I've described myself as being "constantly on creative detour" because everything I do opens up more ideas and I wind up doing something completely different than what I originally intended.
Nine years ago when I was first toying with the idea of quitting my "real world job" and becoming an artist I thought I wanted to be a painter. I bought an easel, paints, canvases and then got busy...sewing. Oops...detour. So maybe painting wasn't my calling. It was sewing! Except that I didn't really have the patience required to sew. What I really loved was 3D design in clay but since I didn't have the space or budget for a ceramic studio I'd become a jewelry artist because it is 3D design on a small scale. So I did. I settled.
I had a jewelry business. I had a business name and it was registered with the state. I paid taxes. I had a business bank account. It was, like, the real thing. I was doing it! Except I hated every minute of it and I wasn't selling very much. Oops. Wrong turn.
Then I had a baby and my creative focus was on baby related things. Baby clothes, blankets and...wooden toys. The wooden toys lead to my Etsy shop woodmouse. My intention was to do it as a hobby and sell a few here and there. Very quickly I couldn't keep up with demand. I was creating stuff that people wanted to buy! And I enjoyed it! Finally I had found what I was looking for and for a long time I was happy. And then I wasn't. Lack of sleep and missing out on family time had caught up with me.
I couldn't keep going. I was already exhausted most of the time since I was pregnant again. It was around this time that my 2 year old said, "Mama gets mad when she works" and he was right. I was burnt out. I also owed it to my toddler who was growing up so fast to be present with him. We needed time for lazy summer walks with no destination instead of our usual, "Hurry up, we have to get to the post office before it closes!" walks with me dragging him by the hand. Oh how many times I told him to hurry when all he wanted to do was pick a dandelion. Looking back now it makes me cry.
So I closed the shop and spent the entire summer focused on my toddler and on the new baby that was growing in my belly. My creative energy was soon focused on the house we bought and when my second son was born I drifted off in babyland for a few months. Then I woke up.
I've spent the last summer and fall reflecting on what I need to feel fulfilled and I've discovered two things. One, I need to create. Two, I need to do it on my terms. I can't afford sleepless nights or making my children hurry. My family has to come first.
So here I am. I am bursting with creativity trying to find ways to get out. I feel scattered and a little lost. I've been dreaming, designing, planning, researching and scheming. I'm not sure when I'll be ready to share my creations with the world again. I'm not even sure if I will reopen woodmouse or if I'll be opening an entirely new shop. Or maybe both. Or neither!
It feels good to be back at the start of a new journey...and I'm sure there will be many creative detours.
And you? Have you found yourself on creative detours?