Creativity and having a creative practice is so important for our general well-being. For me, creativity has always been an opportunity to play, a safe place to explore, experiment and express whatever is going on in my life. It’s easy to see why those characteristics are so beneficial in helping us to feel good.
A while ago I mentioned that finding those creative moments seems harder than before. More accurately, the main shift over the last year and half is that I have started to earn money from my creativity – my writing, my photography, and this blog space.
Previously, my creativity was just for me, it didn’t really matter what anyone else thought or whether it fulfilled someone else’s ideas. However, now I am submitting features to editors and working with brands, and that context changes how it feels to create the work.
I realise it’s a dream for many to transition into earning money from their creativity and I feel very thankful to have been paid for my creative endeavours over the last year and a bit. However, when your creativity starts to become your source of income, how do you combine a creative self-practice that makes you feel good and fuels your well-being whilst also earning you money?
When I started this blog, I had no idea where it would take me, it was my little sacred space to connect with others through words and pictures. As this space grows though I become more aware that people are paying attention, and along with that sense of exposure it is easy to allow yourself to feel pressure to create great and engaging content.
Of course, putting pressure and expectations on yourself can kill any joy, creates stress and anxiety, which in turn crushes any creative spark you might have been feeling in the first place.
I have always thought of creativity and well-being as a cyclical process – one feeds the other. Being creative makes you feel calm and improves your well-being, and feeling relaxed and at ease opens you up to a well of inspiration and creativity.
A big learning curve for me has been to find some self-belief in my abilities and my work. When someone asks me to create a post for them I still get pretty anxious about whether it will fulfil their creative brief, whether they will like the content, and whether the photographs will turn out okay. I should take some comfort from the fact that it always does come together, and remember that I always work really hard on the collaborations I take on. Confidence is still a work-in-progress for me, and maybe that little bit of self-doubt is what keeps me pushing forward? – A topic for another time though.
In terms of well-being alone, it’s really important for us to make time to honour our creativity; to follow our hearts desire and express, regardless of how productive or fruitful the outcome is. Practically though, that doesn’t always feel so easy to do. We’re all really busy making sure we can pay our bills and working hard to raise our families.
I guess like all things, it is a balance, and alongside doing the creative paid work that fuels you and your business you also have to make time to create without any pressure or expectations.
And whilst there is that famous Maya Angelou quote… “You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” I do think our creative energy can become depleted and we need to top up our creative tank from time to time.
By consciously allowing yourself the sacred space to follow the flow of the creative experience, without any real specific destination in mind, you are giving back to yourself. This process alone is so essential as it provides you with a reservoir of energy and creativity to draw from.
3 things that have really helped me transition into earning from my creativity…
- Be mindful about the collaborations you choose to work on and only pick things that feel like an authentic fit.
- Do some projects just for the love of it.
- Always bring it back to what is at the heart of your blog… remember why you started your blog in the first place.
I shared this thought on twitter the other day and it seemed to resonate with lots of you “Blog like there’s no one watching”.
Holding on to that sense of freedom and that safe place to explore and express is crucial. Let’s remember that creating makes you feel alive, and that’s a pretty wonderful feeling.
It is possible to combine a creative self-practice that fuels your well-being and earns you money. You just need to make sure you spend time to look after both aspects. Maybe one day you will hit that sweet spot where you can weave in creative work that offers you that chance to play and experiment, whilst being paid.
Do you earn from your creativity? Do paid collaborations also make you feel good and fuel your well-being? Would love to know what works for you…