Why technology can be Kryptonite to creatives!

Hi everyone, how are you all doing?

This week I’m going to talk about something that is a big fear and I don’t think I’m alone amongst the creative community in this, or at least I hope not!

I set up this website and Blog up almost 2 years ago now, and I completely winged my way through it, building the site over 3 days and kind of hoping for the best.  I’ve since wanted to do some proper training on WordPress because I knew I was probably missing some key elements to make it more effective and better design-wise.

But I am immensely fearful of anything either technology related or paperwork, it’s always been kind of a standing joke that I don’t like doing this stuff, but actually when I really think about it, it’s based in fear. It’s like that fear of pressing the BIG RED BUTTON, when there’s a notice right next to it saying, ‘Don’t Press this Button!’

I think I always believe there is a substantial possibility that if I press the wrong thing, everything will disappear into the ether and I’ll be filled with dread that it is lost forever, all my hard work, effectively down the drain.

With creative pieces, there are many fall back options, although of course it is possible to create a disaster, there is usually a way to ‘fix’ any mistakes, apart from if you work in permanent ink, but even then there are ways around it.

Writing is even easier, satisfyingly hitting delete to any sentence that doesn’t fill you with joy and even in photography there are ways of editing to instantly improve an image.

The lovely Flex Collective offices

An opportunity then came up last week, via a WordPress workshop @theflexcollective with Andrew Baker of Picture Engine, to finally ask the many annoying questions niggling away connected to glitches with my website that leave me growling at it on a regular basis, particularly since the new Block Editor came into play a few weeks ago!

The pink (like pink is a less scary colour than red?!) striped error message, when trying to publish Blogs or new pages was literally like a red-rag to a bull at one point, and as a person who likes to problem solve, it became a real thorn in my side!

Anyway, I digress but let’s just say I relished the opportunity to iron out all these little nightmares to have a sleek, smooth-working website that was easy to navigate and add to.

The same applies for me with paperwork and anything financial. When discussing how we were going to take forwards the WOW Wednesday group with a new membership structure that will probably require a bank account, I once again instantly felt my heckles rise, whilst the more business savvy members of the group find these an easy and simple thing to do, it makes me want to run for the hills. ‘What if I don’t get it right?’ What if I fill in something wrong? What if I miss something? What does it make me responsible for?’ – are just some of thoughts that circle like a swarm of angry, frustrated bees in my head.

And I genuinely don’t know where this comes from, other than maybe it’s just the antithesis to my creative brain. But then when I finally make myself face what needs to be done, once I’ve put aside the fear, I genuinely like the satisfaction of rising to the challenge and fixing the problem!

So, following the workshop, I quickly set about tackling some key tweaks to my website whilst I still had the gusto and a little more confidence, only to still be getting the blumming pink message! With a headache starting but not to be deterred, I contact team WordPress via the chat button.

I won’t bore you with the details but it took a good hour or so, flicking between chrome and incognito (which I didn’t even know existed!), emptying the browser cache which really did fill me with fear until I worked out my WP password (I’d not logged out since I’d started it, I can see Techies shaking their heads in despair at this as we speak!).

It was even harder doing all this via text chat, I think the person could sense my stress via the exclamation marks and I got the, ‘It’s ok we are in this together!’ message. We finally got there, and things are running smoother, thank goodness!

Thinking about it this also applies to the house, in terms of organising and sorting, sometimes it just feels too overwhelming and I’d much rather escape to my beautiful, clean, fresh creative cabin and shut the door to the house where there’s an endless list of jobs to be done!

Sometimes it’s easier to just escape to a clean desk!

And it’s not at surface level, I keep it relatively tidy, it’s the bigger ‘sorting’ jobs and re-organising of cupboards that just feels too much, like it’s at least a half-day task when I have lots of creative work to be done, sitting patiently in my planner – who wouldn’t rather work on that and all the shiny new possibilities rather than the boring bits of life?!

So, this extra ‘housework’ and organising tends to get done on a weekend, when I can’t fully focus on my work anyway when there’s mum taxi trips to be done and the constant feeding breaks me away anyway. I try to get as much done as possible so it frees me up both physically and mentally to ‘create’ and work the following week.

However there is one job I quite like when I get into it and that’s the big clothes switch around, from Summer to Autumn season, pulling all the jumpers out of storage and the summer tops and dresses are retired until Spring. I think it appeals to the ‘shopping’ addiction section of my brain, it’s like shopping again, realising you actually have about 101 jumpers, but thankfully without spending any money. I find myself even talking to myself – ‘Oooo I forgot I had this!’ much to my daughter’s amusement!

As I spent half the day swapping around, I then arranged them in colour-coordinated order to look like an enticing new rainbow in my wardrobe – immensely satisfying to the creative mind and so much easier to find stuff!

So my advice this week is that old adage of if something is wrong that needs fixing for you to move on more effectively, but you have a fear around doing it, then ‘Don’t put off until tomorrow, what you can do today.’

Easier said than done right? Ok let’s break this down a bit from what I’ve learned this last week:

  • If you can, seek a professional to help either via a workshop you can learn from or if you can afford it, by them doing the work for you, no-one is amazing at all aspects of life, recognise what your skills are and find ways around sorting the other stuff that needs doing, so you can get back quickly to what you do best.
  • If that’s not an option, then break down tasks into small parts, so they don’t overwhelm you – which to be honest I didn’t do the other day – I spent all day on my website, getting annoyed, with a headache and tired from getting up early – these are not good conditions to solve things in! Be kind to yourself and know when it is right to take a break and come back to it with a clear head. Little and often, will get the job done rather than complete in-action!
  • Don’t let things build up for as long as I did until it gets to be one humongous problem, set aside time on a weekly / monthly basis to do some technology / paperwork housekeeping, and stick to it, you’ll feel so much better ticking it off so you can get on with the more enjoyable things.
  • Remember FEAR is False Evidence Appearing Real: what you are building up in your head is unlikely to be true, recognise this for what it is and talk your fear down, ask it to sit aside and have a coffee whilst you crack on with things!
  • Finally Incentivise! Once you have got these things off your list, celebrate your fabulousness in getting it done! You deserve it!

I can’t tell you how good it feels to have now got my website up to date and looking better, I still have one thing left to work out (WP Chat may hear from me again – poor them!), and some future things I want to do, but it’s a strong update and I know I won’t leave it so long this time, it will become part of my regular planning!

That being said, if you’ve not been over to my website for a while, you can check it out here. As well as this Blog, there are lots of other things on there, regarding my journey with creativity via art, writing and photography.

There’s also information about our brilliant local accountability group WOW Wednesdays on the home page (or under Meetings & Events) and the free resource section – The Curious Cave where I keep an ongoing list of all the things that inspire me and help me learn and finally you can check out my lives with @psychologiesmagazine if you fancy some creative chat and challenges and some podcast interviews I‘ve had the pleasure of doing too , via the new Lives & Interviews section.

I’m playing about with fonts and colours too, so please do let me know what you think, I want it to be easier to navigate so you can easily get to the support and resources you’re interested in.

If this post has made you think and you’re now heading to tackle those tricky things, please let me know what you’re up to and how you get on, and good luck!

Until next time…

Juliet, The Curious Creative x

Inspiration Corner

Reading

Country Living Magazine,

Nothing makes me feel cosier than curling up with this magazine during Autumn with a fire roaring and a glass of wine! This stylish, beautiful magazine really comes into its own at this time of year and I’ve been a long-time subscriber!

I love following the artisan’s stories, I mean how amazing is this wicker work with willow from Anna and the Willow? And also, Emma Mitchell’s pieces showing us how to create magical things from the treasures around us, I’m now on the hunt for gorgeous antique bottles to display my wood collections in like above.

Listening

Conversations of Inspiration with Holly Tucker – Interview with Annie Sloane

I listened to this just this morning and it’s a fascinating conversation learning about how Annie started out, her thoughts on creativity – she believes all people are creative, it’s about thinking out of the box (woman after my own heart!), colour and how paint is made – as an artist this fascinates me!

Walking

In the woods, Autumn is my favourite time of year and I love all the new colours to take photos of, here’s a selection from last week. And if you love nature as much as me, you can always find more posts like these on my @soothedbynature Instagram account.

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