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.
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?).
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.
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.