Step on the creative path

Welcome (back!) to this little series dedicating to celebrating the steps we have taken on this journey of creativity. It is a way of helping us keep a balance between all that we want to do and what we have already done. You can read more about the story behind the ‘Celebrating’ series here

If you are anything like me, you may suffer from wanting to do it ALL and do it NOW – a recipe for overwhelm if there ever was one. This week, I am realising that its not just about the goals but about the process…how we treat ourselves and others as we walk the path of fulfilling our life’s dreams. It may be great to tick off all the to do’s on our list…make beautiful stuff…write excellent words…but if at the end of it we have treated ourselves like the harshest task master and neglected our relationships and our bodies, then something is amiss. I am realising that with the amount of energy, determination and drive that I possess, I can lack gentleness towards myself and others in my pursuit of my passions. That is why this space is good for me. It is teaching me to pause before getting on with the next thing. I have never appreciated the power of the ‘pause’ before. This week, I have noticed myself allowing more time for pausing…momentarily slowing and changing the gear so that my pace is not so frenetic.

So, the questions I pose to myself and you this week is “What steps on your journey have you taken that you want to pause to acknowledge and celebrate?” and “How have you treated yourself and others on the way?” Our celebrations are not just about what we did but how we were in the midst of our doing. How are we dealing with our selves, our internal processes, those around us? If we felt overwhelmed, how did we cope with that? Better than normal? Than that is a cause for celebration! This week, I started feeling overwhelmed but I managed it so much better than normal and I feel really good that I was kinder and gentler to myself  – its a major thing for me.

One thing I did this week has helped me enormously. After 18 months of leaving my profession to take up the creative life, I finally realised I could benefit from applying some of my old time and task management principles. So, here’s what I did.

1. I worked out what the broad areas of my life are from which actions and tasks flow. I came up with 7. Household, Family Fun, Art Making, Creative Business Admin & Development, Home Craft, Community & Charity and a last category that is about my own personal and spiritual development.

2. I gathered all the notebooks that had jobs and ideas jotted in them. I got a brand new book and some stick on tabs from a stationers.

3. I made a tab for each of the 7 areas of my life. I went through all my ideas and to do lists and transferred them all into the appropriate section of the new book. This book is now called “My Capture List”…the place where I capture all the thoughts, ideas and things I need to do so that I don’t have to hold them in my head or panic about having forgotten something.  The calm this process  brought was great…and while my task master was telling me I was taking waytoo much time making my book look like it wanted to, I ignored that voice as I was aware I’d struck on something important.

4. I then went through each area of my life and picked a manageable number of things important for me TO DO do in the next week or so. This is helping me restore balance between all the areas of my life (know that feeling when you spend loads of time on creative business and little on actually creating?). It is also helping me keep my TO DO list manageable, because it is this To Do list that I look at, not the Capture List with all the 101 jobs it inevitably contains.

5. I am keeping this (now sacred!) book close by so that as soon as remember something that needs doing I can jot it down. My intention is that at the start of each week, I spend 15 minutes (and maybe 5 mins at the start of the day), going through every idea and task and deciding what is important to do for now. That feeling of overwhelm is fading. Hurray!

So, this week, I have (re)discovered my own way to manage my time, my tasks – my panic about tasks and the time there is to do them in!

Amelia, me and Louise in my studio

In the midst of all this process, a beautiful evening spent with two creative bloggers and fellow course members on Kelly Rae’s Flying Lessons – Amelia (who lives in the same town as me) and Louise Gale from New York, who was in South London visiting her parents and got us all together for which I am very grateful. It is amazing meeting people for the first time and feeling so relaxed and able to talk from your heart straight away. And talk we did…about our journeys, our art, our feelings about our art, our dreams and about the raw, beautiful power of creativity and all the mystery it contains. Wonderful.

Now I’d love to hear about your week…

13 Responses to “Step on the creative path”

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  1. Veronika says:

    Ok, here we go…I did 3 things this week that made me really happy: 1. after disastrous couple of days of drawing where everything I drew looked really awful I decide to start something I call 'morning drawing' (kind of like morning pages except there's no writing, just drawing first thing in the morning after I wake up) and the drawing's are looking so so good, better than anything else I've done. I'm keeping them all together and will make 'Morning sketchbook out of it as a keepsake. 2. I've signed up for Sketchbook Project (http://arthousecoop.com/), brilliant! 3. I email an artist asking her few questions about her art making process (something I would never have dared to do before!) and she wrote back with the most encouraging email, it's was absolutely beautiful. Phew, that's it for this week, hope to report more next week 🙂

  2. Melissa says:

    I love the photo of you, Amelia, and Gayle! It sounds like the three of you had a wonderful time together.

    I really did have a good, productive week. I actually accomplished everything on my list. I don't think that has ever happened before! Thank you for reminding me to celebrate and to enjoy the process, as well as take care of myself and my relationships while I chase my dreams.

    I also love your Capture List. That is such a great idea. I will remember a task I need to do, and five minutes later, get distracted and forget all about it. I may have to develop a list of my own.

    Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

  3. Kat says:

    I recently came to the same conclusion – I needed to apply my awesome organizational skills from the corporate world to my creative life a bit! It has helped me to clarify the things that I need to do and take the steps toward them.

  4. Moyra Scott says:

    that is an awesome idea for organising your thoughts. I have so many wee notebooks all over the place that I just get confused sometimes. This week. achievements. um well I spoke to you which is part of my ongoing aim of creating a supportive community around me! I spoke to Janice at The Really Big Dream Company about her retreat venue in France. I met up with Onneke and talked about all sorts of things including this retreat idea. I went to London to take photos of children from which I am to draw a commission. I ran playgroup successfully. I met up with Shilpa. I hosted friends to visit. And I tidied the house to visitor ready standards. Oh my I am feeling better already. And I bought a domain name. And signed up for Amelia's course. I didn't keep within budget personally (oops, that was Amelia's course…..shhh) but I did with the housekeeping money. Thanks for this idea Concetta. I totally feel better! I have done quite a lot this week!

  5. Louise Gale says:

    Oooh such a lovely evening we had! 🙂 This week as ive been away from my huge flip chart pad (which is what i use to map out all my ideas and plans and stick on my wall!) so i have been using my notebook to write ideas down. Ive been catching up with friends and family and a little online which has refreshed me so much that i am ready to get back into the studio next week when im back in the USA.

    Love your capture list. 🙂

  6. Dana Barbieri says:

    What pretty ladies you are! Love seeing that photo.
    I totally love your capture list. It is a wonderful idea. One I may have to implement.
    For me this week I am celebrating that I have my facebook page up and running and after the overwhelm of it all I am now taking a bit of a break from the online world to just BE.
    P.S.
    Will send files to you soon. I haven't forgotten.

  7. Amelia says:

    I am celebrating the fact that I have got my facebook page up, have sent out my first ever newsletter, that I tidied my house, and did some shopping (this doesn't always happen as often as it should 😉

    I also got to meet up with fellow bloggers from around the globe twice this week – how amazing is that>?! Given that you are one of them I know you know!!!

    Thank you for a great evening and another one tonight too :0

    I am definitely aiming to change gear and stop being so frenetic, such a good idea.

    Lovely idea and place this is to share.

    Amelia.x

  8. Kim Henkel says:

    I am feeling a little overwhelmed at the moment, but a book with organized sections may be just what I need…. I am celebrating because I enjoyed every bit of creative time I had this week…. rather than worrying about finishing some projects. If I can't enjoy it, why am I doing it? I will continue to ask myself that question. Now to get organizing my book and my lists! Thanks!

  9. E. Hunter Spreen says:

    I am in the process of making a huge collage – it just keeps getting bigger! Plus, a smaller collage/paper sculpture. Both of these are for Amelia's course. Making huge strides with getting a thesis chapter written and trying to keep up my page count on the first draft of my play. Managed to have time to play with friends & family and to get some cleaning done, some clutter eliminated, and a room made cozier. Whew!

    Love the capture list idea.

  10. Concetta says:

    Goodness, so much good stuff going on. Wonderful new FB pages. Love the Morning Drawing idea Veronika. And for many of us, that great buzz when you set your sights on things to do and then look back and you achieved them – yay! And in the midst of it all, here we are tidying our homes, being with friends and family, running playgroups… Good luck with those of you setting about capturing tasks this week…I am just gonna sit down with mine and cuppa! x

  11. Sherry says:

    hello fellow flyer
    yesterday, I took my 80 foot long TO-DO list and wrote down what I wanted to do that day based on where I would be when for what I HAD to do
    I got it all done and had time left over to spend with my son (adult, not living at home)
    then I had time to read part of a book about creative energy

    so today, I'm going to go to the 80 foot list and cross off about six inches, pick another group for today and head out the door to exercise. I definitely think that making a journal page and working on a canvas will be on the list

  12. Kerri says:

    oh gosh, good for u! so productive. i need to put aside some time to get organized. i need it the most when i have the least time for it! 🙂

  13. Jo says:

    Oh wow, Concetta, I sooooo needed to read those words today: concentrating on the process/journey not just the end 'product'. So easy to forget when, like you, I want it all NOW!!
    At the weekend it suddenly hit me how many books of ideas and lists I had around the place full of inspirations from Kelly's course… totally un-manageable. And, as Melissa commented earlier, I kept starting things, getting distracted and then starting something else. I was never like that when I was teaching – I simply HAD to be more organised. Soooo I've put all those ideas into one place now too, although in my case into my planner. I've got a section at the back with numbered dividers, which I've labelled with different areas of my life and attributed the goals to them accordingly. Then, I plan (trying not to get all flustered at this hee hee!) to look at these areas on a Sunday and compile a 'to do' list for the coming week which I will insert into my diary. Its Wednesday, and so far so good I'm actually getting things done . Still desperately trying to juggle all the social networking stuff but getting there.
    Thank you sooo much for the inspiration and the encouragement to simply keep plodding on with those baby steps.
    Huge hugs
    xxx

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