Creative Holding Pattern
I often feel this big pull between being an explorer & creative on one side & an entrepreneur on the other.
I want to honour the natural rhythms of creativity that ebb & flow like the tides, sometimes bursting forth in huge waves of inspiration that I couldn’t hold back or slow down if I tried. They lead me down interesting tangents & paths where I stumble upon my own private cave of wonders. And sometimes my creativity asks the most difficult thing of all - for me to slow down & be patient, to rest & trust in the power of hibernation getting me ready for the next wave of inspiration & all the energy it will take to birth that. Slowing down is hard but essential, as I recently mentioned in another article.
But as much as I desperately want to honour this creative mad genius & the wild and whirling ride that sometimes accompanies it…I also feel the pull of being an entrepreneur. A CEO, a business woman. Who just happens to depend on her creativity for a living. So I also have this need to be consistent & constantly produce for myself & my clients. And sometimes these two sides seem inescapably at odds.
Much like being ruled by the Mad Hatter & a mathematician the results are that one side always feels somewhat abandoned in favour of the other.
Entrepreneurship has taught me SO much about my creativity. That it isn’t nearly as fragile as I first thought it to be. That, in fact, it can be counted on far more often than I dreamed possible. That, like a muscle, the more I use it & show up & do the work joyfully every day (because there’s nothing else I’d rather be doing) the more my creativity expands. And the more I CAN fulfill the obligations I’ve set for myself.
Yet this year has brought more insight (funny how that always happens) into the edges of my creativity. I found my absolute maximum workload (& then exceeded it…oops). I found that the more I pushed it, the more I forced it, the more I stressed about the bottom line (sometimes important when you have things called bills) the more my creativity felt strained. The more physically ill I became. The more I felt called to slow down & cocoon.
Something my creative self felt was completely natural. It was winter, after all, a season for incubating, dreaming & allowing ideas to simmer. Except my entrepreneurial self has been pacing back & forth across the floorboards of my brain, wringing her hands saying, “What do we dooooo? We must do something? We must collaborate! We must produce! We must capture more leads! Revamp everything! Redecorate! Try something new! Just DOOOO something!” All the while eyeing the credit card bill out of the corner of her eye. It’s a rather interesting paradox to reconcile.
These two halves & I’ve never felt them quite so out of sync as this past winter.
That’s not to say I've done nothing all winter for my business. I’ve had several clients. I’ve blogged consistently. I’ve created new lead magnets, sketched out several new ideas, funnels, new email sequences, new copy and designs for the Homepage. I even started off the year with a new social media schedule & created all the images for the year. I haven’t been slacking per se. But, like I said, much of it felt forced, felt off, felt driven by the entrepreneurial self's frenzied worrying & (aside from my client work) it was mostly done in an effort to shut her up.
I’ve also done my best to honour my creative side, painting more, playing the piano a bit, singing & dancing (when no one is actually watching), meditating daily, writing poetry again, chanting, praying, reading, sleeping, playing with my kids, getting massages, acupuncture & doing yoga. Because all of the things we do to nurture & take care of ourselves will naturally nurture our creativity as well.
But the biggest one? The most difficult one for me? Trust.
Trust that it will all come flooding back again.
That I’ll be swept up in the rush & excitement & romance of creation again. That the words will flow from my fingertips without quite as much contemplation as they do these days.
Do you ever struggle to reconcile your creative and entrepreneurial sides? How do you strike the balance? I’ve love to hear about it in the comments.