If I had to imagine my creativity as a being (which if you listen to and believe Liz Gilbert’s theory on creativity, ideas and having a genius and not being a genius which I do) I would imagine my creativity to be the 3 or 4-year-old version of myself.
Blonde birds nest hair, semi naked or in my red satin skirt with a neon pink waist elastic. Running around bashing into things, being dirty but incredibly playful and happy. This may also be a good time to tell you that one of my nicknames as a kid was Wrecka Becka… say no more.
I have been lucky enough in my life to always find beauty and inspiration and see creatively easily and often.
When I started Runaway Romance it was the first time I took my creativity and asked it to ‘perform’ regularly, on demand and to make me money.
This has bought me to a place where I feel incredible purpose and creative joy in my life. It has also bought me to a place of incredible ‘creative toddler’ tantrums!
When I was small one of my mother’s biggest fights with me was getting me into my car seat if we were going someplace I didn’t want to go. Like back home after a visit with my gran, or to school or from school (depending on my mood)
I would make my body totally stiff so she couldn’t get me through the car door let alone into the car seat… And when she did get me in the car I would perform the same, highly effective, technique to not get out of the car!
My darling ‘creative toddler’ self still does this every now and then, which when you don’t have any place to be or when you don’t really care if they come out the car or sit there till dinner is totally fine… BUT when your entire business and dare I say ‘reputation’ revolves around your creativity getting out the car, on a set date, at a specific time, under pretty stressful conditions whilst looking elegant… Lord there’s going to be a stand off!
Most times getting your creativity out the car won’t be a thing, because your creative self is curious and playful and doesn’t want to be left out… but you better believe that every now and then that little shit is going to stiffen up and kick and scream and sulk and tantrum like only a 4-year-old can.
So how do I get my creativity out of the car?
Bribe it, ignore it, feed it & let it nap.
My version of creative bribery goes something like this
” I know you may not be feeling like this right now, but where we are going is very important and the people waiting for you are really looking forward to seeing you, and if you come out nicely I will give you tomorrow off and you can sleep in and have a nice long bath”
My day off after an event is what keeps me creatively focused and able to give it my all on a wedding or function day. Because I know there is a reward coming afterwards I’m willing to push hard now.
Pretend you don’t want them to come out the car.
If you are a parent, an aunt, an occasional baby sitter or generally an observant person you will know that once you start to stress out about something the kid you are looking after is doing… they will stress out, act up or start crying.
They pick up on this stress or tension because they are amazingly sensitive little emotional and energy antennas.
Your creative self is just as sensitive.
If you are trying to force it out of the car with aggression, stress or panic all it is going to do is start crying.
Even though it may feel like your worry and stress is the thing doing good or keeping you ‘focused’ try carry on like you couldn’t care less if they join you or not and before you know it they would have popped out the car seat and be digging in the sand (or styling a table or putting a flower arch together) next to you.
I try make my reward or creative bribery physical not just praise based.
It’s amazing to get internet high fives (likes) or kind words from your couple but just like an actual sweet works better as bribery than talk of a sweet does, so will an actual physical reward work better than the fleeting words, social chatter and heart icons.
A massage, a day off, a bath, breakfast in bed.. These are all things you can physically feel and when so much of being creative is up in your head or in your heart getting it out into your body is grounding and seems to last much longer and nourish me much more than the quick buzz of praise. (Don’t get me wrong you can still say thank you)
Let it nap.
Before I saw my creativity simply as a tool, a thing. An object I get to constantly use, apply and ‘work’.
The majority of problems with unhappy toddlers can be solved with food or a nap. If you are expecting to ‘work’ your creativity like a tool, then you are probably not letting it nap.
Creativity gets tired. Sometimes you need to switch off (literally and figuratively) so that you can truly switch on.
Once I started seeing my creativity as my 4-year-old self or an actual being it helped me be more kind, more understanding and more sneaky with it (don’t judge me you have totally pulled a fast one on a toddler before)
By changing the way I talked to my creativity, by being softer, kinder and calmer with it. By feeding it and letting it nap I am slowly able to enjoy it more, to love and understand it more… and that is pretty damn special because kids grow up fast and so does your creativity, and it would be such a shame to miss out on this stage in their/your life.
I would love to hear how you bribe, ignore, feed or let your creativity rest? I would also really appreciate if your shared this with a creative friend or community.