A Creative Boost

The Design Trust (www.thedesigntrust.co.uk)

I resolved at the beginning of this year that I really had to face up to treating what I’m doing as a business; I’ve really resisted this, as I didn’t want to spoil the joy I feel in being an artist and spending my days making. However, there is at base the need to make a living and in order to preserve that joy, I need to spend a bit of time being business-like. I signed up to the Design Trust (www.thedesigntrust.co.uk)  which has loads of useful advice and help for the self-employed – and I’ve started doing their monthly challenge. In January we had to select a guiding word for the year; I chose ‘Commit’. The next challenge, in February, was to write down 15 ‘why’s’ –

WHY you are working for yourself?

WHY are you a creative (sole trader or freelancer)?

WHY are you a designer, maker, illustrator, photographer, ….

WHY do you do this work?

It’s really difficult to come up with 15! But worth the effort as it makes you dig a bit into your own motives – and identify your own needs. Having come up with 15 ‘whys’ you then have to identify your five core values that arise out of these – five words that sum up what is really important to you. So here’s what I came up with:

1. Because I don’t want to do anything else.
2. Because I love books and paper and words and I have ever since I was small – they’ve always been the most important thing to me. I could get rid of all my other possessions – house, car, clothes … But not my books – and a few films.
3. Because I hate being told what to do – being employed and having my day dictated by others; being surrounded by people in an office all the time.
4. Because I want to live and work from home, in the countryside that I love.
5. Because I want to work at my own pace, spend time with my dogs – have them with me at work.
6. Because I feel driven to make and create every day and that feeling is with me all the time.
7. Because I like – I actually prefer – being on my own, in my own space. I crave solitude.
8. Because the piece of work I create is all mine and entirely within my control. It’s quality is down to me. There’s no one else involved in the process.
9. Because I like saying I’m an artist.
10. Because I love what I can do with a single piece of paper – the simplest and cheapest of materials.
11. Because I want to wake up everyday and do something I enjoy, not something I have to make myself do.
12. Because I don’t have to worry about what other people think – whether they like my work or not. I am driven to make it regardless. So I am free of that oppression that comes with looking to other people’s judgments and opinions.
13. Because I can strive for perfection but the nice thing is in what I’m doing I’m free of an objective right or wrong; there are no absolutes.
14. Because I get to live with my Mum which is very reassuring and supportive and makes me feel safe.
15. Because I can set my own artistic challenges; I can spend time learning, reading, thinking and reflecting.

Arising out of this, I think my core values are:

FOCUS
CONTROL
SOLITUDE
CREATIVITY
LEARNING

So it’s on to March’s challenge!  You can join in any time so do let me know if you are – I’d love to hear how it’s going.

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