced to pick up that same project hours or minutes later and work through the issue...often having an epiphany about the next step. Pushing through and working hard has resulted in getting my creative juices flowing much more than waiting for Rhiannon, the Goddess of Inspiration, to whisper in my ear what the next step might be.
I realise that in reading this back that I have a great luxury...time. Being at home means I can find space in the cadence of our days to pick up a project, too cook, to think - something I wasn't often able to do whilst working. I would never say I am less busy now than when I was at work, but its a different sort of life where I won't get a disciplinary when caught knitting during the morning meeting.
Or it could be a mad dose of pregnancy hormones that may also explain why I am (whispers) caught up on the laundry...