Notes on creativity

Those of you who have followed this blog for a while will know I’ve had ongoing struggles with creative work. The creative industries are a mess, austerity means many people can’t afford books, art or music. It’s really hard making a living at the moment. There’s only so much time and energy available to me. However, over the last six months or so I’ve learned a lot of useful things about staying creative, so, here’s what’s been helping me get moving again.

  1. Not using writing to pay the bills. It’s incredibly stressful and requires a rapid output, which I have found depressing and exhausting every time I’ve tried it. I am more likely to make money from writing if I write the things I want to write and then try to find a home for it, and not have making it pay be my primary concern. If I’ve got my responsibilities to my family covered, I feel freer in my writing, and other forms of creativity too.
  2. Peer support. Knowing it’s not just me, it’s not my failing but an industry-wide issue. Feeling recognised and respected by creative people I admire and respect helps maintain morale.
  3. People to create for. For me an art is only complete when it encounters someone else. A book no one reads is unfinished. People to write for give me a sense of hope and purpose. This blog helps me keep going, I’ve also felt really inspired as a consequence of support for my Patreon. It’s more about people wanting my work than the money, but the money helps.
  4. Making headspace. I can do the disciplined churning out of words, but to really create I need time to daydream, wonder, question and whatnot. I need time when I’m not directly using my brain for other things. I need to be ok with apparently doing nothing in order to make a space for inspiration to come in.
  5. Time to study. I need raw material to use creatively. This means reading, experiencing, learning. I need time to take workshops or lessons, time to pick up courses – not all of it directly about writing, either!
  6. Opportunities to be inspired. Other people’s books, live music, theatre, film, walks, good food, nights spent dancing, conversations with friends, beautiful landscapes… If I don’t feed my soul, all the time, then I can’t create. Get this right and I’m much more likely to be inspired.

Put that together and what you get are creative friends I can spend time with, whose creativity I can be inspired by and who are up for reading my stuff as well. People to walk with, cook with, hang out with, go to gigs with… and as there’s been a lot of that in my life in recent months, it turned out all I had to do was start making better spaces for myself, and putting down things that don’t serve me, and creativity becomes a good deal more feasible.

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About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, wife to the most amazing artist -Tom Brown. Drinker of coffee, maker of puddings. Exploring life as a Pagan, seeking good and meaningful ways to be, struggling with mental health issues and worried about many things. View all posts by Nimue Brown

9 responses to “Notes on creativity

  • Kizzia

    Reblogged this on Where Kizzia Lives and commented:
    I’ve been struggling with creating anything for a while now. This post by Nimue not only makes me feel like I’m not alone but also helps me see that not only am I allowed time out, I actually need it.

  • Tanya Simone Simpson

    I really needed to read this today! Thank you 🙂

  • greycatsidhe

    Thanks for this reminder. 🙂

  • Aurora J Stone

    Wise words indeed. For me the most important part of the creative process is not the actual time spent creating, its the time spent nurturing and nourishing ones soul and self. In my case it means having still time, reflective time, not always dashing about and doing busyness.

  • paulaacton

    While I fully agree with the others I have to say the first one I see a little differently, working a crappy day job to cover the bills means I frequently struggle to sit and write when I get home, maybe if you have a day job that is fulfilling or allows you to be creative it may be different but I find that a day of dealing with the public is a sure fire way of having my muse bury her head in the sand with her fingers in her ears refusing to come back out again. It is finding the balance to spend the quality time with friends and loved ones and create, and the fact a roof above our head must be kept, food must be provided and bills paid.

    • Nimue Brown

      Yes, there’s definitely a question of balance here – a job that doesn’t eat your brain and takes the pressure off is a blessing, something that grinds you down and doesn’t leave enough energy for creativity is a massive problem. How any of that plays out is bound to be entirely individual, as well.

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