“DESIGN IS SUBJECTIVE. WE KNOW THAT MUCH. WHAT ONE PERSON THINKS IS A GOOD DESIGN, ANOTHER WILL THINK ITS UGLY OR USELESS”
This is a statement I wrote back in December 2018. It’s taken me awhile to get going on this blog post.
- Because I’ve been busy with client commissions and
- Because I’m a procrastinator and have dealt with serious creative confidence issues over the last few months.
Is it a good statement? possibly. But the issue here is the fact that it’s taken me almost 5 months to get back to writing this blog post. Why? I hear you ask… Well, dear friends, like I said above, I’m a procrastinator. I have so many “projects” on the go, that my head is spinning! I start a project, and quickly lose interest, unless it’s something I have to do, like commission work where it pays my bills, or watching Game of Thrones (Can that be classed as a project even?!) or the blanket I’m knitting for my soon to be born niece.
In many ways, creative confidence and procrastination go hand in hand. If you’re confident in your creativity, then procrastination shouldn’t get in the way as much. That’s my opinion anyway and confidence in my creativity is something I’ve been secretly struggling with over the last couple of months. It got to a point where I was not enjoying what I did (that lasted all of half a day!) So I did something about it, and continue to do so every day. So here I present to you a list of the “things” I did to push past this confidence block and keep building myself up.
- I decided to take a really good look at what my style was, my brand, my ethos. I closed down my main Instagram page and decided to start up a new one, so that it was fresh, and clean and very very focused. I didn’t like that. I felt constricted, so I went back to my original Instagram page where you will find the odd photo of my children, some random quotes about design and Insta stories about what I’m cooking for tea. I’m not just a designer. I’m also a mum of three and a wife. I work from home, as does my husband, and to hide that side of me would be like only showing half a tv program. Pointless. and you wouldn’t get the full picture.
- Stopped comparing myself to other creatives. This can be really tough, when there is so much competition in the world to be the best at what you do. Especially in the creative industries. Social media doesn’t help either. But what the hell do you do when social media is part of your job? There isn’t much you can do to be honest, apart from take a break, limit when you access social media or, do what I do. Re-frame that negative thought and send out positive vibes. Comparison is the thief of joy!
- Took a break. No one can keep going without taking a break. It’s a simple fact of life so over the Easter Break, we took a trip down to Weymouth to see friends and explore the area. We stayed at the Little Sea Haven which was perfect because there were so many activities for the children to do. We also went to Durdle Door which was amazing in itself! If you’ve never been, it should definitely be on your to do list.
- Bought a book. Written by brothers Tom and David Kelley – Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All I’ve followed David Kelley since I watched one of his TED Talks many many moons ago. He is the founder of IDEO and in my opinion, is one of the greatest designers and thinkers of today. Granted I haven’t ready the book yet (its downloaded onto my kindle, ready for prosecco hour tonight ;-)) But I have read around the associated website, and what he and Tom say is so absolutely true “Creative confidence is like a muscle—it can be strengthened and nurtured through effort and experience” – Which leads us on to the next point.
- Made more time for practice. Its true that practice makes perfect. Or as near perfect as you can get, because no one and nothing is perfect. And that’s something we all need to remember when learning something new or practising existing talents. Mistakes do not equal failure. Mistakes prove that you are trying, and practising your craft. I have countless sketch books full of drawings, ideas, notes and more. They are all part of my creative process. the practice, the “Ideation” stage if you will. I’ve learnt so much from them, and will keep them as reference to look back on. When life gets busy, it can be so easy to forget about that little bit of time you need to just practice your craft. especially in design. We are working to so many briefs, and most of them are other peoples briefs. We are meeting their needs, their ideas, their creative input is in there. But what every designer should do is spend time on their own creative briefs. Even if it’s just putting down some doodles to turn into a sticker pack, or writing a blog post. Do it! and thank me later!
With all these steps taken, my creative confidence has improved, a lot. But it’s something that I will continually work on no matter what. I’d love to know how you get through a creative confidence block. Let me know in the comments!