Hi guys and thanks for coming back for more!
Hopefully my writing style is getting a bit better each week, practise makes perfect, right? This was one of the things I wanted to nail this year: knocking a decent blog post out each week. I just find writing so bloody hard! I have done a lot of reading (the irony!) on how to ‘tell stories’ when writing for your business and tried to apply this to my social media posts too & try be more creative when writing reeeeeeallly boring product descriptions. I think I’ll keep chipping away until it becomes more natural! Plus now I've planned out certain business related topics that I am going to concentrate on each week, it’s made it easier to sit down at the comp and bash out some words!
So this weeks blog:
All About Creativity!
What is this elusive thing and why do people struggle getting it? The phenomenon (try saying that quick) that forms something new and sparks ideas & the thought process.
I work on my own from the kitchen table and have no team to bounce ideas off, so I stay in the loop of up-to-date stuff by doing a lot of reading. But not just books, I love any type of magazine too from interiors to mindfulness to fashion mags. Red, Psychologies, The Sunday Times Style, Stylist, the free Metro newspaper, Grazia, Living etc, anything with punchy articles and lovely photography. Anyone can publish anything on the internet, and some stuff maybe old too, so I justify my mag spends as current. Also nowt better than sitting in on a night with a pile to get though and rip ideas out of!
I also like to shop Amazon for books (maybe a bit too much) but there is just such a good wealth of expertise out there that are writing books specially aimed at small business owners. My most recent purchase was Hype Yourself: A no-nonsense DIY toolkit for small businesses by Lucy Werner. You see, small biz owners don’t necessarily have the budgets to hire PR companies, social media experts, photographers, copy writers, etc, so have to go about learning how to do these things themselves. I also feel this helps boost my creativity because I am a serial learner and want to know more. I didn’t necessarily like education at secondary school level, and bloody HATED it at a-level, however I stuck out the whole traditional education route and went onto study Equine Sports Science to degree level which I really enjoyed: it was a subject I was passionate about & it was mixed with a lot of practicals too: dissections, horse riding, yard duties, so it kept subjects varied & me focussed.
I feel that is the key to me staying creative: having a varied plan of action on day to day basis. I won’t spend all day writing this blog, I know I only have an hour to slot it in, so I get it written and off I then go to do a bit of designing after. I may even change where I sit to do my designing.
And as this week formy IGTV series: Casual Small Biz Fridays, I have interviewed Natalie from Sugar & Layer, I thought I’d throw the question of ‘how do you stay creative?’ to some fellow small business owners here too….
Charlotte who owns Raffia, a small but ‘perfectly formed’ store selling quirky, design-led and occasionally offensive wares, spends a lot of time scouring the internet: “Instagram & Pinterest in particular for inspo. Every time I’m in a new town I will research Indie shops & go visit. I also try to visit modern art museums if I find myself somewhere there is one. Trade shows help me see what trends are coming through and this all feeds my creativity.” You can follow Charlotte on her Instagram here, where she regularly updates her stories on what is in her shop on Clitheroe high street and sometimes from the pub too?! :)
Heather from interior shop Smug Fox in Clitheroe has set herself New Years goals & resolutions to keep her creativity on track: “Get out in the countryside at any opportunity & take in your surroundings. Visit new places each week, be that a shop, a land mark, a city or pub. Interact with other creatives & be willing to try new styles if you feel inspired!” Heather shop is a treasure trove mix of danish home accessories, French and English antiques & gifts and you can find her website here and follow her on instagram too for any up to date new stuff she gets in.
Lucie Cooke is an illustrator who works from home in the beautiful Ribble Valley, and finds it’s her environment that needs to be bob on to keep her at the top of her creative game: “I need a space that allows me to focus and be productive and feel inspired. I find mess, as well as not being in a specific work-space, can be too distracting. Also fresh air, just a walk to the post box when I’m feeling stuck helps.” Lucie is currently decorating her office, you can follow her on insta here to see her creative progress and maybe get inspired yourself!
Emma-Louise Maddocks runs the online business Heres To Us, which was born through a passion for wedding and events. And with running an online business also comes the long hours of sat in front of a computer screen:”I often go though periods of ‘uncertainness’ that can last for weeks or months, I stare at the computer screen trying to design something new but nothing comes out of me. The only way I can get out of it is to spend some time away from the business - a few days off, a holiday, or just some time spent elsewhere. Usually after a few days off I’m raring to go and have found inspiration somewhere along the way, and the ideas flow a lot more easily!” You can check out Emma’s lovely website here.
Sarah Birchall from kids wear range Cub & Pudding, thinks mixing it up os the key to feeling creative: “Changing up your environment & allowing yourself to to go to that exhibition that you think you don’t have time for. Being solo, I find that also meeting up with other business owner pals just to offload and bounce ideas between helps too.” You can check out Sarah’s lovely range on her website here.
Rebecca from Word Play Design credits the correlation of being busy with being creative too: “Having orders on the go boosts confidence and then makes me feel that any new ideas will have legs. I think creatives generally need to have reassurance, particularly if they make a living out of it. There’s also something about not having the time to work on a new idea that makes it even the more delicious.”
"You definitely can't force creativity and if it's not happening for me I put 'create something' to the bottom of my to do list and do something completely different” says Louise from Every September "I try to cut down on what I consume from elsewhere online and focus on taking action myself, whether that's writing a blog post or doing something completely non business related. Either way, it keeps me moving forward.”
There is a recurring theme amongst small business owners to get out and about and leave the space they are in. Claire from Claire Hill Designs says "I have to make sure I get outside or look at something else other than my business - the best creativity comes to me when I am doing something else and then I have to quickly note it down or try and remember it” I can definitely relate to this with an overflowing notes section on my phone, and various pads and sketch books brimming with doodles and illiterate ideas!
Gilly from brand Eka says she needs to take time to plan and set her priorities out before she can feel inspired: "it’s like I don't even let myself do anything more than just 'make a note' of any ideas I have until I feel I've got everything else under control, otherwise I'll ignore the harder jobs because I'm all excited with my new ideas!! haha!!” Gilly is also juggling running a business with raising a young family so sometimes feels the mum-guilt "When I need to 'feel creative' I'll step out of the studio, ponder stuff on a dog walk, go for a coffee and read a magazine (sidenote- this never happens though, I'm a mum, I feel too guilty to read magazines, eugh!) I really think it's all about your personality type, I'm a creative that gets overwhelmed by planning out the practical steps to making things work properly so I need to think about finding those less exciting jobs creative too perhaps…” - good point, although bookkeeping will always be put off until the last minute for me!
Maybe you can take some inspiration from this blog to spark your own creativity?
Let me know what you think in the comments below or over on my Squiffy insta here!