On being creative...

Okay,  despite blogging for 2 + years I still struggle to get my thoughts and feelings across through my writing.   There has been many a topic I wanted to address on this here blog, but have never even started a draft because of this writing-phobia.  That being said I'll only get over this obstacle by writing more, so bear with me through the rough patches, we'll get there, ha. 

I've been wanting to talk about creative processes for a very, very long time.  I think everyone has their own process when it comes to creativity.   I am a routine person.  For me, creativity NEVER strikes, it's more like banging my head against a pinata and sometimes if I hit it hard enough for long enough, candy comes out.

At the beginning of every collection,  I sketch and sketch and sketch like crazy.    After the sketch I draft a pattern, stitch up a muslin and then (more often than not) decide I hate it.   The design gets scrapped, and I move on to the next sketch.  I'd say probably 1 in 20 designs (that have made it from sketch) actually make into a collection.    But the editing doesn't stop there.   I am notorious for editing out pieces mere days before a shoot.  I even binned a whole season's collection (after it had been photographed) once.  Why?  I have no idea.  When I finalized the pieces for the collection I loved them, then over time I decided I hated them all.  Sometimes, I think it's because I work so hard and so long on each piece that maybe it's hard not to get completely sick of them?  Maybe my personal style is still evolving and over time I fall out of love with the pieces? When all is said and done, if I don't love something completely, I won't put my name behind it.  It sounds crazy, but I want everything to be perfect in every collection.  Each collection tells a story and stories need to flow.  All the colors have to coordinate, the styles need to be complimentary and unique, because who wants to read a story they've read a million times?  The pressure is immense to create something unique to my label, but at the same time it can't be too crazy or over the top, or I risk alienating my customers.   On the one hand I think it's important to edit...careful editing is what makes a good collection, but, on the other hand editing can be a huge waste of material, time and money.  It makes me feel even worse when family and friends tell me they liked the pieces I binned.  Am I crazy to be nixing perfectly good pieces that other people/customers might like?

I think the pressure to create and be successful started building even more after switching to full time.  It's scary knowing that my sole source of income depends on how well I can create.  What if I suddenly don't have any good ideas.  Or what if I take a new direction with my line and no one likes it?  There are so many fears whirling around my head before each collection.   When I finally start the creative process, all those negative thoughts are weighing on me.  I don't think suffering (er....not sleeping or eating) should be linked to creativity.  Creativity should be a joyful, freeing, awesome thing.  Not a doom and gloom, I'm-going-to-make-something-because-I-have-to thing.

This season I really did my best to relax and go with the creative flow.  I still had my routine, but I didn't let all my self doubt and fear take over my process.  I addressed all the crap that had always weighed me down and said what's the worst that could happen?  So maybe everyone hates this new collection but me.  Maybe I don't sell anything and have to get  another PT job.  Big deal.  I'm not going to die, and it's not the end of the world.   I felt so much better after letting all that stuff go.   Now, I definitely wasn't all zen all the time.  I still edited out a bunch of pieces last minute and had a second last minute shoot to squeeze in a few more pieces.  Plenty of glitches happened that had me pulling my hair out,  but I wasn't nearly as stressed as I have been past seasons.  The worst part was not finding a photoshoot location (till the very last minute).   The best part....I still love.  Every.  Single.  Garment.

 The blog world has been taking a lot of hits lately for promoting perfectionism.   There are so many pretty images and people making pretty things and as much as a love seeing all that pretty stuff, I wish we got to see more of the blood sweat and tears that went into making it.  Because no matter how much you love what you do, it's still takes effort.   I LOVE what I do and wouldn't switch jobs for the world.   I don't want my take on creativity to come off as negative or debbie downer-ish, I just wanted to talk about how creating is sometimes a real struggle. 

I would love to hear everyone's take on creativity!  Let's talk about it!