a minimalist’s struggle with creativity

Creativity.

We all possess it.

Sometimes we repress it.

For minimalists, it can be quite a struggle because many forms of creativity bring about physical clutter. Imagine all the different hobbies in the world, and then imagine the “stuff” they require.Creativity comes in so many forms, I could never list them all. What are your favorite creative outlets?

For me, writing is one creative outlet. Working with fabric is the other.

I tend to cycle viciously between the two…fervently writing for days at a time, and then becoming disgusted with the very act of writing itself — then I immerse myself into the world of fabric, thread and sewing notions. To me, working with my hands frees up my mind. It allows my mind to become blank. It helps my mind become blank and clear so that when I cycle back to writing, everything feels right once again.

This is a new thing I have learned about myself. I once thought I had to choose: writer or maker-of-things. And I also thought since I was a self-proclaimed minimalist, that choosing “writer” was the better choice because I was leaving all the physical clutter behind. But now I realize that being intentional and realizing that I do cycle (often) is just who I am.  I need something to do with my hands when my mind becomes overstimulated. I needed to accept that. I was ashamed of the fact that I couldn’t decide, and that made me very confused and scattered. I was ashamed of liking a “clutter” hobby. Up until now, I wasn’t sure what to do…so now I have made the decision to go with both, because both of them are things that move me in different ways and at different times. I am a cycler. I like fabric. So what. I can still be a minimalist.

The fabric hobby is clutter and it is not clutter, it depends where I’m at in my writing/fabric cycle. Once I gave up the need to decide if it was right for me (or not), the decision made itself. I simply let go of expectations and the pressure lifted like a cloud. Embracing minimalism in all other areas of my life helped me get to this point — helped me get to this place where it is ok that I have two hobbies that I love at different times. I have finally accepted that I like to write, and I like to create….but almost never at the same time.

Minimalism is the reason I was able to get here.

If you’d like, visit my Etsy shop Black Sheep Fabric Art to check things out. My shop is more of a museum of my thoughts, because I don’t promote it. It’s more like my secret collection of guilty fabric pleasure. I don’t expect the shop to do well, because that is not my intention. I have it to have it, if that makes sense. There are only a few items, and I will probably take them down eventually since having the Etsy shop is costing me money instead of making me money. But for now, there it lies.

Maybe this posting has inspired you to create whatever it is that you like to create. Once we give up needing the approval of others, creating becomes and remains fun. It can be a beautiful process of giving in and letting go. Maybe you’re a cycler like me and you go back and forth among a few different things, or maybe you are super honed in on one thing that brings you joy but you’re having trouble accepting it because it creates “clutter”. Being minimalist is not always easy — there are times when you think you must make a decision in order to “be a better minimalist”, but sometimes the intentional keeping of something is the breakthrough you needed to become the best black sheep minimalist you can be.

Because for me, minimalism isn’t about what you get rid of — it’s what you intentionally decide to keep in your life. It’s those things you can’t live without because they bring you some sort of sanity, and some sort of joy.

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