Do You Create Just for Yourself?

unnamedHow often do you create just for yourself? I know I don’t do it often enough. Usually when I have time to sit and create, I think about who I am creating for. It could be for a specific person like a card, or for a group of people like something free to give away on my blog.

Rarely do I sit down and think, “I’m going to write out that weird short story I’ve been thinking about, just to see how it turns out.” When I write it’s usually FOR something. To sell a novel, or a workbook for creatives, or anything else that’s specifically for someone else.

If we’re always sitting down with a plan in mind, we’re not leaving ourselves open to explore new ideas and curiosities. Maybe that weird short story I want to explore will turn into something bigger…something I can publish. But for now, wouldn’t it be fun to just write it without a plan in mind? (Yes, Rebel, yes it would.)

A simple way to remind yourself to create for just you is to schedule it in. I have a daily planner that I use for little tasks. I spend a lot of time sitting at my computer working and writing. If I don’t write down the ideas that pop into my head as they come, they’ll be gone. Writing in something like, “work on my short story” is trigger enough to get me to sit, even for five minutes, and write just for myself.

The photo above is something I made a few years ago. I suddenly got into drawing cirlces on a canvas, then coloring them in with Sharpies.  I spent night after night working on these canvases just for me. Then, because I’m me, I started thinking of ways to give them away. I ended up making a dozen black and white ones for kids in the cancer ward at our local hospital. I thought they could color them while having chemo. I contacted the hospital and brought them in.

I’m really glad I did that, but after I was done, I’d lost my mojo for creating them for myself. This is the only one I made for me that I kept, and whenever I look at it hanging in our bathroom, it reminds me of being in my own little world for those few days, listening to music, drawing, and coloring.

Do you create just for yourself? If not, why not start?

Why I Need to Stop Meeting New People

Image result for diveI’ve always done what I call the Drop and Dive. I drop a project I’m working on to dive into something new and shiny. And I finally figured out one of my triggers for doing that.

It’s not that I’m lazy and just don’t want to finish, or that my new idea is the best thing ever. It’s how my new ideas come about. 

I love making new friends and meeting people. And, frankly, I’m good at it. I’m interested in what people do for a living, if they’re happy, and what more they want out of life and why they’re not going for it. I like to hear about their kids, and where they live, and see what we have in common.

I’ve met some of my favorite people at random places. My friend Elisa and I met at the beach about eight years ago while waiting for other friends to show up for a picnic. My son and I were playing in the sand when I noticed her and her two little boys. We made our way over to them and talked and played. As they left, I ran after her and gave her my number to get together. I’m so grateful she called.

A few years ago I met a girl at the mall play area where our kids were playing. We hit it off and became Facebook friends right there. We don’t hang out, but we follow each other on Facebook, and I stop in to see her at work once in a while. She is a sweetheart and I’m so glad to have her in my life.

Last Fall the kids and I were hanging out at a park when I noticed a mom with kids, one of them older. Whenever I see older kids on a school day who aren’t in school, I usually ask if they’re homeschooled. I love meeting other homeschoolers and my boys are always looking to make new friends. She is a homeschooler and we also became Facebook friends that day.

These are the good stories. The ones where we met and struck up conversations because of our kids. I love these moms and I’m so happy to have met them.

The people I have to slow down on meeting are the Creatives. My people. My tribe. 

When I meet someone and we hit it off because we both have (or want) creative businesses, I know I’m in trouble. Not only do I want to ask them a million questions about their life, but I usually want to create something WITH them. A book, a course, a podcast, a group…anything that will combine our creative minds.

This is my crack.

Brainstorming with someone just as hyper and excited as I am, and coming up with ideas on how we can work to serve others together.

And when I do this, I drop whatever project I’d been working on.

Half-way through writing a book? It’ll still be there after I do this new, shiny thing with my new BFF. Spent hours and hours building a website to launch? It can wait a few more weeks while I create a YouTube channel with someone I just met.

This doesn’t mean I can never connect with my creative soulmates again. It just means I need to slow down, take a step back, and remember I already have a project I’m working on that must be finished before I dive into something new.

Unless I DON’T have a project I’m working on (which is unlikely). Then I can jump right in!