If you follow me on Twitter you’ll know that I was very excited and honoured to be nominated in the latest blog hop by Lauren from The Dare Project. This means it’s my turn to answer the three questions that are doing the rounds and at the end of this I’ll pass on the baton to two of my favourite bloggers.
1. What have you been doing / making / scribbling at your desk this week?
Well firstly, nothing happens at my desk because I use it as a pretty piece of furniture that looks after my stationery, a plant and a slightly dodgy teapot I made last year. I work on my laptop at my sofa in all kinds of awkward positions which I know is naughty, but I have plans to set up a motivational work area once we move house.
In terms of what I’m working on, I’ve got a number of things on the go. I’m still in the middle of the one DIY project I’ve ever taken on; it’s been over a year and I’m still not finished. Almost there though…
I’m also working, with the help of the trusty chef, on a new recipe thanks to a surprise parcel I received from a friend a while ago. I’ll tell you more about this soon, but when a pile of ingredients arrived from The Spicery we started plotting and I’m looking forward to sharing the results with you soon.
2. Where are you currently finding your inspiration? (Influences, heroes, sources of inspiration, paths exploring)?
My inspiration comes in peaks and troughs. Some weeks I write too many blog posts to know what to do with and other times weeks go by and I feel I’m writing utter rubbish. Sometimes I have to go in search for inspiration and other times it smacks me in the face.
When I’m going in search of it, I tend to find it in silence. My day to day world can be quite exhausting so when I’m looking to be inspired I swim, I listen to podcasts and I people watch. No chat, just me and my thoughts. The problem with this is I’m not very good at carrying around a trusty notebook and nor do I own a fancy iPad, so when I’m out and about and hit with inspiration I often note down a couple of key phrases on my phone and hope the feeling is still with me when I get back home. Writing this down makes me realise this process needs refining.
On the occasions that inspiration springs up out of nowhere, it normally comes in the form of people I admire… usually women and often bloggers. I’m frequently inspired by things other bloggers are doing and ways they are getting themselves ‘out there’. The bloggersphere is full of incredibly talented writers, designers, bakers and makers, and yet there seems to be very little competition; instead it’s a supportive environment where you are praised for your talents and patted on the back just for having a go. I love learning from those around me, they inspire me to make each blog post better than the last.
3. How important is being creative to you, and how do you blend this with your work / life / family balance?
I think I could spend a whole blog post on this answer alone, but I’ll try and keep it relatively snappy.
You see, up until very recently I wouldn’t have said I was a creative person. I always wanted to be, but I never really ‘did’ anything to demonstrate that. I blog, sure, but I didn’t see my blog as being particularly creative. I have friends who make their own clothes, are serious about photography, make their own jewellery or write professionally in one way or another. I’m surrounded by people who are using their creative skills in so many weird and wonderful ways, and I’ve just never seen myself as part of that creative circle.
I don’t know what changed and it’s not like I had a lightbulb moment where I woke up one day and shouted, “Hey! I’m creative!” It’s more like over time the dimmer switch got turned up verrrrry slowly, and now I’m able to squeak, “Um…hello… I think I might be a bit creative.” That said, whether or not I label it as ‘creativity’, blogging is incredibly important to me. It gives me an outlet for all the things that are going on in my mind that I can’t necessarily carry out physically. If you’ve seen my post on anxiety you’ll know that I have a very active imagination, so finding a way to use my imagination for something positive seems like a good solution. And you know what, the dictionary seemed to agree with me.
In terms of how this blends with family life, well, I think all bloggers would agree that it can be a struggle. I’m very lucky that my other half is very much a part of this blog. At the risk of sounding immensely sappy I don’t think I’d still be blogging if it wasn’t for his support. All of the recipes are his, the cooking is his and I just swan around with a camera and then eat the product of his creativity. (It’s a wonder I didn’t think of doing this sooner.) He knows how many things I had to stop doing when I got ill and in my search to find something less physical, this became my one and only hobby. Now I do so many things “for the blog” that I get out more than I used to and I think he recognises it as being far more important than it may appear. In terms of the rest of my friends and family, most of them know that sometimes my camera will make an appearance and our holidays or days out are going to end up on the blog. They’re incredibly good about it and I love them for being such willing participants, but I make sure that not everything goes public. I value keeping some things about my life away from the internet.
First up is Mary Gelpi from FibromyAwesome. Mary’s was the first blog I ever bookmarked and made a habit of reading. I’d been searching the internet for information on fibromyalgia but everything I came across was, well, a bit crap. There were lots of forums and blogs but they were mainly filled with people saying, “why has this happened to me, why is life so unfair” and whilst I know we need an outlet for those thoughts, I guess that’s not really my style. When I found FibromyAwesome I found someone who was honest about her struggles but with it she was sarcastic and witty and completely engaging. She rocks.
My second nomination is for my friend Jen Clark from Tea for Two. Jen, along with her twin sister Elena, blogs about the clothes they make as well accessories for you and your home. Jen is someone I consider a truly creative person – I mean, she made her own outfit for one of her best friend’s weddings for crying out loud! These girls have skills! I know for sure I’m never going to be the girl sat at a sewing machine making her own clothes, but I like to think I’ll try out one of their slightly more simple projects soon.
The girls will be posting their responses and nominating two more bloggers on Monday 11th August.