Making Things

I’m a creative fidget. The drafts folder of my blog is a graveyard of half-baked ideas and half-scribbled rants that I thought better of. My dining table is littered with colouring books, a few pages coloured in each. I have a travel journal with four beautiful entries in it. I have a Youtube channel with a few fuzzy, poorly shot videos. I have a scrapbook that tailed off after my first year of university. I have an ever-growing list of happy things that goes for weeks, months without being updated.

creativity

Recently, I’ve been obsessively bingeing on Emma Gannon’s wonderful Ctrl Alt Delete podcast, where she interviews women who have inspired her creatively.

(If you are not also bingeing this podcast, what is even the point in you having internet access?)

In one particularly marvellous episode, she interviews comedian and general creative gal, Stevie Martin and during the episode, Stevie says something genuinely wonderful about creativity. She likens her creative pursuits to when you’re a kid and you’re bored, so you’ll go and make a magazine out of pieces of scrap paper or paint a plate or make a friendship bracelet.

I have this amazing talent for taking something that is really, really fun and making it into hard work. Even now, as I type a blog post about not berating myself, I’m kind of berating myself for only having four entries in my travel journal. If I was a proper travel journaller, I’d have hundreds upon hundreds of entries bursting out of that notebook.

So when I heard Stevie say that about creativity, I genuinely teared up a little. Because it threw all of my little projects into a whole new light. Starting a travel journal doesn’t need to make you a travel journaller. Filming a Youtube video doesn’t need to make you a youtuber. Sometimes, we create just because it’s fun. We create just because we love to make things.

So many people now are lucky enough to make a career from their creativity and that is amazing. But I feel like, for me, that can sometimes push my hobbies into being a chore. Sometimes, it’s easy to get caught up in blog numbers, sponsorship opportunities and the grand, overarching creative genius plan. And that’s absolutely not a bad thing. But isn’t it nice to throw off all of that sometimes and just play? I have a huge family with lots of little kids and one of my favourite things about hanging out with them is that I get to create things without any expectation that they’ll be good or important. We paint pictures. We make up and put on shows. We model things out of plasticine. I’m not good at any of those things but when you’re playing, it doesn’t matter. In fact, there’s something kind of nice about doing something you totally suck at and realising that you’re still having fun.

I think that most creative people have developed the creative itch. It’s what makes me start writing another book in the middle of writing my first. Or what makes me decide to film a YouTube video, even though I have no aspiration to become a YouTuber. Blogging is a great way for me to practice and hone my writing, which I hope to turn into a career some day. But as with all of my creative pursuits, my blog is more and less than that. It’s a space that’s entirely mine, and I don’t owe it to anyone to make it professional or marketable. Because it might be useful play, but it’s still play. Everything that I make, from my blog, to my novels, to my plasticine dinosaurs, to my unfinished, neglected scrapbooks is part of my story: the story that I’m writing for myself, a great big love letter from me to me. Often, creativity is nothing more and nothing less than a way to tell our story. So let’s tell it. Let’s play. Let’s make things.

5 thoughts on “Making Things

  1. Andrew Mirza says:

    I feel like I’m at my most creative when I’m just playing and having fun too. Projects I work on never turn out the way I want them to when I put pressure on myself.

    Nice blog post. :)

  2. Oh, Iove this post and relate to it so so much! The number of projects I’ve started and never finished is endless and you should see the boxes of notebooks in my cupboard upstairs with two or three pages filled before I started a new project for which I needed a new notebook. It’s actually a bit of a relief to hear I’m not the only one! And I just love the end of your piece: why do we focus so much on our projects having an end goal, rather than allowing it to be all about the process, even if the process is never technically finished? Thanks so much for writing this!
    Lx | http://www.lucyeyf.co.uk

    • fionalongmuir says:

      Thank you so much for reading! This is exactly, exactly what I wanted to say, thank you for nailing it so much!

  3. Oh, this is just something I really needed to hear. I make myself incredibly tense by seeing everything I do creatively as something to grow into business. So, I’m too strict with myself, can’t do anything just for the sake of having fun because it’s not good enough to do things for fun. If that makes sense.

    Thanks Fi. x

    • fionalongmuir says:

      It makes PERFECT sense. I do exactly the same. I find myself berating myself for not posting on the blog regularly or scheduling tweets or anything like that and then I remember that this isn’t my job. It’s something that I do for fun and out of love. Thank you so much for reading!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *