Is creativity mutually exclusive. If you’re a writer can you be a painter too? Can you be a musician or a sculptor?
Yes, of course you can.
Now that was a short post, perhaps I should go into more detail.
For a very long time now I have identified as a writer. For just as long I have loved to draw and make things. I even started a handmade jewellery business in 2010 which I ran successfully for five years before starting my Masters in Writing and Literature. I felt I had to choose and my choice was writing. But did I have to choose?
I recently watched a video by Jen Storer in which she suggested if we stop boxing our creativity up into compartments like ‘writing’ and ‘painting’, and instead thought of it all as ‘our creative expression’ we might be a lot happier. I know it might reduce my own angst over the whole thing.
There was a stage in my creative journey, before the jewellery design, when I was illustrating and selling greeting cards. I still sell a few, but when I transitioned to jewellery design I decided that drawing would be, for me, a hobby. I found it very important to differentiate between the creative practice I was doing for fun, and that which I was trying to make a living from.
Not everything has to have a financial reward. Everyone needs hobbies. Something they do for pleasure. This can be hard for creative professionals, because what they enjoy is also their work. It can make you view every creative act as a potential new product.
My solution was to make that differentiation. But I’ve recently slipped back into old habits. My writing feels laboursome and my drawing feels poor. I need to remember why a write and draw in the first place. Because I enjoy it. Then I need to set aside time to play. Practice, indulge and experiment without the expectation of making money. Maybe one day it will make money, but I have to get that idea out of my head while I’m doing it, or I’ll never get out of my own way.
Creativity isn’t mutually exclusive. If you enjoy it, do it, and don’t put pressure on yourself to turn it into your next revenue stream. Just make art.