Hello and Happy Easter to you all, I thought it might now be the time to introduce myself a bit more, now that I’m further along this blogging road and explain how The Curious Creative Club all came about.
So, this is me, when I’m a bit more dressed up , a rare kid-free trip to Wimbledon no less! However, 80% of the year I’m wrapped up in many layers and a bright bobble hat, out every day walking my crazy Cockapoo, Barley! I live in a beautiful ‘out in the sticks’ West Yorkshire village on the outskirts of Huddersfield with my Husband and two children, my 3rd child Barley, 2 cats – Bluebell and Jasmine, 2 fish (only ones left!) and a shrimp called Burt, who takes his ‘cleaning the tank’ job very seriously.
My crazy family, love em!
Just 3 years ago my life was very different, working part-time for a large financial provider as a Campaign Manager in Marketing, where I’d worked for 11 and a half years. The job suited our circumstances at the time, but I was invariably stressed from trying to cram a full-time job into part-time hours and feeling like I wasn’t ever doing enough. I’d then come home, attempt to switch hats to ‘mum-mode’ and feel exhausted from it all.
As the kids were growing up, they both had big commitments too, one following her passion, swimming for her local club, and training 6 days a week in the National Performance Squad, the other following his acting dream with various classes, auditions and casting jobs; it was getting increasingly impossible to deliver everybody where they needed to be! My husband was also starting to work more and more away in London, so on a family holiday the decision was finally made, something had to give!
I left in May 2016 and was sad to leave my work family, many of which had been with me through major stages of my life but the truth was I no longer enjoyed my job. Financial services is so highly regulated, there is little room for creativity.
This was my chance too for me to follow my long-held dream, to become an Author, cliche I know, but it had been something I’d wanted to do since childhood, see Writing for more on this! The slight issue was, we also decided to get a puppy that Summer, little did I know how much time of the day she’d take up!
However, she did open up another creative avenue, walking with her in all weathers, I rediscovered my love of nature and started to document the seasons, taking pictures and setting up my @soothedbynature Instagram account, see Photography.
I began to really love the daily routine of this little dose of creativity, searching for something new to show my followers, it made the process of my walk more mindful somehow and I’d come back feeling refreshed, chilled and felt fitter too!
My favourite time of the year, when the bluebells are out in the woods!
It was a strange thing but after leaving work, creative opportunities kept coming up left, right and centre, it was like they were seeking me out as a reward for feeling stifled all those years!
Next came Art. Now, I’d always loved art at school and still liked doodling but never thought of myself as an artist by any means. By chance, a friend invited me to come along to her local art club, just five minutes down the road from me, I never even knew it existed!
Nervously, I went along and despite feeling hugely intimidated by the raft of talent amongst the members, I’ve slowly improved by learning from them and the various experts that come along to demonstrate, I now no longer cringe at my results! See Art for the full story of my artistic journey, but the upshot? I now sell my Art cards at a local florists and see it as another string to my creative bow, which just shows what you can do if you are willing to try and learn.
I still love a good little doodle though, it doesn’t all have to be perfect!
What I began to realise after leaving work, was that I no longer had to focus on just one thing, despite my Mum, family and various others telling me I needed to focus on one thing at a time, on a daily basis!
I finally have the confidence to say No, that way just doesn’t work for me. I think so many people are still stuck on the view that in order to be successful you need to have a single ‘focus’, It has taken me years to finally not feel guilty about not following a set path and no longer feel the need to constantly explain myself, this is me, like it or lump it!
Yes, of course I want to finish the book, and that is my biggest source of procrastination in all my creative endeavours, mainly because it’s just blumming hard and I have a rubbish memory for what I’ve already written!
But also, I need a wide variety of projects to keep me interested, motivated and inspired! By having a portfolio of creative projects, I meet and mix with new people, I work to how I feel creatively that day and quite frankly since realising this, I am so much happier and have lifted that massive pressure I (and others) were putting on me.
As I was getting more and more into different things, more ideas would spring up, to the point that I got to the stage where I was dreaming ideas and they were waking me up! Great for the creative process, not so great for the eye-bags!
For more on light-bulb moments and how Elizabeth Gilbert interprets where ideas come from, read Big Magic, it’s a truly amazing book!
It was one of those ‘light-bulb’ moments last year when I had the idea for this website, a way in which to tie all my interests together and also help other people – something I’ve done in various ways throughout my career, working for a charity, in community project work, and also just in life in general – I’m always the one trying to help those less fortunate than myself or coming up with solutions for friends, it’s inbuilt, part of my Mediator* personality type I think!
I also always knew that life is too short and we don’t get another opportunity to live our best life, something that became all too clear when a close friend died suddenly a couple of years ago; a man who was fighting fit, full of life and lived it to the max with his wife, yet became suddenly ill with an inoperable brain tumour at Christmas; he died just 2 months later. To me it’s such an injustice when that happens to someone who does actually make the most of life, and it made me even more determined to live mine to the full too, because you just really never know when your number is up.
So, my idea for The Curious Creative Club was born, and I continued to work on my 3 creative passions whilst also encouraging other people to live a more creative existence, knowing that by doing so, it would enrich their lives and open them up to a whole new social community – another ingredient, essential to happiness in a world where we have less and less face to face interaction.
Originally I wanted it to just be The Curious Creative, but that name was taken and actually calling it a Club is more beneficial to the ethos of what I wanted to do, it makes us feel like we are all in this together, learning and sharing from each other.
Through setting this venture up, I’ve made some great new friends and connections too, not least Miriam Leece who owns a local eatery called Miriam’s Kitchen Table. She’s incredibly creative too and we soon got chatting about ideas. Miriam really wants her cafe to become a community hub, somewhere to gather and become an important part of local life.
We decided that I would put together a writing workshop and run it at her lovely place, and so far it’s been a great success, people have loved it and I’ve got just as much out of it as them, seeing how people interpret challenges differently and then come up with some great stories, writing very creatively which they sometimes didn’t believe was possible.
It’s been such a rewarding part of this whole vision I have for The CCC, seeing people literally light up, just from having a few hours to themselves and a chance to indulge in a creative experience, it’s definitely an area I want to grow.
As well as the worskshops and setting up the website, I also wanted to Blog weekly, and I am absolutely loving it! When I was starting out in my career after Uni where I completed a BA Hons degree in Public Relations and Language Studies, the one thing I really wanted to do was write for a magazine and I spent a month doing work experience at IPC magazines in London. It was an amazing experience, I loved it, but I just didn’t have the funds to move and make a life in London, so I ended up working for a local charity instead.
The beauty of writing this Blog, is that it’s like I’ve returned to that initial desire and created my own mini-magazine, which essentially is what Blogs are but with the added bonus that there is no Editor to convince that you’re idea is a goer, it’s all entirely up to you!
Of course, not everyone will love your work, but hopefully the people interested in the topic you are presenting to them, will start to like and follow along. You are creating your own unique audience, of people who ‘get’ your subject and want to learn and talk about it, and that feels very special.
If you’ve read one of my past posts ‘Reset to Reflect’ you’ll know I have big plans for The Curious Creative Club and 3 and a half months in, I’m really happy with how it is going so far.
I’m still learning the technological things (so please bear with me as that is most definitely not my forte!) and I’m surprising myself with just how much I have to say on the glorious subject of creativity, but I just think it is so important in this world that is engulfed by technology (but let’s be fair it has it’s benefits, bringing you this Blog for one!) that we still know how to play, use our hands, communicate with people and look after ourselves in a way that doesn’t involve tapping on screens.
I really hope that my posts are resonating with you and that now you know even more about me, you understand the vision I have for the Club and hope you will join in the conversation.
I also want to continue to bring other resources to help you with your creative journey, which you can always access in The Curious Cave – there is so much great inspiration and support out there, which continually inspires me too and below is one of the greats, Stephen Hawkins, whose curious personality made sure he always asked important questions.
So, this is me, still learning, still got a long way to go, but that is what being endlessly curious is all about, you’re always moving forward, discovering new things, new ideas and new ways of fulfilling your dreams and so long as my curiosity never wanes, I know I’ll be content and I don’t think there’s any danger of that happening any time soon!
Next week, I think I’ll be talking about ‘Fractals’ – a new curious word I’ve discovered that has a big impact on my creative projects….and is slightly addictive!
Until next time,
Juliet, The Curious Creative x
Ps Since I am a technically lacking, I’ve only recently realised the comment box below wasn’t switched on, it now works (Yeah!) so please do leave your comments so I know I’m heading in the right direction with my posts and please also suggest any ideas you have of creative topics you’d like me to delve into more – I love a challenge! Thank you.
PPs As I said above, I’m classed as a ‘Mediator’ personality type which is part of the Myers Briggs 16 personality free test, If you’ve never done this before, it’s really fun, I found it an absolute revelation as it was my personality to a tee!