Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Pressure, Balance and Short Stories - let's talk!

Hi my dear ones. How was your week?
I'd like to talk about something I was having on my mind for a longer while. In the moments like this I wish English was my first language because when it comes to talking about my emotions, feelings and all these complicated matters that happen in my head - (English) words simply fail me. It sounds much better when I have it all in my head, ready to put on the page - and when it comes to writing - I'm stuck! You can call me silly, but this lack of language flexibility is a real struggle sometimes!
I wanted to talk about an important matter I can see some of you are having a hard time with - pressure and lack of ideas for new projects or lost will to create at all.  Sounds familiar?
I have to tell you one big secret - we've all been there!
We are all struggling from time to time and it is absolutely normal, and there are so many reasons for this to happen: not enough inspiration, time to rest, usual life and family matters, too many responsibilities or projects we are involved in and finally - the most important for me today - pressure we are putting on ourselves. 
I've seen it so many times, with many beautiful, creative people. I have to admit I'm not free from this mistake myself, but to defend myself I can say in my case creativity is the matter of survival. I'm a full-time artist, teacher and product designer - and that sounds exciting until you have to perform and deliver no matter what the circumstances are. The pressure is real and it's really important you will take a step back from time to time and have a look at yourself from a distance and check if you are still ok with what you are doing, or maybe you are a bit too far?
I'm writing it all to give you some food for your thoughts and hoping it will take some of this weight off your shoulders. Let's talk about the creativity.
First of all - we all love to see people admiring our work. Asking questions, saying nice words and comments. These opinions matter to all of us and it really feels great to get them... but they shouldn't be the ultimate goal! For most of people crafts and arts are way to relax, unwind, creativity can be therapeutic and giving us the inner peace and joy. Don't let others spoil this... hunting for positive comments may be as harmful to your creative gear as much as negative opinions, but as loving comments are sweet and nice - we may not see them as a danger. 
Do you know what I mean? If you had this inner voice saying: "I have to make a beautiful, amazing project" or "I can't make something like this, it's not my style" or "People won't like it, so what's the point of doing it anyway" - you should be careful. Don't let this voice overtake your creative life.
I've heard from some people in the past, I shouldn't do this or that as it is not "me". In the first moment I was surprised (well - it has to be "me" as I made it with my own hands) but then I understood people love to put everything in the right slots and shelves. It makes them feel safe and in control. But is this control so good for you all the time? Is there space for fun, experiments, playing and enjoying new things? Learning? Developing new skills? If we let people categorize us, or we will do it to ourselves, it helps, for a short while. Then we may start to feel caged and simply unhappy.
Hunting for popularity is not surprising, we are all happy to see people enjoy our art. It is so rewarding. But there is the other side of this story too - the delicate balance between creating for "public" and for ourselves. It is so important not to forget about this second aspect - this is where the development, sublimation and real creative magic happen!
I love to watch people create. I love to see the emotions behind the process, the need,  the joy and the release that happens when the project is finally done. Not all that we create has to be beautiful, important, aesthetically pleasing - as long as it is meaningful for us, if it helps us process our emotions, develop new skills, seek for our voice or simply - play, it is good for us. And there should be room for this raw creativity in our life as well. Remember you don't have to share every project that you finish with others. You don't have to always be in the your best shape - there are good days and bad days and everybody will understand this for sure... so you also should!
Being creative should be relaxing, happy moment of your day - too much pressure on your shoulders may spoil this moment completely. If you feel stuck and uninspired the reason may be very simple - you may be tired, emotionally and mentally exhausted, dehydrated, hungry or in a bad mood. It is as simple as that - don't forget about your primary needs so you can feel the creative energy in your body! Rest. Work in the reasonable time frame. Do what makes you happy during your relaxing time and it will be so much easier to come with new ideas... and don't be afraid of the crazy ones, go where your heart and soul wants to take you. Don't be hard on yourself - we are always our worst critics!
I was intentionally using these journal pages in this post. They are an example of the projects I made in the last days - just for myself, for my own pleasure - just to relax.
There are no tutorials following them, no challenges, no plans.
They are very plain and simple - but I wanted them this way. They were my therapy, stretching for my fingers and brain, my happy creative moments. 2 of them I made during my trip to Santorini, where my supplies were really limited - and other ones I've made at home, just relaxing, late in the night. You can't even suspect how much I enjoyed this process. No expectations, no rush, just me, paper, old photos and short stories that wanted to be told. I wanted to capture the emotions I was feeling in the last days, memories from the vacation as well - they are represented by pressed flowers and leaves I collected during our stay in Oia. They are lyrical, delicate and nostalgic. They are my visual diary of emotions and they are important for me because as after a long time I could feel almost the same as in the old times when I was just starting my creative adventure. 
Should I share them with you? I think - yes. I hope I'm able to convince you that authenticity is as important in the creative process as the visual effect. Or maybe - even more?

I know this post is awfully long, but please let me know what you think.
I really hope could help... and if you'd like to ask some questions - I'm here (or on my Instagram account, where I can see your questions even faster.)
Sending you all warm hugs - happy creating!

29 comments:

Marci said...

A lovely,encouraging post.

Priya Satish said...

Thank you Anna... A very much needed inspiration for me. I'm generally a positive person but now I feel i'm totally lost. Now that I have read your post , I feel I need to step back a little, take a break and start afresh. You are such an inspiration to everyone and I am an avid follower of your works. Thank you for sharing this post. Hugs.

Cathy W said...

What a wonderful, heartfelt post. You have expressed yourself very well in English. I know exactly what you are saying, I often put a lot of pressure on myself to “do it the right way” instead of just enjoying the process of learning and playing. Thank you Anna for being so open and personal with us, I think “we” your adoring followers forget that you too must have days when your creativity is hard to find and that must put pressure on you when this is how you make your living. I love your journal pages...so raw and uncomplicated. If they have taken you back to a place of calm and serenity but ready to break out again with more creative expressions then that is wonderful, and we will all benefit from that. Thank you for sharing your creative life with us. ❤️­čĺÉ

Pascale B. said...

Thank you Anna for sharing these simple thoughts with us. I truly think it will help people to know that they are not alone. I know that it helps me at least.

Suman Pandit said...

beautifully written Anna...yes....there are two words in this post which will stay with me forever...sublimation and authenticity....I agree totally ....hugs

Jenn White said...

*☆♡☆*Under Pressure*☆♡☆* Singing the song lol. I understand. Creating art, my greatest happiness & joy becomes not enjoyable or theraputic or fun anymore when I am pushed or pressured or worrying about trying to please others & not myself or attempting perfection through my eyes & I just can't seem to get the vision in my brain to turn out the same on the surface. My husband told me once that my best artwork is when I am making something for myself that I love & when I have creative freedom to put my own style & spin on a project instead of trying to make an exact copy of someone else's design. I do not want mine to look like everyone else's, I just want to be inspired by others. He says "DO YOU!" "It's okay if not everbody likes it. Everone is different. What is important is that you love it." Stressful deadlines, forced creativity, trying to make something as good or better than your last great art piece feels like an emotional rollercoaster. You are so gifted & I do not know how you do all that you do & do it all so well & speaking & writing in languages not your own too. I would be having nervous breakdowns, anxiety attacks & screaming crying & cussing so frustrated.lol Thanks for being so brave & inspiring. I love your videos. They help build my confidence in trying new things. I have loved & admired your art even before Prima, before your products, before your fame & before your english. It has been exciting watching you become so successful doing what you love. HUGS♡

finnabair said...

Thank you! I’m so glad I could be helpful!

finnabair said...

I’m so glad I was able to help. Please don’t push yourself, it’s better to take a break and find this excitement, fun again or simply play without thinking...

finnabair said...

Thank you for your beautiful and kind words. So encouraging!

finnabair said...

I’m so glad I could help, much love my friend!

finnabair said...

Thank you!

finnabair said...

I thank you so much for this comment. It means so much to me. Please do listen to your husband as he speaks the words of wisdom- in fact he is saying exactly the same things as my Andrew. It’s a blessing to have such support on your side, tell him that from me, ok?
I may seem brave but I have my breakdowns, anxiety attacks and screaming and crying on regular basis. We are all on the same page, dear! :)

Wilma said...

Beautiful written. Now I understand myself a little bit better when it comes to creating. Thank you for sharing!!

sharon ziv - noomish said...

Anna! Realy loved to read your thoughts. Next month in my blog the theme is (sorry for the spoiler but I must) be authentic. And I spent a lot time thinking of this matter (different aspects but still). Any way... I really relate to your words and how we should always remember ourselves in the process and to just enjoy. Thank you

Megs said...

Thank you for sharing this.. I’d like to develop my own style in making mixed media arts... I know that my style probably is not everybody’s cup of tea... sometimes it made me think very hard when I want to be creative. To relax and enjoy is sth that I need to remind myself with. Creating mixed media arts suppose to be very enjoyable :3 Lately I’ve been enjoying making a journal entry since the size is much smaller so I can finish creating the project in one day. Creating a mixed media canvas took me quite some time since the space is also much larger.. thus I love so much your FB live, most of them are small projects, which I can try during my free time.

Erica Evans said...

I was drawn to this post. Such wonderful words, as a craft demonstrator it is easy to get caught up in simply pleasing an audience, it has reminded me to make art for myself not just for others, thank you x

dizzydeb said...

Thank you so much for your wonderful words. I can see how much of yourself you have put into this. I feel that you can see into my soul and your words have put a lot of things into perspective for me. I realise now it is okay to just play with no expectations. Thank you so much for your words of wisdom

Sarah (Debbie) said...

Anna you were right about it all

We see so many going onto design teams and sharing new projects every day with loads of likes you forget about the newbies and others who have been through life changes.

May we all encourage those who try. It does not matter if it’s not perfect it’s the creative process. We all had to learn and we all made mistakes. I cannot count how many times I undid knitting to take a mistake out

Your words are from the heart and I so hope many see your words

Thank you for caring so much xxxx

Lynne Joncas said...

First of all, Anna, your English is wonderful! I do understand what you mean about finding it challenging to express what is in your head though; for many of us the words sound better in our minds, even when English IS our first language. It's encouraging to know that even a full-time, extremely successful and gifted artist like you hits a creative wall now and then, and is able to get past it and move on. I agree it's so important to have fun creating and not become too goal-oriented in every project we undertake. Thank you for being so open and honest....hugs!

Ariana said...

Beautifully written Anna! Many of US in the USA have not learned another language, let alone speak fluently and write in other languages with so many dialects and nuances! I love listening to your videos! Your article is SO needed for me and so many others! We see all the beautiful end products and none of the mistakes or experiments! I am thankful to see a fb friend"s WHOLE process that is not always perfect and they show experiments too! They are a wonderful, true artist, but I believe true artists take risks and let people see that all their work is not "show" quality, partly because mistakes and experimenting help you learn and also as, you stated so eloquently we need to make work for ourselves, work that is truly just ours, work that is just fun for the process and work that helps us relax, enjoy, feel and process our thoughts and emotions. I SO thank you for your post! It is so encouraging, honest, and down to earth. It is why I follow you and your work. You and your personality inspire me to be free to PLAY, create for pleasure and process and sometimes to share but rarely! Creative process is meant to be life giving, joy giving! I love it for being in a state where I am so focused and energized that time is lost and I don't even get hungry. Mostly, that is writing for me, but it certainly is what creative process of many kids do is for people! Thank you so much for your encouragement and insights! They are set on!! And you say them so kindly, encouragement is a gift to all of us! So happy you spent time on Santori for holiday! I haven't been there but have been to other Greek islands! What a place for renewal! I wish you some ways to take a break just for you more often, even, if it is short! Take care of you, then you can continue to help us renew ourselves! With much gratitude to you and for you and the work you do!❤

Blaukitchen said...

Thank you for this post. I totally agree with all you say. I love to create for myself just enjoying my time and I have learned not to publish everything I create. Some people don’t understand there is no tutorial for everything I make. I love to create without video camera or taking photos all the time, I love to be alone, enjoying the night and having a good time for me as a way to express how I am feeling. My English is not very good, I hope this comment reflects what I want to express. Thank you again.

chantal desnoyers said...

At the end of it, we are all humans. We have good and bad days, and it's fun to be able to create whatever emotions we are feeling at that moment. Thank you very much for sharing your journey with us.xoxo

Toni said...

Anna, thank you thank you, your post came at the perfect time. It was wonderful to hear you encourage and remind us creatives to create from our heart what makes us happy. Sometimes we do forget this. I recently was asked to guest design for a wonderful team and I have been stressing over what to create. There are so many amazing creative people out there and when someone says that they think you are good enough to guest design for them you feel like you have to meet up to their expectations.... Your post was liberating for me to just sit back grab a cup of tea, put on some good music and "do me". I so respect your honesty and appreciate you letting us all into your creative journey. Can't tell you how much of an inspiration you have been to me in the past several years. Much love

mishala said...

Great post! Thank you so much for sharing your 'big secret' and showing us that we all suffer from the same struggles with creating or lack of creating. That little voice that lives inside of us can take over and cause us to overthink, over critique, and more times than not, walk away from our passions. I am there now, but I think... just maybe I'll ignore that that little voice this weekend and remind myself how good it feels to dip my fingers in the paint. Thank you!

LucianaW said...

Anna, thank you for your words and share your feelings.
I'm going through this right now, but because of financial problems, I can not stop.
The mental scam I think is the worst, but I'm trying to pull the brake and go slow.
Thank you for always inspiring!

Jools Robertson said...

Wise words, thank you x

Theresa Zanassi said...

Thank you Anna. This is very helpful for me to remember. I work full time in a very analytical job, and when I get home in the evening, I am too tired to try to create, so my creative time is limited to weekends as I only have 3 hours a day at home during the week. I try to take at least a few hours a day for myself on each weekend day, to either create, or spend time thinking about creating, even if all I'm doing is spending time with my art supplies without actually creating. Even that seems to rest my mind and soul. Thank you for the reminder to not put pressure on myself. I'll have more time and create when I'm not working so much.

anat weksler said...

Anna dear, once again you touched very much and very deep! It feels comforting to see that even Finnabair has this moments! As you said I’m my worse critic in every aspect... thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and feelings. I loved the long text!:) Hugs and kisses

Sue Lelli said...

Anna, YOU are so inspiring both with your art and with your words. It was refreshing to read such honest thoughts that we can all relate to. I LOVED your simple journal pages with those FAB photos and what better place to create than Oia! One of my favorite places in the world! Thanks for ALL that you do to inspire us every day! HUGS!

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