7 Creative Tips I Used to Get Featured on Instagram

Knitting with a big ball of yarn and a playful cat

On Tuesday morning my boyfriend carefully woke me up way before I had to and said “hey, I know it's annoying to wake up so early.. but something's going on with your Insta account, you've gotten a thousand new followers since last night”.

I jumped out of bed and immediately had a hunch what was going on, my entry for the weekends hashtag project might have gotten featured, yippieee! I rushed to my phone, hair standing up straight and drool still on my cheeks. And yes, there it was, me and Luna the cat on the front page of Instagrams own 226 million follower account!

For those of you who might not be familiar with the #WHP, it's a weekly hashtag with a designated theme that Instagram announces every Friday. All the images submitted over the weekend with the hashtag are eligible to get featured on their account the following week.

I rode out the day feeling on top of the world and quite proud that the effort I had put into making that picture had paid off in such a wonderful way. Because, to tell you the truth, and in name of transparency, the image didn't come without some painful moments.

On Sunday my plan for the #whpmadewithlove project was to take a picture with me and my long scarf that I was knitting. My first composition that I took outside didn't work out as I had planned, so I gave it another go inside in our apartment but it still didn't excite me.

I sat down on the couch and had a mini breakdown, buried my face in the pillows and made pathetic whimpers of frustration, feeling sick of myself and my apparent sucky creativity.

But, thankfully my boyfriend encouraged me to give it one more go, and so I gathered up all the patience I could and tried out one more angle I had on the same concept. I ended up posting one of the last one shots of the day, where everything finally came together in a satisfying way.

So, while it probably won't come as a surprise, perseverance really is your best friend in any creative endeavor. But, I also have a few concrete strategies that I've used to improve my photos. So here's a little list of creative tips that I've gathered from years of studying choreography, dramaturgy, composition and visual storytelling.

Ballet shoes and a chunky cardigan

1. Pick a concrete starting point

It's easy to get seduced by the idea for your image or creative outcome. You can spend hours on Pinterest daydreaming about the gorgeous images you will take, only to get disappointed when they don't turn out as you had imagined.

Instead, try picking an actual material starting point that allows you to start building up your idea around something concrete. Choose an object, a place, a texture, a material, anything physical that fascinates you and build up your concept around it. It's ok to have an abstract idea, but you need to find the right medium to work and realize it with. By choosing one thing as your starting point your creativity will get limitations and a situation to solve, which provides a much better basis than having to start out from zero.

2. Re-use a concept that works

If you find a concept that works, it's totally fine to re-use it! Chances are you will be able to take the same idea further the next time you do it and refine it in the process. Usually it doesn't turn out exactly as we hope the first time anyways, so why not give it another go? Use the stuff that works as a starting point and then change one parameter, change the angle, the dress, the colors, the location, the mood. That way you won't be repeating yourself in a negative kind of way but building up your knowledge and unique style.

3. Work with what you have

Try to look around you and see the potential in things that are already there. This can be everything from seeing the potential as a prop in your old ballet shoes, or noticing that wonderful texture of a brick wall just around the corner from where you live that you could use as a backdrop for a portrait. Notice shapes, light, shadows, colors, objects and things that catch your eyes. You don't need fancy things to create an interesting composition, but you do need to focus on the details and ask how to make the most out of what you've got. It's not about what resources you have, but how resourceful you can get.

4. Learn to let go

Not every idea or everything you make will be great and that's part of the process. Learn to let go of your darling ideas, sometimes you just need to move on instead of trying to force it. You can become so attached to the idea that it's difficult to separate that from the actual outcome. It's good to be persistent and stubborn, but sometimes you just have to move on the the next thing instead of pushing it.

5. Reframe it

Sometimes changing the angle can be the deal breaker. Move the camera around and really try to listen to what this particular picture and idea is asking for.

6. Give reality a twist

Twisting reality by adding an element that doesn't belong in there can give a composition that edge and out of the ordinary effect that will make someone stop and look twice at your image. For the #whpmadewithlove image I added the huge ball of yarn to create a sort of distortion of reality. Play around with the proportions and authentic size of things. Stack things, organize them in rows, put something really close to the camera, the possibilities are endless.

7. The details matter

Every little thing matters, it's after all the details that make up the bigger picture. Look at an image the same way you would when if you would write a story or compose a song or a dance, every word, every note, every movement counts, there is nothing superfluous. The same goes for images, be very attentive to the details and don't underestimate the power of the little things.

But most of all, keep creating content that excites you and brings you joy. Forget the rules. Abandon the plan, and listen to the things that make your heart beat faster ♡

Living Abroad Can Do Miracles for Your Hair, and Bread Making Skills

Ribbons in our hairs

My family traveled a lot when I was younger. I was born in Finland and before the age of 1 year old I had visited Sweden, France, England, Scotland, Switzerland, Italy, Denmark and Spain.

Maybe that's why I've chosen to go and live abroad later in life, some kind of deep grain of wanderlust that's been planted in my before I could even walk. I've since lived in Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam and now currently in Stockholm.

It's quite funny since in my hometown of Helsinki, I've pretty much always lived on the same block. So, the times I've moved it's either been really far away across the borders, or just literally to the house next door.

The experience of living in another country as opposed to just visiting a place for holiday is a very different thing. Pretty early on I realized that the illusions of exciting adventures that would take place in foreign countries are to a large extent just that, illusions. It's amazing how quickly the everyday life becomes very ordinary and filled with routines in any place you live.

While the experience of getting out of your comfort zone is one that has tremendous possibility for growth it has its challenges too. Here are a few other things I've learned in my years of being a stranger in the various hometowns of my life.

Breakfast with a cup of tea and a croissant

Bread is a bigger part of life than you think

Of course I start with food, because even though it's maybe not the subject for huge existential crises, it's one of those things that you have to face, with your mouth and body, every day. So, when suddenly your trusted snack companions aren't there to provide you with comfort it's a pretty big deal. Sweden is horrible at bread, at least according to me. France yes, Berlin no, Amsterdam ok. This is why I'm seriously contemplating starting to bake my own bread, just because, then when it tastes bad I've at least made it myself.

Anybody there...?

No matter how much you and your friends agree to write, chat and skype you will inevitably lose touch with some. This is just how it is, when you are not there, you aren't on peoples radar as much. But I've also found that the friends that are truly dear to me never forget. Even though we don't interact on a daily basis, the friendship foundation remains strong.

New thinking patterns

In a new city you will have a chance to establish completely new patterns and habits. Both the actual physical paths you take in the new city, but also the thinking patterns in your mind. I've found that in a new city my thoughts and desires can look completely different from the ones I have back home.

In my hometown I tend to walk the same streets that are filled up with memories and stories from the past. There is the park bench where a relationship ended, the café where a friend shared a deep secret, the bridge where I stood alone and listened to the snow fall. It's a lovely feeling to be connected to a place with so much personal history, but it's also pretty cool to come to a fresh place where every spot is filled up with the possibilities of the present and future rather than memories of the past.

A new form of loneliness

I moved to Berlin to study dance when I was 19 years old, my first time living alone. The days at school were long and I and even though I was surrounded by my new classmates, I would come home late in the evening to an empty apartment, which was a new concept to me. The feeling of being alone in a city without any of your trusted social network and security, was a daunting one.

Being surrounded by new people and having a busy life can still feel lonely and isolating. And when the feeling of homesickness sets in it's the longing for all those loved and dear ones that will bring up the tears. But, I don't want to be too dramatic about this, in the end it's probably good to feel those difficult sensations to grow stronger and learn that you can take care of yourself, even though truthfully, I still call my Mom way too often to help out with stuff I don't know how to handle.

Going to the grocery store is an adventure

Yes food, again. I've always loved to go to the grocery stores in foreign countries. Just seeing all those familiar foods in slightly different wrappers and forms is just such a fascinating visual experience.

Getting lost in your own town

I love to just wander around and find new streets with new shops and cafés and atmospheres. When I lived in Berlin I would often take the train to some remote place on the opposite side of town, with the only intention to explore and hopefully find something interesting to document in my journal.

The “oh bit this is just temporary” feeling

When living in a new place it's easy to fall into thinking that this is just a temporary thing. Every time I've chosen to uproot myself and move to a different country I've never really thought I will go and live there forever. The danger with that attitude is that it might impact the amount of effort you put into making new connections and building a life for yourself in your new home town. When I slip into this kind of thinking all the quotes from the internet reminding me to focus on the present come haunting me and my daydreams. I make a quick note to self to start living with more intention and focus on the present moment. But first, let me just browse a little bit more on Pinterest and look at all those lovely English country homes...

It might do miracles for your hair

Now, I must have tried a million different shampoos, hair conditioners, hair masks and sprays, and none of them have had as a big impact on my hair as just switching the water.  No more expensive hair products, just go and switch the whole water operating system of your town, easy peasy! My hair feels much less frizzy and unruly when I wash it here in Stockholm in comparison to Helsinki. After all those expensive chemicals it turns out the true miracle treatment is just: water.

Flowers and band aids

If you've lived abroad, what kind of revelations have you had? What has surprised you? What were your expectations and how did those turn out?

Try This Instead of Worrying About the Future

Heartbeats Blog By Kika- Fairtytale dreams and flower wreaths in my hair

I don't know if it's the fact that I'm going to turn 30 next year or if it's because I recently graduated from university, but I've never worried about my future as much as this past year. On Wednesday I found a break from all that worrying in a surprising place though, the Gröna Lund amusement park.

I haven't been to one of those in many years, and honestly, I've never been a huge fan of going in all those topsy turvy machines and trains and stuff so my expectations weren't that high.

But the experience of being at Gröna Lund brought back the childlike feeling of being completely filled up with spontaneous joy. It was so liberating to feel the rush of excitement from riding a tiny blue train through a dark tunnel filled with mechanical puppet monsters and ghosts.

Never thought I would find a good reason to quote a Christmas song, especially not in the middle of September, but these lines really came to mind as I was writing this.“And all the lights are shining/ so brightly everywhere/ And the sound of children's / Laughter fills the air”. The children's excitement was genuinely contagious and I soaked up all that good stuff like a sponge.

I went all giggly in the house of funny mirrors, which, actually was kinda lame because the concept is so simple, but even more brilliant exactly because of that! No fire works and cool sound effects, just some bendy mirrors. For those few popcorn munching hours I let go of all the pressure and worries.

On the way home I could feel how that goofy little person was fully alive in my body again, not just as a memory in my head. At the age of 8 I wrote a document where I stated that when I grow up I would have a pool, be a millionaire and have glasses (still working on the first two points but at least I can check the box on the last one). But so yeah, fair to say that I didn't have any limiting beliefs about my abilities, the concept of post education anxieties and career goals were still distant back then.

Growing up as part of generation Y has been confusing because of the constant contradictions. On the one hand we have all these possibilities to become whatever we want with more freedom of choice than ever before, at the same time we live in bleak financial times where lack of money seems to be the excuse for every issue in society. How do you cope with these mixed messages?  i honestly don't know, and I think everyone just tries to solve it on a personal level. Which makes everyone even more focused on themselves and their worries, in these individualistic times where so much focus is put on the success of the individual.

As a child the boundaries of grown up life and the notion of mortality aren't present. Everything is possible when you are young, and going to the amusement park reminded me of that. Worrying is probably an inevitable part of life to some extent, but I'm going to try and balance it out adding a good portion of childish hope back into the mix. This grown-up-worrying-mush ain't really doing it for me in terms of living a good life.

Heartbeats Blog by Kika- Cherishing the inner child, wear your fance shoes outside even when it's raining

6 Things I Secretly Struggle With

Heartbeats Blog by Kika

Have you noticed how pretty much every movie ends exactly the moment when the struggle is finally over? When the main character gets the boy or saves the world from exploding the end credits start rolling in. It is the struggle that we are interested in witnessing, mainly because we can all identify with it. There is something very fascinating in seeing people overcome challenges and transform in the process.

I often experience life as small movies being played out in front of me. I only get the story in bits and pieces and will have to wait until the end to know how the full story unfolded. But for now I thought I'd make a list of some of the big and small things I struggle with at this moment in my own personal movie.

1. Making new friends as an adult

I don't have any clear memories of how I made friends as a child, but I think it happened in a pretty effortless and natural manner. To be honest, the criteria for a new friend probably wasn't very high, basically if you were at the sand box at the same time and both seemed interested in making stuff out of sand you we're new BFFs. Now, as an adult that process is a bit trickier. Most people already have a pretty tight network of friends and aren't necessarily out looking for new ones. I probably wouldn't either if it wasn't for the fact that I left all my closest friends back in my hometown Helsinki when I moved to Stockholm. But, I guess it just takes a bit more time to find your tribe as an adult. If nothing else works maybe I'll just start hanging out at the sand box again.

2. Growing out my fringe

Who knew you could have such a complex relation to straws that poke out from your head? The gruesome process of growing out my fringe continues as I try to tame it with headbands, bobby pins, curling irons, wax, hairspray... and a whole lot of standing on my head in hopes that it will grow out faster that way.

3. Being confused about my career path

Yup, still confused after having had basically 29 years of people asking me what I want to be when I grow up. I mean, I decided long ago to become a dancer and then choreographer, but I just still haven't found out how exactly I'm supposed to make a living in that particular line of work.

4. Baking bread

Don't know if this really qualifies as a legitimate struggle in the sense that I'm not really actively attempting to bake bread. I would just like to bake bread. The only time I attempted it turned out stiff and bitter.

5. Worrying about the future

This is something I engage with on a regular basis. Once or twice a week I devote some time to worrying about all the fears and doubts I have about my future. While the rational side of me knows that this habit isn't helpful at all, it continues to be a thing I struggle with.

6. Hand writing

My hand writing has always looked bad and ugly, and not doing it on a regular basis certainly hasn't helped. Even though I always try to really focus on making pretty lines and getting the letters the same shape and size it all ends up looking higgledy-piggledy (yes, that's the word that popped up when I used Google translate to find another word for messy). When I scribble down something on a piece of paper most people can't read it, which, until I need to be able to start sending secret messages to myself isn't a very helpful skill.

To round off, I'll share a quote form the TV series Skam:

"Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always"

-Nooras wall in Season 2

Heartbeats Blog by KiKa

Have some of the things you struggle with changed over time?

5 Things Being Stubborn Has Helped Me With

Heartbeats blog by KiKa- flowers in my shoes

My parents always told me I was very stubborn as a child. When I had decided not to try the weird squishy culinary experiments of my Dad, even when they had funny names like Dim Sum, he had to fight hard to try to change my mind. I remember that little person back then thinking that being stubborn was probably not such a good thing. But, still I couldn't help finding myself in situations where I just felt I knew better than all the adults around me. Now I'm 29 ,and while I've certainly matured from back then and learned that trying new things is good, I've also come to appreciate my stubborn personality more. I made a list of 5 things that it has actually helped me with.

Ps. i've also since then tried Dim Sum, and just as I suspected, that mushy stuff was not at all my thing. See Dad? I did, and still do often know better than you.

1. Not giving up easily.

When I was 16 I decided I wanted to pursue a career as a dancer, despite not having danced full time since I was a child. I worked my butt off (quite literally) while I was in high school, going to dance classes every evening and weekends to trim my ballet technique and learn as much as possible, tried everything from Hip Hop to Flamenco to belly dancing.

After graduating from high school I got into a dance school in Germany, but soon found that it was not the place for me. After a year I auditioned in London, Germany, Holland, Belgium and Finland, and got rejected from every school. I was heartbroken and felt defeated. But I continued to dance in Berlin, stubbornly determined with every tendu and plié to get into a better school next year. Good things come to those who wait, and well, those who are just stubborn and persistent. Next year I got into a school in Amsterdam which is one the best in Europe. I would never have gotten that far if I wouldn't have been so determined, even when facing doubts from everybody else in the world.

2. Following my gut and creative visions

I have a bad habit of asking people close to me for creative advice and then bluntly ignoring it. The thing is, I need someone to talk with about my creative ideas because explaining things out loud helps me sort out my own thoughts. The problem arises that when the other person (usually my boyfriend or my Mom) engage in my ideas and start trying to give suggestions or advice,  I often don't take them and that can come off as quite unappreciative. That's because I often already have a strong gut feeling for my project, even if it's not yet completely articulated or clear.

Even though it might not seem like a very nice way of using someones efforts it does help the process incredibly much. Getting another persons suggestions to push against means I often end up staying true to my own intuition and creative visions. I will immediately know if a suggestions feels wrong for the thing I am trying to make.

Of course getting other peoples perspectives and thoughts on things can also work in much more direct ways, but it can also sometimes throw you off your path and just confuse you more. So, sometimes being headstrong isn't such a bad thing.

3. Knitwear without holes in them

I will unravel a knitting project a hundred times if I am not happy with the result (okay maybe not a hundred times, but you get the idea) .

4. Proper running technique

I've had all kinds of problems with my feet and knees, which has made running, something I love, a challenging activity. I wanted to improve my running technique and started to run with my toes first touching the ground instead of the heels. It felt super awkward and exhausting in the beginning but I kept at it and now I can run without pain, hurray!

5. Finding love

Yes, I believe that here too my stubborness played a part. Before my current relationship I was single for almost four years. Single, and desperately wanting not to be single. Like many others, I put myself out there a lot in hopes of finding something meaningful, and of course got disappointed many times when shorter or longer flings ended. But, I didn't give up and no matter how many times my dreams of finding "rock your world" love (or at least "make your world inch a bit from side to side" love) came crashing down.

But, I searched for it and in the end I found it.

There is this weird mysticism revolving finding love I think, where many people seem to think that you shouldn't try too hard or say out loud that you want to be in a relationship. Like there is this notion that you should just accept that it happens when it happens, you just have sit and wait around for it. Well, that idea never worked for me, I was stubborn and put myself out there over and over again, no matter how many times that meant sobbing alone in the kitchen after yet another potential love story ended.

Heartbeats blog by Kika- Holding hands and finding love by being stubborn

The Importance of Doing Nothing

I've just been working as a choreographer on an opera production for 6 weeks and returned back home to Stockholm this week. During my one and a half month away most of my other projects have been pretty much on hold and I've been waiting with excitement to get back to them.

Heartbeats Blog by KiKa Tea Kettle

The day after I got back home I sat down to make a to-do-list. On my list I put some knitwear orders I had to start working on, my idea for an upcoming blog post and the planning of another dance production for later in the Autumn. Not long until I noticed that my eyes kept drifting off to the nearby couch and that my brain couldn't really focus on the task at hand.

I promptly told myself that I should get into a productive mode after having been gone for so long and not let my mind wander off.  I've listened to enough of podcasts about successful people to know that you have to “show up every day” if you want to reach your goals so I was determined to not get distracted. After all, the opera premier had been a success and even though it's always mentally stressful to finish a production, I thought surely I should have the energy to get going on some new projects.

I got my laptop out and started working. But, my mind felt sticky and my thoughts were a mess. Our cat eating Nutella from the nearby plate and insisting on using the laptop keypad as a private lane didn't help. Suddenly the thing I had looked forward to doing didn't feel at all as enjoyable as I had imagined, instead it started to feel like a tiresome and quite honestly frustrating chore.

That's when I realized that wait a minute, I've been here before. This scenario when the inner voice in my mind starts using the word “should” and sucks all the creativity out of me. In this state I know I won't make any progress or get any meaningful work done. When my mind fills up of “shoulds” the space for original thinking shrinks substantially.

There was an article a few years back in a Finnish newspaper that talked about the importance of having time to do nothing. The minds unconscious layers need time to process information when you are trying to solve a problem or come up with new innovations. In the same that way you can't force yourself to sleep you can't hurry up the brains deep thought processes. Doing nothing is pretty much the worst thing imaginable for someone as hyperactive as me, but that's exactly why it's so essential.

This in turn leads me to think about the much underestimated value of being bored. My Mother always talks about the importance of experiencing boredom from time to time. She spent all her childhood summers out in the archipelago feeling pretty lonely because there were no families with kids around. That must have sucked at the time but it did make her develop a very vivid imagination, one that she now uses in her profession as a writer. Without all that time spent alone she wouldn't have had to fill up the days with her own stories, and maybe wouldn't have allowed for her to develop her story telling abilities.

In the world we live in today boredom is highly undervalued. With so much entertainment just a click away no one ever has to feel bored, but I think that's a pity. A big inhibitor for doing nothing is probably this pressure or expectation that we should use every minute to try and reach our next goal and work hard at realizing our dreams.

While I applaud hard work and ambition, I don't see the value in keeping busy just because the world shouts at us that that's the way efficiency looks like. Plus, now I have research to back it up. If I need to engage in the noble act of staring at the walls and procrastinate to reach my own creative potential I will do so.

Heartbeats Blog by Kika The Importance of Doing Nothing

When I allow myself to take it a bit easy I usually end up getting a whole bunch of new ideas that just seem to pop up out of nowhere. We are so used to tackle problems from an analytical standpoint and trying to use rationality to develop new ideas that the notion of doing just the opposite feels quite revolutionary. Drinking more tea is what might save us after all.

Flowers Are More Interesting than Chairs

I spend a lot of time on Instagram and, like many others, I too have noticed that flowers is a very popular theme. With such a huge inflation in the topic of flower related imagery you would think it would become boring, but I certainly haven't found that and that makes me wonder: what is it that makes flowers so incredibly enticing and charming collaborators?

Heartbeats blog by KiKa- Flowers are More Interesting thatn Chairs

I came across a wonderful book by Siri Hustvedt a few year ago where she speaks about this power that flower have over us. In her essay she writes:

When there are flowers in a room my eyes are drawn to them. I feel their presence in a way that I do not feel chairs, sofas, coffee tables, curtains. Their fascination for me must be connected to the fact that they are alive, not dead. The attraction is prereflective- it rises up in my body before any articulated thought. Before I can name the flowers (if I can), before I can tell myself that I am attracted to the blooms, their pleasurable sensation has arrived.”

Maybe, like Siri points out, the fact that flowers are living things connects us to the flowers in a deeper and more primitive way than we even realize. The connection is instant and physical rather than contemplated and rational.

Maybe the presence of flowers conjure up something similar to the sensation you get from looking up at the huge night sky. That sense of wonder and humbleness you get from seeing something that seems so infinite is something that feels overwhelming in a good way. I think flowers have the ability to do the same in a different and more direct way.

Heartbeats blog by KiKa- Flowers are More Interesting thatn Chairs

...And I find my encounters with these quickening but senseless plants so absorbing that I do not narrate them. This is odd because I am continually putting words to the living, always forming sentences that accompany me as I greet a person, sit at a dinner party, stroll on the street, but there is no inner voice that follows me in the garden. My head goes silent.”

And maybe that last sentence is where the other part of the magic of flowers lie- we are invited into a state of silence. A state where our constant inner voices and thoughts slow down and quiet for a while.

Heartbeats blog by KiKa- Flowers are More Interesting thatn Chairs

*Quotes from Siri Hustvedts book Living, Thinking, Looking

My Summer of Tireless Pursuit of Love

One Summer I dated 5 different men (not at the same time) and ended up feeling lonelier than ever by the end of Summer.

“So, how do you feel about me” I asked one of the guys after having been going out with him for about a month. “Umm” the guy said looking slightly horrified and palms starting to sweat “ I really like hanging out with you”. Sigh, I thought, where is the passion? Do you think you could fall in love with me or not? I need to know, now please.

Heartbeats Blog by KiKa

And so naturally I decided that a guy with so little gusto for me was not worth it and and told him I thought it was better that we just stop this thing. This scenario pretty much repeated itself in some shape or form with every guy I dated that Summer.

One sunny evening towards the end of Summer I was walking though a park and sat myself down beneath a tree to pity myself for a while and write in my diary. I felt rejected and lonely, and didn't understand why nobody wanted to be with me. The American guy I just had spent the last two weeks with had left. When he hadn't asked me to come visit him by the end of our time together I knew what it meant- it was yet another romantic fairy tale dream crushed by stupid boring realism.

If these guys didn't know how they felt towards me after a few weeks of dating how could that turn into something true and meaningful? I mean, it either is or it isn't, right?

Heartbeats Blog by Kika

But, looking back now it is so obvious to me that a large part of this was completely my own fault!

Because, falling in love also requires patience and commitment, and time. Contrary to the movies it often doesn't happen at first sight and certainly doesn't happen if you pressure someone into loving you.

I had set up expectations as high as the Eiffel tower even before I knew what I felt, and I now realize that none of them probably ever stood a chance (okay, maybe if one of them would have been a pastry maker and bribed me with sweets I could've looked past the lack of passion).

 

 

Creative Generations Under One Roof

Since I was a baby, creativity has been in the air. Both my parents are freelancing artists, who have had careers filled with dedication, hard work and a lot of playfulness.

Heartbeats Blog by KiKa

My Dad is a classical composer and he is always working on something. His mind is constantly at work and with him he always carries a little notebook ready to scribble down music passages and ideas when they suddenly strike.

My Mom is a dramaturge and translator and writes for the theater, radio and TV. She has a huge interest in people and has the largest actual social network of anyone I know (and spends a serious amount of time gossiping on the phone). She is also a diligent reader and proudly keeps up with current events.

Growing up I never experienced any of them them on the usual 9-5 schedule, and to me it seemed their work was a much more fluid and organic part of life. They both make up their own work schedules and at home I could never really tell the difference between “work time” and “free time”.

I have definitely inherited my parent’s genes in regards to creativity. Ever since I was a child I’ve been a bit of a project hoarder. I would love to start collecting things; everything from buttons to crystals to cow themed stuff to bath balls (do you remember when those were a thing?).

Heartbeats Blog by KiKa

I would also have a ton of grand construction projects, like making a life sized playhouse castle out of milk cartons or putting together my own garden with a glass house or building and furnishing a three story high dolls house. And these were ideas I had before the age of 10!

Being in a creative state of flow and building something new, is the one state that I feel the most comfortable in, and one that I naturally gravitate towards. But I don't consider this unique or special in any way, and I have never been occupied by this whole notion of having a “creative lifestyle”. This way of being and living is just what comes natural to me and feels right.

At any given point, I have multiple projects going on simultaneously. This can sometimes lead to frustration because I am significantly better at starting things than finishing them (exception: chocolate). This leads to me feeling distracted and like I am not getting anything done, or make me question if there’s any value in pursuing all these projects when no end results are produced.

But lately I’ve switched my thinking around, and now I’m trying to value the creative process more and not just focus on the end goal. It is usually the process I enjoy more than the outcome anyways, much like eating a piece cake, the process of eating it feels far better than the food guilt that follows. It is also that experience of the process that spark up inspiration for the next project, after trying the chocolate cake you get a bit curious about the cheese cake.

I love the excitement I feel when a new idea or concepts presents itself inside my brain, and I get completely consumed by the pursuit of its promise and realization. Being in the creative state of flow is almost like entering a vacuum where time does not exist, like stepping into another dimension of some sort.

That creative dimension is definitely my homestead and it stays with me wherever I go. In that way I’m a bit like a snail that carries its home on its back, always ready to retract from the world  and live in my own imagination.

That being said though!...

Of course creativity can be a pain in the butt when nothing feels like it’s working. I never got the feeling from my parents that it was easy or that leading a creative life was all about divine inspiration and great moments of truth and meaning. It gets messy, it gets frustrating, and in the end you just have to get over yourself, strap in and work at it hard.

PS
I recently read a great book about living a creative life,  it is by Elizabeth Gilbert (author of Eat, Pray, Love) and is called Big Magic “Creative living beyond fear”. I warmly recommend it if you are interested in encouraging advice given with warmth and humor and deep insights into the process of making something.

I Thought the World Needed Another Blog

Hi, my name is Veronika but you can call me Kika.

I was born in the year of 88', just one year before the Berlin Wall came down.

I recently graduated with a MA in choreography back from my hometown Helsinki, Finland. I'm currently living in the heart of Scandinavia, Stockholm with my two favorite things, my cat and my boyfriend (in that order).

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As the title subtly implies a blog is probably the last thing the internet and the world needs. So, bearing that in mind let me just start by talking about my personal motivations to start one anyways.

I really miss being surrounded by like minded people and feeling like a part of a community like the one I found in Art school, and I wish I could be part of something larger than myself again. Starting a blog is in some way an attempt to reach out my hand into the virtual space, like you do you when you invite someone up to dance.

I have always had a rich imagination and a lot of stuff going on in my head. My inner life has taken me to incredible heights creatively but also gets me into trouble when I start to overanalyze and self-doubt. To write a blog and to post images on Instagram allows for a space of daily creative experimentation, and then sharing it with the world just makes it that much more exciting!

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I actually have no problem spending time alone, but being in a new country away from all of my friends and social circles makes my need for connection even stronger. So I'm now carving out a little space for me to share and develop myself creatively and at the same time communicate concepts and ideas online (my cat is a great cuddly pet, but it does get a bit one-sided when we have artsy conversaations).

I've always been into diaries, and a Blog I guess is just another way of fulfilling that same need of documenting and pondering daily life. Now it just happens in a whole new era of communication where the possibilities of sharing are endless. How lucky are we as a generation where all of this is available at our fingertips?

I think we as humans have an inherent need to want to make sense of things and organize events in linear and easy to understand “cause & effect” relationships. My own perception of life doesn't really work like that. It's messy and complex.

The best metaphor I can come up with to describe this is that my mind is a bit like a squirrel on a mission: focused but easily distracted. This has historically caused me a lot of grief and annoyance, but lately I've attempted to embrace it a bit more and to go with the flow of my perceived existence of fragmentation.

Sharing one post at a time, one image at a time or one thought a time feels like a very suitable format that supports my new way of coping with this scattered life.

I hope you want to indulge this squirrel and jump with me onto the bouncy castle. Thank you for taking the time to read my scribblings and see you soon!

Kika

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