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Living Creatively

Over the last few months, I couldn’t help but think about how people would respond to my announcements about leaving the magazine and selling CrochetMe.com. I couldn’t escape that although my reasons were so intensely personal, I’m a fairly public figure in the yarn world and I know from experience that some people have a tendency to think of me almost as their representative to it. So of course people might react to my decisions.

And so let me tell you how amazed I’ve been with your responses yesterday—in comments, on Twitter, by email. Not only did you make me feel understood and supported, you also seemed to relate personally in ways I hadn’t anticipated.

We are creative people. All of us. And we don’t often know what to do with ourselves in that respect. We know how to have a job and do it well, we know how to participate in family life, we know how to foster friendships. There are subtle and overt social rules for all of those things. But there aren’t any rules about living creatively, are there? And rules for such a thing would defeat the creativity part, anyway.

But still. We’re raised to be empowered to pursue the academic subjects that interest us, to go after satisfying and influential careers, to give back to our community. But when we’re needing to be creative, when that creativity runs counter to the expectations we’ve placed upon ourselves and that others—tacitly or openly—place upon us, we’re lost. Literally lost. We feel like we spin around and can’t stop; we feel like the bottom is falling out from under us; we feel like we don’t fit in, like we aren’t understood, like we never will be.

I have come to accept that as long as I understand myself, that as long as I take a deep breath as I’m spinning around and the bottom is starting to recede, that as long as I trust myself, I can navigate a creative life happily and successfully. And so can you.

I definitely want to explore this more. What do you think?

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Sheryl Means

Keep the writing coming. I read this and find myself doing an internal happy dance, “Yes, someone else gets it!” You continue to inspire me!

Cynthia

Keep up the great work Kim! You so inspire me- I can't wait to see what happens for you next!
:))

Eva

Paragraph four pretty much sums it up for me.

Kim Werker

I hear you. Here's to rising above it, eh?

kjtendyke

Kim, you're truly inspiring… in SO many ways you don't even know. Thanks for just being who you are and not what society expects from you.

Annette

Two things really speak to me in this post: the feeling of not fitting in, and the absence of rules for the creative life.

I always felt I didn't fit in (and I think it was because I wasn't a “standard” child – too smart, too sensitive, too obsessed by reading and writing…). Moving to another country helped me tremendously with this – there is just no way you're going to fit in as a foreigner, so you might just as well live happily with your own originality.

Rules for the creative life? There certainly are no standardized rules for the creative life, but I start more and more to think that you need rules, and that you have to make your own. I need rules, or routines, to make place for creativity in my day-to-day life, and not get bogged down in mundane tasks and family obligations to the point where I don't feed my creative soul.

Lots of things to think about here…

Michelle

Yes, explore away! I think something else you haven't touched on yet is the lasck of importance we (and others) tend to place on creativity, even if unintentional. In the back of our minds the crafty side of our existence is for making clothes and warm things and keeping the family fed, just as it was for our mothers and their mothers etc. Creativity was always necessary to “make do” and for survival.

In this day, when we don't all need to make and cook for survival, but can rely on ready made and store bought food instead, what emphasis are we placing on the importance of our own creativity in the grander scheme of our lives? I took the package on offer when I lost my job in June, and aimed to live a creative life for at least 3 months (it became 4). Can you imagine the reaction I got from people? The creative crafty people were all “OMG that's BRILLIANT” and the others (like my family) were wondering if they could institutionalise me!

It raised a lot of self-doubt that I could justify my existence as a woman (with no children) by baking bread cooking home-cooked meals every night and starting an Etsy shop and learning how to run a home business. But I'm so glad I did it. I would do it again in a flash. I only took the job I'm in now because I had the confidence to say “Yes, I can do that. I know I've never worked in indigenous health policy before but I know I can do it because it I set up a home craft business and that worked!”

Sorry for taking up som much comment space, Kim. I should have just written my own blog post!

Michelle

Oh, I absolutely loved it! And I learnt so much – marketing, packaging, pricing. Things that I would not have had the opportunity to learn had I stayed in my IT management job (which I did not love. No way. Was glad to be gone from it). The money I received went straight onto our mortgage as we are a pair that hates debt, and I lived on my husband's salary. My family are mostly people who live to work (not work to live) – post-war, migrant folk who could have retired years ago but keep working to keep busy. My husband was great – I think he saw I was on the edge of a nervous breakdown, and he was equally frustrated that I couldn't find the time or energy to create in my spare time. I have to say that while the business was successful, I was limited by how much people wanted to pay for my items (and really, how much I wanted to charge! I wanted to be reasonable), how much time I could invest in the designing and the creating, as opposed to the posting and the emailing and the listing. And there were some low points – the lack of confidence, as mentioned above, as well as the typical “woman's guilt” about not earning an adequate income, couple with my need for a proper “break” from working at all. I am still running my business, but on a limited basis due to lack of time. I wanted to go back to full-time work at a lower level, doing something completely different – something more creative. So now I get immersed in creating maps and helping with planning and policy. Not where I thought I'd be a year ago, but I really wouldn't have it… Read more »

Lisa

This sort of reminds me of my mother… She once told me when I was young, that there is a secret language of babies, and only the young could see angels and speak to animals. As we grow, we lose touch with these natural instincts etc. And whether those little stories are myths or truth, the point lies not within the validity of them, but more so keeping touch with one's self… One's own inner language, or voice per se… Living creatively. To me, that is keeping in mind the standards of society, without losing sight of myself. Over time, we are conditioned by society's norms, standards… trends, expectations – “normalcy.” Many lose that creative inner voice… The one that always finds a way to make herself heard. It is whether or not we recognize it. I really think some do, to different degrees. Some listen just a little, enough to keep peace and fit in. Not that this is wrong, as I think for some, it is better for them to maintain that stance, psychologically. Then there are the others… Those who now only hear that little creative voice, but speak and live through it. Those are your *quit a good job in the middle of a recession* people :P I was brought up with your typical American Family… siblings all finished college, have phenomenal stable jobs… huge houses, cars etc. I am so glad I was, because it was that that made me really truly hear my creative inner voice, of just how different I was, and what was transpiring within…. To move to a country cow town as a single mom, and eventually, start up a crochet business designing, to the dismay of many and comments abundant “You will never make it…..!” Of course, I know they… Read more »

blondechicken

Kim, I missed this when you first posted it and am bummed that I did! Hopefully it's not too late to jump in!
You're point about there not being rules for the creative life is exactly what seems to be the “sticking point” for me. It's not that I want rules, but I'd like some…examples maybe? Or some guidance? Just, generally, some encouragement that living creatively, stepping off into my dream of full-time creativity can actually pay the bills. My day job just barely covers the bills, my husband's job is very…sketchy (he works for a self-employed couple) and so the pressure to stay with the insurance and stability is overwhelming.
But it's not just that external pressure, it's also an internal insistence, just as strong as my creative drive, for security. I'm committed to building the life I want, the one that fits ME that includes both living creatively AND not being in debt. So, hmm. I got off on a money-concern tangent there.

Sometimes, I feel like, if I continue to chronicle my journey into building a sustainable creative life, I can become an example. But I'd like some of my own to look to (like you and Shannon O).
And other times, I think that this is such an individual journey, that no one's will look enough like my own to give anything more than general encouragement.

Maybe what we need is a community or tribe of people at various stages of this journey, all sharing their various trials, along with tips with each other, but also with the diy/freelance community at large (a group blog, a podcast, a forum)?

Vashtirama

Thanks for the inspiration, Kim:
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Vashtirama

Thanks for the inspiration, Kim:
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Vashtirama

Thanks for the inspiration, Kim:
http://designingvashti.blogspot.com/2009/01/200

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