Well, the first full week of the new year is over. Good. We’re one step closer to things being ‘back to normal’. By that, I mean that we’re one step closer to being rid of the cloying artifice that immediately follows the new year fireworks; the manufactured and synthetic hope, inspiration and motivation with which we record over the reality of the past year and then broadcast, with a cult-like positivity, like some kind of saccharine gospel to whoever’s within earshot. We’re one step closer to acknowledging that the only truly new thing about the new year is the calendar you bought to cross off its days.
I started the last day of the year furiously typing out notes for a blog post on my phone, the harsh backlight of the display illuminating a maniacal grin and some significant bags under my eyes as the clock ticked on past 1:05am. ‘This is who I am’, I thought. Although I knew I’d be tired in the morning and have a fitful sleep from staring at my phone last thing before pulling the covers up and tucking myself in, it felt good. Ideas were coming to me, and I was taking the time to react to them. I felt passionate about what I could do with what I was typing out. Finally, I felt as though it were all coming back.
(I’m playing catch-up with this post, one I’d fully intended to have up almost a month ago. You’re lucky I remember the month so well, otherwise I’d have to make things up like alien invasions to pad it out.)
As with last year, November was spent in fitful preparations for the Portsmouth and Southsea Consortium’s Etsy Made Local market, as well as those for my birthday in early December, Yule, Christmas and the new year. I like to get in there early. It’s one of the busiest months of the year and, as with last year’s, I looked forward to it being over – not because I disliked what I was doing, nor how much work everything was, but because it meant I’d be able to rest.
(I thought I’d posted this in the first week of November; I guess I’ve been more distracted than I thought these last few months…)
You know, I think I’ve figured it out. It came to me not too long ago after writing last month’s metablog post, and I’ve spent the last few weeks exploring it through notes and scribbles to myself in a big ol’ sketchbook I’ve carried with me absolutely everywhere. I think I know what’s stopped my creativity in its tracks.
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’.