Hey all! Leah here, coming out from the rock I’ve been under the past six months, to start off this update for all of you. Emily will chime in, in a bit, and then we have some news about this year’s retreat to share!
So some of you know this already just from knowing me in real life or following me on Instagram, but I had a baby this year! My son is a sweet little fellow named Aidan. He was born 5 weeks prematurely on January 10th, but he was in good shape for a premie and is now almost 6 months old and 20 lbs! It’s been amazing watching him grow from a small, 6 lb newborn to the long and chunky and lively 6 month old he is now, but it’s also been a tough go and I’ve discovered there are about a million lessons to be learned.
My partner and I split up during my pregnancy, so along with becoming a mom, I’ve also moved into my own apartment and been navigating life after a 6 year relationship, as well as the joys and compromises of co-parenting. It’s been a trip, to say the least.
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned these last 6 months is: When life throws a huge bunch of changes at you, it’s super, super easy to let your creativity fall right to the bottom of the priority list. Especially when caring for a newborn! The baby needs constant care, so even something as simple and necessary as taking a shower gets put off way longer than it should. Much less something “frivolous” like writing or designing or drawing… even reading! I did NOT think of reading as a creative or self-care act until this past year, when having 20 minutes to read now feels like a total luxury. I’ll often choose sleep, or mindless Netflixing, or doing the dishes, over sitting down with a good book.
So what to do when months have gone by and I haven’t written in my journal, haven’t written a blog post, haven’t made a collage, haven’t done any of the creative things I loved to do before Aidan was born? Well, I start off by berating myself… I mean, don’t we all? It’s a knee-jerk reaction, to use these lapses as evidence that we’re failures at life and will never accomplish anything, will never live the creative life we dream of or see on curated Instagram accounts.
But then I get tired of that. And I drum up just a little bit of courage. A little bit of “oh what the heck” spirit. And I open the computer, or turn to a blank page - or more realistically, I schedule some time in the future when I’ll have childcare or I know the baby will be at his Dad’s - and I try again. I put fingers to keys and type, or I jot down a few words. I open the novel. I sketch something.
Or, if I don’t have time for those things, I try to see creativity in the other things I need to do on a daily basis. I dance when cooking, or I see creative joy in setting up my new apartment and unpacking, deciding what will go where. Or I take photos while I’m out walking Aidan in the stroller. Honestly, my Instagram Stories have been my creative outlet lately! Seeing and noticing how things shift in your creative life is also part of having a creative life, I think.
So I guess what I’m saying is - take heart, if you too feel you have been neglecting your creative life. Chances are you have been caring for something else just as important, which has taught you lessons, lessons which you can now take back into your creative practice. Ebb and flow, right? It’s all about that ebb and flow. And you’re doing better than you think.
Alright, over to you Emily!
Ebb and Flow is right! Everything has a season. This too shall pass. Trust the process. It's all progress.
These are all ideas I've been holding on to tightly over the past few eventful months. One of the biggest (and most thrilling/exciting/nerve wracking) changes is that I've stepped into full time self employment this Spring. It's been a long time coming, always holding down another job because of financial reasons, enjoyment or by the end of "side gigging it", because of a desire to keep helping my father and what I didn't realize were very, very cold feet.
But there's been a shift. In my self confidence and awareness of my energy. I only have so much to give and I know I can give higher quality to my clients when I put myself and my business first. So now I'm making it do! Working with some of the coolest, big hearted businesses around helping them brand and grow their businesses and designing logos, websites and marketing that will get them noticed! I'm still photographing weddings with my husband Steve and we have lots of big things planned for the future. I'm in love with my work and am excited to do creative things every day.
There's a whole level of freedom now that I've never experienced before. However, it's also never been more clear to me, the importance, or rather NECESSITY of strong boundaries and clear routine to allow for the magic to happen. But no matter how much I try and "put myself first" it's super easy for my blinders to go up and fall back into work addiction.
Days go by, then weeks and I can find I haven't gone to play with my nieces lately. I can't remember the last time I read something that wasn't glowing on a screen. And my bone's are making some weird noises because I haven't stretched my joints since who knows when and the couch has become my desk.
But because of those boundaries I mentioned before it's happening less and less. For the first time in my life I truly understand that taking moments, slowing down, and putting my own needs at the top of the list is not only a nice thing to do, it's also a game changer for my business. Getting outside, making art for the fun of it and taking time to connect with other creatives needs to be on my to do list just as much as client work, marketing and bookkeeping.
The common theme of this post is to not be so hard on yourself. Do what you can. Where you are. With what you have. Different times of your life call for different priorities. And just think of how you'll feel 3 months from now, if you start adding small, attainable, ENJOYABLE acts of creativity into your daily life. Don't think about it too hard, just let it flow. Then ebb. Then flow ;)
> On to the Creative Soul Weekend details! <
We've been working hard behind the scene putting together a weekend full of rest, fun and creativity! We're really excited to share everything with you. We'll be sharing the news with everyone on Wednesday the 11th but our inner circle of Creative Soul newsletter readers you'll be getting first access.
We'll be sending out an email with all the details you've been waiting for and opening up registration for newsletter readers only on Monday the 9th! That's two whole days to considering things before we go public. If you'd like to be one of the first to get the scoop then you can sign up for our newsletter here. You'll also get further updates from Creative Soul Weekend and musings on creativity from Leah, Emily and others who are living creative and inspiring lives.
Have a creative weekend everyone!
Leah and Emily xo