How To Nurture Personal Creativity in a Hectic Life. Plus Panda Bear Sweater WIP

Mar 31, 2016 | Knitting Life | 4 comments

how to nurture personal creativity in a hectic life

One of my 2016 goals was to work on a personal creative project each month. 3 months into the year, I haven’t done too well on this goal.

I strongly believe in that uninhibited, joyful creating is an important aspect of a joyful life (that’s why I try to share creative knitting ideas on this blog as often as I can) Yet I sometimes fill what should be my personal creative space with home, mother and business duties until there is little time left for personal projects.

You can probably relate. Nurturing your own creativity can often seem less immediately important than a work deadline or a whining toddler. Here are three tips for successfully squeezing in some personal creative time, if you’re struggling. Although I am still a work-in-progress, I started implementing them this past month, and they seem to be helping.

  • Set aside time to work on personal creativity, but don’t make an achievement goal or deadline. We work so much in life toward a particular measurable goal. This is often good and important but isn’t appropriate when nurturing your personal creative practice. We need to take the pressure off in order to let our creativity thrive.
  • Pick projects that are different from your work. This is like cross-training for an athlete who focuses on one sport but practices another a couple times per week. For me it means knitting sweaters and cowls instead of toys, or even trying out some non-knitting projects
  • Pick projects that seem easy, (although still appealing). At this phase, my life is full of challenging, and I need my personal creative space to be one that relaxes me as well as nurturing my creativity.
panda bear sweater work in progress

Around Christmas time, I shared a failed knitting project on the blog: my toddler’s panda bear sweater. I stuffed the project in a bag and tried not to think about it for a month (you do this with your failed projects sometimes too right?) About a month ago, I finally got up the courage to pick up the half-frogged project and try again. Last time I made the arms way too long and way too thin. Now, the second time around, in a kind of Goldilocks and the Three Bears scenario, I made the arms way too short. Ugh! What is it with this project?

knitting fail

So I changed tactics. I really want to make my toddler a new sweater (all his hand knits are too small for him at this point). But I want to enjoy it too, and above all, I want the project not to stress me out. So I thought a little and decided to implement the 3 tips above. I set aside time (a few quiet minutes before bed) to work on my project, but no pressure about a deadline; I’ll finish it when I finish it. And the big one, I decided to stop trying to design the sweater myself. I found a pattern book for toddler sweaters at the library, and picked the pattern that most fit my vision. I still plan on designing the final panda face graphic in duplicate stitch, but that’s simple. I don’t have to fear arms too short or too long, a body too fat or too tight, because I’m following a pattern, checking gauge.

The pattern is miles and miles of stockinette… and that makes it just perfect. Comforting, easy and relaxing.

And you? What are you’re favorite tips for fitting in time for personal creativity in a hectic life?

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