Over this last month, I’ve hardly crafted, designed or made. I’ve hardly read or written. So, what have I done? I’ve thought. A lot. I’ve made notes, jotted things down, doodled and scribbled, trying to make sense of what it is that’s stopped my creativity in its tracks.
I’ve always thought of August as a good month to take off. Literally, if you fancy it and can afford to fly somewhere on holiday, but it’s a good month to just set as much aside as you can and enjoy the last full summer month (and the best one, in my opinion). However, this proves a little difficult to do if you’ve not been up to much and don’t feel as though you’ve earned a break. How can you have a month off from nothing?
Again, I’ve left it very late in the current month to look back on the previous month, but I’ve not been able to stop thinking about it for the last couple of weeks. After finishing up with all my collaborative projects, I was left pretty much to my own devices but, despite the free time, I didn’t accomplish nearly anywhere near as I thought I would last time I wrote.
Once Antiuniversity Now and Etsy Craft Party were done with, it was nice to take a step back from my collaborative projects and just be by myself for a few days. I love my work with others dearly, and it’s such an important part of what I do, but it’s nice to put it to one side for a little while and focus entirely on myself and what I want to do, rather than what I agree to do with/for others.
(I just realised that I never published this after I finished writing it, so that’s why it’s quite late in the month!)
I was very happy to have found more time this past month to engage in creative activities, for my own enjoyment rather than as something contributing to one of my projects. I did a lot of this privately, without documenting it for either myself or to showcase on my social media accounts. It felt very strange to work on something without showing off the progress, or even the finished results but, at the same time, I felt more connected to what I was making, and the processes I was using to make it.
So, what was April? Another great month for my collaborative projects, that’s for sure. It’s become much easier and, therefore, a habit, to put all of my effort into my work with others than into my work for myself. In my experience, it’s typically the other way round – that people would sooner put their efforts into their personal successes than into their partnerships, when they have both as parts of their professional life. Hopefully, I can find balance rather than shifting all my attention and efforts to ‘one side’.
Over March, I made more of an investment in my collaborative projects than I did in my creative ones, with both Croshare and The Portsmouth and Southsea Consortium benefitting from more time and energy than each one had been given in quite a while. However, that’s not to say that I didn’t poke around a little bit in my individual projects, too.
I continued with a rather ‘slow’ approach to business in February. I think that not trying to set major goals or make resolutions back in January helped; I felt under less pressure from myself to achieve the things I wanted to. For some reason, this resulted in my to-do list and workload organising and prioritising themselves ‘naturally’ – I think I’m starting to realise how I work best, but I’m still not aware of the long-term impacts of what I’m starting to think of as ‘passive progress’.
I didn’t try to reinvent myself at the start of January. I didn’t make any resolutions, nor did I set myself any goals. Part of me acknowledged that whenever I’ve tried to set myself to implement these types of changes, I’ve failed and then felt bad about it, looking at what I could, should and would have achieved; part of me was rebelling against the wave of false hope for a better year and a better you that always hits on 00:00, 01 January, each year. And each year, as it ebbs, people realise that it’s left them covered in the detritus and debris of broken promises to change and be better.
The last month of the year is always a busy one for me – my birthday, Yule, Christmas and the new year always conspire to steal away my time, which is why I don’t mind doing nothing over these few weeks. It always feels like a holiday – and, following the mad rush of Etsy Made Local in the first week, it felt like a well-deserved one.