8 top tips to help creatives talk about what they do

Hi everyone, how are you doing? I hope you are snuggling up with a hot chocolate now the Autumn weather is arriving (in the UK anyway), and taking 10 minutes for yourself to read this month’s blog post!

Today I want to help you to feel comfortable about talking about what you do as a creative, which if you are like 99.5% of the creatives I know, will probably feel like the most un-natural and cringey thing to do…but I promise it needn’t feel like that.

This can apply to creatives just starting out, perhaps selling their creations online for the first time or just starting to build up a following on Instagram, as well as those who have been doing this longer but may be falling out of love with the process or are looking for new inspiration on how to talk about what they do.

So where do you begin?

Firstly, you need to address the following negative Nelly chatter, that may be chirping in your head and holding you back. I’ll give you an example of how this may go.

Jodie, age 41, who has a part-time job as a hospitality manager, particularly on the Wedding Services side, has been honing her skills as a lino print artist in her spare time. She’d like to set up a side business, developing lino printed stationery, starting with Wedding invitations, thank you cards and table setting products.

Where she’s at: Jodie has a following of around 300 on Instagram, mainly made up from family, friends and a few colleagues and this is the channel she focusses on. She has a small but strong network of contacts in the wedding industry – a great potential audience for her products.

Challenges:- time is precious, she has a busy family life, on top of her other job, and so when she can work on her side business, she needs to be efficient, and crack on but feels overwhelmed about what is needed to get her business really going. Selling herself and her business feels scary and a big task. She’d like to do more on Instagram but doesn’t have a particular strategy, more posting as and when she can and is unsure on what kind of content to post.

Thoughts:- What if my designs are not good enough? What if I get the social media side wrong? What if it goes better than I think and I don’t have the time to full-fill my orders? There’s too much to do, maybe I just keep it small and sell to family and friends rather than putting myself out there, that feels safer. But what if it could work and this could really go somewhere? I really enjoy creating my designs, what if this is something I could do full-time in the future and I’m wasting time procrastinating when I could be getting on with it?

So, you get the idea, I know myself that I have had all of these thoughts above, and as you read those, you can probably feel the pressure building, and this is often why we can then panic, put off moving forwards and sometimes give up altogether.

Whilst I can’t answer everything in this blog, as it would turn into a book, what I hope will help in the first instance, are the following things.

  1. Download your thoughts out of your head. You can’t talk succinctly about what you do, until you get really clear on it for yourself. Start by getting a big piece of paper and just mind-mapping it out. Brain-dump everything and you’ll begin to gain some clarity. Look at what you’ve written, and circle the things you feel really good about and excited to begin.
  2. Get Real – ok now you’ve got it all down, do no expect that you can do it all, in one month, and do it well. It’s time to get realistic, choose JUST 3 THINGS to focus on. That’s not to mean everything else is a waste of time, it just helps prioritise right now, and then later you can come back to your other notes.
  3. Talk about it – Now this is where it may start to feel a little out of your comfort zone, but with practice it gets easier. To help you practice, record yourself on your phone – it may sound ridiculous, but no-one need see it and it helps you refine how you talk about what you are doing, for example at first you may feel like you are waffling, but with practice you’ll get slicker and more comfortable. There’s something about speaking it out loud too, that makes it more real to yourself, and not just the ideas in your head.

The next step of course is then talking to your friends and family, and whilst I hope that your network is supportive, don’t be upset if they aren’t immediately. Some people take longer to accept that change is coming, even if it is a personally positive one for you,. They may raise concerns about finance for example. This always comes from a place of fear, and they are just trying to protect you, but the more you talk about it, the more they will see how serious you are about following your passion and purpose.

It’s taken a long time to narrow down what I do to make it make sense to my customer, and I still don’t think I’m there yet!
  • Say it with confidence, not with apology – this is a real big one, we are naturally not great at this! So, if you write, introduce yourself as a ‘Writer’, if you create art, you are an artist! This is not easy at all, it took me years to call myself these things, but the more you say it without saying I’m kind of this, or I’m having a go at that’, and especially not adding on ‘I’m not the best, or I’m not very good’ at the end, the better.

Self-Belief is EVERYTHING! You want your potential customers to believe it too, and trust that you know your craft. You wouldn’t trust a builder that said, ‘I kind of build houses, but I’m not the best’, now, would you?!

The more confident you become in your personal creative skill, the more that will come across when you talk about it, which all then helps when selling yourself in public. But also understand that it does take time to build this confidence.

Channel your inner Holly Tucker and you won’t go far wrong!
  • Think about your voice and values – This is all about being uniquely you, being authentic and letting your own values and voice shine through. Don’t let comparisonitis strike, customers don’t want copies of other businesses, people buy from people – they want to know your story, what drives your passion, your behind-the-scenes processes, what you’re working on, how you can solve a problem (e.g., a gift for someone) or brighten their day (help them choose some beautiful wall art for their kitchen) and it’s up to you to communicate that in YOUR OWN AUTHENTIC VOICE.
  • Share more than feels natural – By this I mean on social media, and I know we all have a fear of annoying people or thinking we are posting too much or too little etc, but due to those annoying ‘algorithms’ your audience doesn’t see as much of your content as you might think.

Your followers aren’t all online at the same time, and depending what strategy Instagram and Facebook are using at the time, it may even only by 10% of your overall audience that are seeing your content regularly.

So, post away consistently, in a way that works for you. The key is to keep it interesting and fresh, don’t just repeat previous content. Think about different angles of how you can talk about things. So, to use our example of Jodie above, who has created a new lino print piece, she could talk about this in several different ways: –

  • What inspired the design and choice of colour?
  • Where did she get her materials from, (supporting other small businesses builds that sense of community too)?
  • Ask her audience to vote or versions of designs or what they think of it to increase engagement
  • What products will she use the design on specifically
  • Show the process, ideally using video (increases reach) for a behind-the-scenes post
  • Talk about what she’s learning with each piece, how she is growing as an artist, what direction she would like to go in
  • Other artists she admires or has learned from
  • And if at the very beginning, post at different times and then look at the insights to see what has worked best
  • Get an accountability buddy or join a group

It’s easy for us to get in our own way as creatives, with similar thoughts to my example above, which is why being accountable to someone else can really help. We are much more likely to take action and tick off what we want to do on our list, IF we have said we are going to do it, to people that we care about and respect, because we are less likely to let someone else down, than ourselves!

Choose your buddy wisely though, pick someone who is likely to both support and understands what you are trying to achieve, will also challenge you, and check in regularly to see how you are getting on.

If you want to take one step further, then join an accountability group, such as the one myself and my accountability buddy, Clair set up. We knew how well it was working for us, and so we wanted to extend that model to other small businesses and entrepreneurs working on their own to help them move forwards with their businesses. And this all gives you a new audience to talk to about your business, further building your confidence.

If you’d like to find out more about our accountability membership WOW Wednesdays, then click here.

The WOW Team in action!
  • Don’t be afraid to talk about lots of different things

Whilst honing down what you are doing helps in terms of productivity and clarity, to not feel overwhelmed, don’t be afraid to talk about different areas of work if you are a multi-creative business.

More and more people are developing multi-passionate careers, especially since lockdown, so if you are creating this kind of business, be proud and shout about it. I speak from personal experience of this, particularly at the start I felt the pressure from family and friends who thought I should just focus on ‘one thing’ at a time and it took me years to realise that that’s not how I work best, and work with my skills rather than against them and be confident enough to say that to others.

I felt myself almost apologising over the fact that I did lots of different things, often using the phrase ‘Jack of all trades, master of none!’ But instead, I’ve now practiced talking about them all in a way that links and makes sense to who I’m talking to, which helps them to then understand where I’m coming from and why I do what I do! It no longer feels jarring or scatty, it makes total sense.

The bonus of taking this approach is that out open yourself up to a deeper conversation and the potential of aligned collaborations, which I’ve really noticed this year. If you think about it, it’s obvious really, the more topics and projects you work on – the bigger the spread of connections, casting a wider net which helps to grow your community.

That said, it’s not for everyone, and working this way is not better or worse than having a single focus, it’s just about celebrating how YOU personally work best and using that as a means for a quality conversation with your audience.

So, I hope that gives you some ideas of how to begin talking about yourself and your business, because your business is a reflection of you as a person, and is what makes it unique and special. – so go on, Tell the World about it! What have you got to lose?

I find using a graphic really helps people to understand the multiple projects I do and how they all work and fit together

And now some NEWS! Practicing what I preach and telling you about it!

Following on from above, and to extend my own messaging about what I do, to further help people understand what The Curious Creative Club is all about, on Friday 8th October I’ll be sending my very first The Curious Creative Catch Up, email newsletter out!

It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a while, and I think will really help to put all the different creative projects I do in one easy-to-read place.

So, what will it include?

  • What 3 things – the key projects I’m working on at the time, a little news about them and chat, for example an insight into something that we’ve been talking about in the WOW group lately, that may apply to my readers too
  • My Favourite nature pictures – from the previous month from my @soothedbynature account, and what I’ve noticed on my dog walks to bring a little nature to your day
  • A little Creative Challenge – For yourselves and your family / friends to have a go at, similar to what I did in the @psychologiesmagazine Lives I did last year.
  • Creative Community Round UP – This is where I’ll share what I’ve been watching, listening to, or reading from the many creative and wellbeing connections I’ve made so you can benefit from their incredible expertise and tips too.
  • And finally, any offers or spaces I have within my groups / projects – Email subscribers will hear any CCC news here first.

So if this sounds like something you’d love dropping into your inbox each month (I will not be bombarding you!), then please sign up here, before the 8th of October (If you want to receive the first edition), and subscribers after that will receive the next one on the 8th of November.

Thank you and remember keep talking and sharing about your own unique creative talent, and do let me know in the comments below if this has been helpful, 🙂

TC, and get cosy now Autumn is setting in (I’ll be talking all about using Autumn in your creativity this next time!),

Juliet, The Curious Creative x

PS, If you don’t already follow, you can catch me on Instagram @thecuriouscreativeclub where I share regularly all about my creative journey, thank you!

PPS, Next week I’m doing the session below for @thecreativemap , the sessions are FREE so do sign up if you fancy some Autumnal inspiration!

Topped up to the brim, creatively and physically!

Hello there, how are you all doing! Once again apologies it’s been so long but there has been a lot going on, again (when isn’t there?), but all good stuff and we decided to take a last-minute holiday in the UK too.

And this is what today’s Blog post is all about, because as with our Cornwall coastal holiday last Summer, this trip has been equally inspiring, and I’ve come back buzzing with ideas!

From my previous Blogs, you will know that I see having as many experiences as possible is such an important factor in the creative process, for me and many others I’ve connected with. It’s easy to get sucked into the doing, doing, doing, especially if say your creative business takes off and you have commissions or orders coming in a lot, BUT I’ve also seen many a creative burn out in this way and slowly lose that creative spark, which is what they loved about the whole thing in the first place and they feel like they are losing their mojo.

So, the lesson here is to NOT feel guilty about taking time off, going out to not only experience great memories with family and friends, but to also absorb what’s going on around you, especially in new environments and let that open up some new channels in your creative brain!

The saying goes, you can’t pour from an empty cup, and I’d say this is especially important for creatives who put their heart and soul into their work.

Your creations come from your very essence, call it your life force, and so that needs to be in a happy and excited place, not one that is lacking in energy or ideas because you haven’t cared for it or fed it. We use up a lot of energy when we plan and make new things, and so it’s important to look after yourself, think of it like a pet if it helps, that needs some love and attention and regular food! Mine would be a rabbit for sure, and if you’ve read my recent Instagram post, you will realise why… I think I’ll call mine Clover.

I even have a rabbit wreathe on the cabin, which casts a lovely shadow in the sun this week!

So, before I digress too far down a rabbit hole (sorry! Haha) this brings me to our trip, very last minute which made us think a little more out of the box on where to go with what was available (i.e. not a lot!). We ended up going to Moreton-in-Marsh in the Cotswolds, then a quick stop in Windsor (for the kids to go to Thorpe Park), and then had the following week in Brighton.

Now talk about contrast, I don’t think we could have picked two more different places for our holiday! Surprisingly, it was our first time to both places.

The Cotswolds was stunning, with beautiful, sleepy villages down twisty lanes and felt like taking a step back in time. Before we checked in, we walked around Blenheim Palace, and the food festival that was on that day. We then visited Chipping Camden, Broughton-on-the-water, the quaint houses of Arlington Row (which features on red passports, who knew?), the Cotswolds water park, Chipping Norton, Cirencester and Stratford Upon Avon over the following days, so we certainly packed a lot in!

We did walks, cake stops, paddle boarding, kayaking, the inflatable water course, country pub lunches and delicious dinners. One of the highlights was calling into the Diddly Squat Farm Shop, after we’ve been watching Clarkson’s Farm! Just as we pulled in, Caleb and Jeremy Clarkson himself were ‘tractoring’ in the opposite field. They then drove down the lane just outside the shop and stopped to wave at everyone and let people take pictures. It was such fluky timing, and funny to see him in his giant tractor!

I loved paddle boarding, something I’d wanted to try for ages, so I was happy I managed it and didn’t fall off! Much to the kid’s disappointment!

Yeah! Surprisingly I didn’t fall off!

When we got to Brighton & Hove, I was surprised by how huge it was! We were staying more towards Hove, in a lovely ground floor apartment, not far from the Promenade to then walk into Brighton, or the back streets that held every restaurant, café, and bakery imaginable!  

There was so much to take in in Brighton, I’d say it’s a place where anything goes, and the vibe felt electric and eclectic! From this giant poodle, happily posing in an open top car, to the skaters and bladers, volleyball, basketball and tennis games going on, mini drag queen shows, people just randomly dancing in the bandstand over-looking the sea, swimmers, and runners, to the homeless people not being avoided, but chatted at length to, more integrated into their community rather than being ignored.  There were also the friendliest waiters and shop owners happy to tell their stories. Oh, and the fashion! Well, I’d say the brighter the better!

Brighton felt like a very physical and visceral place, where you absorbed the energy and soaked in the rainbow / neon colours and lights through your veins.

That’s not to say it was pristine though, and it wouldn’t be for everybody, the promenade walk was spotless and was being regenerated further along towards the Marina too, with plans for skate parks and more privacy for the naturist beach, but back up on the main front-facing street, as well as tall rows upon rows of white, cream and custard yellow Georgian Houses which were stunning to look at, there were also neglected down-beaten hotels, tired student accommodation, less attractive graffiti and some odd sights in windows (one had a set of manikin hands which freaked me out a little!).

But peel another layer back, into the cool streets of Hove, The Lanes and Kemp town and again it’s a different story, full to the brim with small, quirky shops, vegan cafes, unique restaurants, vintage collection, and antique shops, literally so much to see you easily get lost (as we did!).

We walked, and walked until our feet were numb, racking up an average of around 20k steps a day. However, we also ate a hell of a lot to make up for it, in the many gorgeous eateries.

I loved visiting these small businesses and chatting to the owners about how they started. The first I visited was @unlimitedshopuk and wow I was just blown away, if I owned a shop, this is what I would want, absolutely full of colour, art prints, ceramics, bags, T-shirts, hanging mobiles, stationery, jewellery, and all beautifully set out. I could have literally bought everything in it.

On the last day I got chatting to @finnhop who owns @brightonphotographygallery, also on the promenade and again was completely wowed by his photographic talent, including many of the collapsed West pier. All week I had been wondering about that pier, because at first, I questioned why it was still there, ‘Why on earth would they keep is collapsed metal structure in the sea that seemed quite an eyesore?’ But you know what, throughout the days I found it growing on me, and that actually it’s iconic structure features on the designs in these shops and in a weird way was quite beautiful.

Finn told me the story of it, how it was built in the 1800s left to ruin in the 70s and then they were about to invest in it and twice it was set on fire. It’s since collapsed further in storms, yet in 1918-19 it attracted 2 million visitors. These days you can swim around it to get closer, or as Finn does, take iconic photos of it, check out his account and you’ll see. He also takes pictures from the sea, an unusual and beautiful view.

And finally, me and the kids chatted to the owner of @artistanonuk who does the coolest clothing and built the business from his kitchen table! He created his own Brighton logo, as shown on his clothing designs, a man after my own heart.

Whilst browsing in The Lanes I also came across Lucy & Yak, a brand I’ve always admired, I mean just look at the front of their shop above and I remember their interview with @hollytucker on Conversations of Inspiration. Their dungarees and T-shirts are gorgeous.

It’s seeing so many of these cool local businesses in action that really warms my heart and fires up my creative energy, I’ve always enjoyed shopping, but seeing these unique shops puts fire in my belly! There was even an entire shop just full of rubber ducks called @theduckhousebrighton and I’ve just seen that they’ve launched ‘Friends’ duck characters! I want one!

We also visited Beachy Head one morning, about a 40 minute drive away. These stunning sheer white cliffs are the highest of their kind in England, making the lighthouse look like a toy in the sea. It created some amazing views and photography opportunities.

And so, I’ve come back with aching feet, but armed with inspiration and new ideas for the next direction I want to go in. And this is what I mean about making sure that you allow time for exploration and discovery.

For me it’s a real sensory experience that I’m after on these trips, this is what I find works best for me. It was the sensory reboot I needed, and this is what I found, So Clover may now have grown into a Hare:

We got some really cool pictures in the upside down house!

See: From the rugged walls and picture-perfect thatched cottages and the stretching green fields of the Cotswolds to the bright painted walls, graffiti, shop windows, interior décor, rows of vintage motorcycles and cruising old cars, the upside-down house giving a whole new perspective and the neon flashing pier, everywhere you looked there was something to take in.

Hear: The Cotswolds was calm and peaceful, with bird song, flowing rivers, and gentle chatting as people ate their dinner. Brighton was somewhat brash in comparison, loud cheers, music, the beep of the promenade train, dogs barking, people talking in loud multiple accents or kids squealing on rides.

Taste: Hearty country lunches, steaming hot china teapots and wedges of homemade cake found in quaint teashops in the Cotswolds, whilst in Brighton sugary tiers of rainbow cake, flavoursome curries, iced coffees, boats of Sushi, Steak, and vegan nachos. For my top recommended restaurants, check out my instagram post on this, here.

Smell: The salt edged breeze, fresh baked pastries, bike engines, candyfloss and joss sticks scented the air in Brighton, in the Cotswolds the aromas of fresh cut grass, manure on farms and roast dinners.

Touch: In the Cotswolds it was the rough feel of the ground on walks and nettle stings and the heat radiating from thick ancient walls on sunny days. Brighton brought the hard pebbles of the beach that strangely felt soft when you laid on them and they moulded to your body, and the throng of too-close crowds, jostling for paths in The Lanes.

Since returning and speaking to friends who have been away, we are making it a pact to go on more of these adventures, not only as a ‘treat’ but as an absolute necessity to top up our creative balance.

I think we have all tentatively stepped out of the stay-at-home bubble that Covid required, and now we are feeling more and more the desire to explore, and reclaim our wanderlust and the magic of new experiences, new sights, and sounds.

So, if you are feeling somewhat exhausted from the summer holidays, and all that brings for parents and putting others first as often we do, I highly recommend booking some regular ‘creative’ enrichment days in and go out on a mini adventure with friends, or even on your own, I know I will be doing monthly at least!

Until next time, please share in the comments how you plan on topping up your creative mojo, I’d love to know!

Juliet, The Curious Creative x

Ps I now have a couple of spaces in my Friday Creative Writing Club, which normally runs on a Friday evening at 6pm, but I might be changing it to the afternoon instead, if this is something that you would be interested in, please click on the link for more information and testimonials, thank you.

PPs We are also opening up the doors again for WOW Wednesday Accountability Membership – the nurturing accountability helping you to focus on your goals and grow. The first session is always free, so if you want to find out more and access a free session, please click here.

PPPs Just thought I’d pop this in there for avid fiction readers, the new Lisa Jewell book is out and each year I save this for my Summer holidays as a real reading treat because I always know how good it will be, and each year she just gets better and better. I’m 3/4 through this one and absolutely gripped!

When opportunity knocks – be ready to go with your gut

Hello everyone, how are you doing? Enjoying the sunshine, I hope?

So firstly, apologies for the radio silence, it wasn’t intentional, I just got crazy busy with lots of new opportunities, and then once you’ve not been in the saddle for a while, it becomes a little unnerving to get back in it. So today I’ve told myself enough is enough and to just get on with it and practice what I preach to many others!

It was also prompted by a friend of mine who was also having the same issue, and she wrote a great blog about it here, if you fancy a read of that too.

In essence the last few months have been a bit ‘off plan’ in that the part of my work that I see less as a constant income stream and more of a hobby that sells sometimes, suddenly gained some momentum and as someone who always says ‘yes’ to good opportunities, and worries about the practicalities later, I found myself in a mad creative ‘making’ phase.

To be honest this felt really good, as I hadn’t created new pieces of artwork for some time. It was a bit like the days gone by where art exhibitions actually happened, and you prepared for them! Added to this and some insider knowledge from Nigel, one of the artist members of our WOW Accountability Group, and hey presto I’m suddenly selling my work in not 1 but 4 local businesses!

It wasn’t quite as simple as that of course, but as soon as Nigel had shared about these venues, I paid them a visit, because when it comes to retailers on the hunt for new artists, you need to work fast and sell yourself, and the work. Remember people buy from people, it’s all about building those lasting positive relationships.

And I do enjoy this part because it has to feel right for me to partner with my kind of people. When it comes to small independent businesses, they all work differently; some like to be organised and you may have an informal contract that states what you are both offering, some are much more laid back and like to build personal trust instead. Either way, I always recommend putting down on paper / email what you’ve both agreed and then there’s no room for error on pricing, stock replenishing or whether you can offer bespoke pieces to their customers. It just makes things a lot easier for all parties to have something to refer back to.

But more importantly than that, it’s about finding a good connection with the owner, liking, and believing in their businesses, their ethos, and their own personable approach. For example, the first business was Joys Coffee House, in Kirkburton, where we’d already agreed to host our WOW Wednesday face to face meetings, once we were allowed after covid restrictions.

Ryan and his brother took over the café from Miriam, where we originally hosted WOW, and so it felt good to return to this magical place where it all began, and thankfully they had a similar approach to Miriam, in that not only is it a café, but also a place that supports other local businesses by selling their wares.

So, they were happy to take a selection of needlefelts and my cards, to add to their other stockists. It’s an all-round win-win, we support their business by bringing in a big group on a Wednesday, who definitely like good coffee and brunch, and we have a lovely space to hold our meetings in and sell our creations.

Next up was the new business, Unity Yard, located just outside Holmfirth’s Centre. Holmfirth has an increasingly arty vibe for anyone who doesn’t know it, it’s not all Nora Batty memorabilia! And Unity Yard has taken up a large space that used to be a fabric mill. The owner, Julia, is as mad as box of frogs (in a good way) and we hit it off immediately!

She’s now collected artwork from over 70 local artists, added in a living wall of plants for sale and gorgeous bunches of flowers, lots of crafty gifts and squishy sofas and a relaxed corner at one end where you can relax with a coffee and cake and pick up one of the many books to read in her cute make-shift library.

The whole place is just amazing, and I’m so glad that I am a small part of it! In-fact I could easily set up a part-time office there or some creative workshops (watch this space, I’m working on that!). Currently I sell my cards, framed needlefelts and brand-new framed grasses editions and prints too.

As well as Julia, there are the young helpers, volunteers (one of which is a neighbour from 16 years ago, who I hadn’t seen since then, what are the chances?!) and local artists who pop in with new pieces or for a coffee, so there is always someone to chat to. I know that making this connection will have a big impact on me and where the CCC goes!

And then there is the Eco Hub at Emley, whose owners Charlotte and Lou are now also members of WOW and once again it’s another treasure discovered! As it suggests, the Eco Hub is all about supporting sustainable living, encouraging us to re-use, re-cycle, re-love items and use eco-friendly products, such as cleaning materials etc.

And finally, another local village that I love is Denby Dale, famous for the largest pies, the viaduct and all-round lovely country village. Here, there is a unique shop called Utterly Yorkshire that Carole and her family took over last year. If you have Yorkshire loving folk in your family or friends, then this is the shop for you! There are lots of unique county gifts on offer, including a selection of my needlefelts too, which of course depict Yorkshire landscapes and felt like another great fit for this work!

What is also really lovely about all these new connections, is that it followed on from a wonderful day out with Charlotte (another WOW Member – check out her gorgeous guest house – The Norfolk House Scarlet Hen) to see my small business hero – Holly Tucker.

She and her team went on a UK tour a few weeks back, to go and see 100 small businesses up and down the country and one of her stops was at Hebden Bridge, not too far from where I live. So, I was absolutely determined to finally meet her, after narrowly missing this chance at the conversations of inspiration live event in Manchester (the queue was a mile long and we had to get the train back!).

Thankfully, Charlotte was an equally big fan, and we had THE BEST DAY out ever! Not only did we get to meet her, but we were on the Insta live she did on her big stripey bus, she signed her book for us (Do what you love, love what you do), and we had a lovely chat and plenty of photos with her. She was every bit as lovely and inspirational as I knew she would be, with that boundless ‘Holly Hurricane’ energy, that’s she’s famous for! Her team were bloody brilliant too.

What came across though was her absolute passion and determination to support small businesses and champion all that they do, which she did in spades that week and beyond. Her energy is infectious and has made me all the more determined to continue my support too, as well as keep pushing with the CCC, moving forwards and making the most of these opportunities.

So, if you are ever in doubt whether to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to something, go with your heart and gut, if it feels good, do it and don’t worry if it was not part of your original plan.

As small creative businesses we have the ability to be flexible and act fast on these opportunities. Not only does it feel good, but from experience it always leads to more or other connections and that is how you build your business community, little by little.

Plus, building that community, in turn sparks more creative conversation and therefore more inspiration. Last year I began working with grasses for my art pieces and this year on my walks, watching them blowing in the breeze, it sparked new ideas for colour combinations, resulting in the pictures further up this post, imprinted on black and giving a way more modern feel. My new retailers love them, and I feel like I’m finally finding a little niche idea as an artist, which feels like a huge step forwards on this creative journey.

After visiting Holly in Hebden Bridge, we were also lucky enough to see designer Hannah Nunn’s studio, she has a big passion for nature too and we totally geeked out on grasses, I think she termed it a being a ‘meadow-geek’ afterwards and I’ll happily be called that any day!

I hope this has inspired you to grasp those opportunities, whether that be something external or simply an internal spark of an idea of something you fancy trying. I love the idea that I can take something as simple as a beautiful flowering grass stem and turn it into something unique for customer’s walls, bringing a little nature inside to appreciate when they walk by.

Until next time, which hopefully won’t be as long, enjoy the craziness of the UK Summer holidays, parents I am with you, and I hope you get some creative, restful time to yourself in-between the entertaining, feeding and taxi-driving!

Juliet, The Curious Creative x

P.s Don’t forget, I’m always posting tips and tricks on Instagram, so head on over there and follow to keep up to date with all the CCC news.

Also, here’s what has been entertaining me recently;

Watching:

Clarkson’s Farm – so entertaining and absolutely hilarious! This is such a great watch, with many other characters than Jeremy and even has some poignant and emotional moments too.

Reading:

The Hostage – Clare Mackintosh’s long-awaited new thriller – diving into this one!

Listening to:

Still so many podcasts but in particular ‘Conversations of Inspiration’ mentioned earlier – it cannot fail to make you feel more motivated and ‘Postcards from Midlife’ – funny and fascinating in equal measures!

I also signed up for Martha Beck’s FREE masterclass on 5 paths to your purpose which was an inspirational listen on the early morning swim run today! Well worth signing up for.

Part two of 100 lessons of a creative blogger

Hello! Hope you have had a good week and are enjoying getting through the next milestone of lockdown, and being back inside for a coffee at least, which is just as well in this weather! What is going on? Where is the sun?!

Anyway, meanwhile I’m back for Part 2 of my top 100 list of all sorts to do with creativity and wellbeing! And thank you for all the lovely feedback on my first one, many of you said it was useful which is great as that is always my aim!

This week I’m focussing on the following Top 10:

  • Favourite creative books
  • Favourite creative things I love to do
  • Favourite creative entrepreneurs / hobbyists
  • Creative achievements I’m most proud of
  • Creative ambitions I still have
Always building up my book collection!

1) – Top 10 creative books

  • Big Magic – Elizabeth Gilbert – the bible of creativity an absolute MUST read for everyone! This book gave me the shivers and is THE one I’d take to a desert island!
  • Collecting Conversations – Sam Bunch – everything about this book is beautiful, part memoir, part extraordinary insight into the seemingly ordinary conversations we all have – fascinating
  • Hashtag Authentic – Sara Tasker – The font of all knowledge of insights into Instagram and how to create beautiful photography, Sara was the first to write about the complexities of this platform to help us all get our heads around it.
  • Conscious Creativity, Look, Connect, Create – Phillipa Stanton (of 5ftinf on Instagram), This is such a beautiful book and will appeal to literally everyone, bursting with colour and inspirational prompts to encourage you to tap into your curiosity and create in a way you may have never thought of before.
  • The Wild Remedy – How Nature Mends Us – A diary – Emma Mitchell, I’ve come across Emma in various magazines admiring her beautiful sketches, capturing the seasons for Country Living and Breathe Magazine, among others. Here she delves deep into the seasons, explaining how nature can heal us and help our mental well-being – a woman after my own heart as that’s what I champion via my Insta account @soothedbynature. Plus, as you’d expect, it is beautifully illustrated.
  • The Artists Way – Julia Cameron (New Edition), Since its first publication, The Artist’s Way has inspired many people on their creative journeys, Julia guides readers in uncovering problems and pressure points that may be restricting their creative flow and offers techniques to open up opportunities for self-growth and self-discovery. A revolutionary programme for personal renewal, The Artist’s Way will help get you back on track, and rediscover your passions.
  • The Joy of Watercolour – 40 happy lessons for Painting the World Around You – Emma Block,. For those at the start of their painting with watercolour journey, this is such a simple, modern, step by step book that’s really easy to follow. This is what I used to create my cactus picture!
  • The Self-Care Revolution – Suzy Reading. This is more of a self-care book but important none the less for the likes of us creatives who work from home and often get so engrossed we forget that occasionally we need to look after ourselves! It’s a brilliantly written book, split into different sections, using the vitality wheel as a focus so you can work out where your attention needs to be. It’s easy to get through and just makes total sense! She’s recently released one about Self Care in tough times too, following the pandemic.
  • Hegarty on Creativity – John Hegarty. At his agency BBH (one of the most awarded advertising agencies) John and his team devised the Levi’s Campaign for black jeans, featuring a black sheep going the opposite way in a herd of white sheep and a strapline saying, ‘When the world zigs, zag’ i.e., always seek to be unique and a message as creatives, I think we can all identify with.
  • The Lost Words – Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris. If you love words, beautiful art, and nature then this book is for you – simple and exquisite poetry that leaves you feeling nourished and soothed.

2)  My 10 top creative things I love to do….

  • Daily Nature Walks – These are the fundamental, most important part of the creative process for me and where it all started with my photography account @soothedbynature, I’m a total nature geek, and it feeds into everything I do
  • Create the prompts for my Creative Writing Groups – I find inspiration for these everywhere, and I love seeing them play out with my participants.
  • My own creative writing – from prompts that I follow at a local group, to coming up with pieces for the Yorkshire Writers Lunch Blog that I belong to, and of course that ‘still in draft’ novel, I relish the challenge! Click on the link to see my latest YWL post last week
  • Photography – there aren’t many days where I don’t take a photo, I’m only sad that my children no longer allow it! The dog happily obliges though. It’s become such a creative habit that I look at things often with a photographical eye and a frame in mind, it’s a genuine passion.
  • Ink drawing, Line and Wash paintings and typographical art – I love the preciseness of black ink, there’s no room for mistakes and it takes high levels of concentration
  • Painting with different paints – I’m still learning and understanding how different paints work, from acrylic, to watercolour and brusho – I’ve never tried oil yet though!
  • Canva! This is a new creative addiction– from creating graphic prompts for our WOW Accountability Membership or designing new quote graphics for feedback I’ve had, like above. Canva is so addictive so be warned, you can easily lose an afternoon playing!
  • Doodling, list making, mind-mapping and vision boarding – even just this simple but physical act of using a pen, day in day out, making marks, I realise gives me a buzz, there’s something very therapeutic about it. And sticking bits together to create the perfect vision board to inspire you throughout the year is so much fun!
  • Needle felting – a relatively new skill but I love trying to improve it and enjoy putting the different colours together to make a scenic landscape with character. I now sell these creations on here too, so have a look if you fancy some unique artwork
  • Writing my none- fiction book which I started in lockdown and is part memoir – about my own personal journey with creativity from childhood to now AND part practical tips for those who want to get started, and inspired by the 100 Blogs I’ve done!

3) – Top 10 Creative Entrepreneurs or Hobbyists, these are obviously just my personal favourite on Instagram, but if you love browsing creative accounts for inspiration, I’m sure you’ll like these too.

  1. Lucy Peltier of @lucyludreams master embroiderer, abs lovely person, creating beautiful work and kits
  2. Hannah Nunn of @hannahnunnstudio I met Hannah on a photography course and have literally worshipped her designs ever since – she loves all the grasses and meadow shapes just like me
  3. Emma Mitchell @silverpebble2 makes beautiful flat-lays of natures goodies together with gorgeous calligraphy explanations of each item
  4. Shannon @mockingbird_makes amazing crocheting talent (see her yogis collections!) PLUS a creative and wellbeing ambassador, sharing her warm guiding light with fellow creatives, and building a community of meaningful connections
  5. Emma @emmawarrenskies Emma creates the most beautiful pieces of memory artwork for those who have lost people close to them, and Emma has an amazing resilience story too, as told on Emma Isaacs ‘Creative Ways’ podcast (search the episode) – very special indeed
  6. Emma @emmjanecollection beautiful nature paintings on drift wood – a devine collection
  7. John @johnharrison my art club hero! I learned the line and wash style from him via Shelley Art Group, when he did a demo there. He shares his process often and via YouTube too – amazing if you want to develop your own skill or try something new
  8. Jessie @jessie_ford_art bright abstract art and illustrations that just make me happy
  9. Cheryl @wellbeingauthor Cheryl is a really inspiring author who has written many well-being books and thoroughly understands how important creativity is in your life
  10. Verity @panzaandfink a new account I’ve discovered who is doing a collaboration with my friend @myhousecandy and what an inspiring woman Verity is!

4) – Top 10 Creative achievements I’m most proud of

  • Practicing my art skills (whilst thoroughly enjoying it) so that I became good enough to sell my art to real people via exhibitions and now local retailers, I’ve still a long way to go in developing my skills but it makes me feel warm and fuzzy when I see my cards or pieces in shops
  • Daring to put together my first writing workshop at Miriam’s Kitchen Table and it receiving great feedback, this has continued into the Creative Writing Club that I now run online, which I love doing
  • Sue Walker (Editor in Chief of Psychologies) believing in me and asking me to be interviewed, live, whilst still on Chemo and then creating content for the Instagram Lives that followed, which received really lovely feedback 😀
  • The collection of tens of thousands of photos for my @soothedbynature account, it’s given me an even higher appreciation of nature and the seasons, and I get lovely feedback from my followers – people enjoying my images, feeling encouraged to go out and explore on walks, is what it’s all about
  • Publishing my creative writing short stories on the Yorkshire Writers Lunch Blog, it feels a privilege to be among such talented writers!
  • Taking the seed of an idea in the middle of the night, to creating our accountability membership WOW Wednesdays, growing our support through lockdown, and helping our members to move forwards with their own big dreams
  • Taking my passion for creativity from writing about it in here, to getting braver and more visible, sharing my story and enthusiasm via the podcasts; Two Northern Lasses, The Midlife Manifesto, interview with Eleanor Snare and the latest one with Emma Isaacs on Creative Ways
  • Creating my website from absolute scratch and teaching myself WordPress – I am not technologically gifted, but I did enjoy designing the branding and content!
  • Styling the Cabin! For once it was ALL my decisions, and I LOVED making it my own, plus of course it being shown off in Prima magazine this month!
  • Receiving the highest mark in Uni for a writing piece I did on a personal experience. I chose my parents divorce, and all the drama that surrounded it! It had to be marked by 3 tutors because it was the highest, and they all made a real fuss of me over it! It gave me the self-belief that I could write and evoke emotion, and I’ve not stopped since.

And finally….10 Creative ambitions I still have;

  1. To learn how to do abstract paintings (I’ve signed up to an @thisisartify course ready to give this a go)
  2. To finish the none-fiction book….and publish it!
  3. To help others on a 1-2-1 basis by becoming a Creative Coach and Mentor
  4. To help host a collaborative creative event and a new idea of bringing creative parties to your own home
  5. To continue to learn all different art techniques – I like to give anything a go, crocheting however is my nemesis!
  6. To exhibit at Staithes Art Festival and Holmfirth Art Festival, one day!
  7. To eventually run creative retreats, in the UK by the sea, somewhere like Staithes would be ideal!
  8. To then run creative retreats, abroad, at a beautiful venue like Elena of @elenapellecchia58 ’s Villa in Tuscany OR have our own Italian villa one day, if we win the lottery, but how cool would that be?!
  9. To still have a go at completing a novel
  10. To never stop being creatively curious and continue writing this Blog!

So, that’s the end of this big 100 list, which has been a celebration of getting this far! If you haven’t read the first part you can find that here, and it has many links back to previous subject posts that you may find helpful.

Essentially this quote is what the Blog, and all my projects and adventures have been about,
being curious enough to do something, investigate and further boost my passion and purpose

Soon I’ll be back with more of the ‘normal’ stuff but also, if there is anything at all that you would like me to look into or write about more, please do get in touch in the comments below or on social media, because as you know, I want to help support you to a more creatively enriched way of living!

 And if you would like more regular doses of inspiration, don’t forget to follow me on socials:

@thecuriouscreativeclub on Instagram

The Curious Creative Club on Facebook

Until next time, keep playing, creating and dreaming big…

Juliet, The Curious Creative x

PS, I still have a few places left in my Creative Writing Club, if you fancy trying something different, using your imagination and ideas in a super friendly and fun group, then why not give it a try, see here for more details

100 lessons from the land of a Creative Blogger… on my 100th Blog post!

PART 1

Firstly apologies, I honestly don’t know where April went! Since the children have gone back to school, it has felt very busy, getting used to new routines, back to the kids activities and finally getting out, out, with friends into lovely, local beer gardens! Plus, we have a lot of birthdays in April!

So, it feels a long time since I was last here. However, there has been a lot going on in the background too with The CCC which is exciting but more on that later (in part 2)!

But first as you will have seen, this is my 100th Blog in just over 2 years on the subject of Creativity and Wellbeing, and I am thrilled to bits that I have never run out of things to say on this fascinating subject! So I thought I would do things a bit differently and create a top 100 list of things I’ve either learned, read, listened to and the many people I have been inspired by which has got me to where I am today.

BUT, this post was getting so long that I’ve decided to split it into 2, over 2 weeks, so that it doesn’t take you all day to read!

So, throughout these 2 Blogs, I’ll include links to previous ones related to that particular topic, so that you can read further on it should you wish to – a kind of celebration of all that I’ve covered so far!

I’ll split the categories into 10 x 10, (5 today and 5 next week) so you can pick up and read whenever at your leisure and easily refer back to the key things you are interested in.

So here we go…

1 – Top 10 wellness benefits of finding your creative mojo

  • Doing something creative is an act of much needed self-care, something just for you with no other responsibilities, other than to enjoy yourself!
  • It enables you to drift into the ‘Flow’ state and stop that whirring brain, it’s a form of active meditation and is great for mental wellness and focussing your thoughts on just the activity in front of you
  • The act of creating gives you a sense of purpose, there’s an end goal, you have something tangible to show for your efforts
  • Which leads to a sense of achievement that you completed something potentially challenging or a newly learned skill, building pride in your work
  • It gives you confidence, especially when starting out and unsure of what to try, the more you do it, the more your self-confidence grows
  • It opens you up to a whole new world of people who enjoy doing the same thing – the vast and interesting creative community. It gives you a sense of belonging to a team of people with similar interests and fosters new relationships
  • It enables you to learn new skills and become more adventurous. Once you’ve worked out one creative skill, it’s more likely that you will go on to try other new creative activities. It’s all about being creatively curious!
  • It can lead to a whole new way of life, provide opportunities for connection by joining creative hobby groups, or may even lead you to starting your own creative business
  • You can pass your skills on, sharing what you’ve learned for the benefit of others perhaps through workshops of your own, increasing self-worth, purpose and creating that sense of ‘giving something back’ to your community
  • Physically it lowers your heart rate and cortisol levels (stress hormone) and releases all the happy hormones such as endorphins, serotonin, making you feel physically calm and content, as well as mentally.

Now you know how good it is for you, don’t just take my word for it…there’s a whole range of experts out there, who understand how magical creative living is too.

2 – Top 10 Creative, Creative Business and Wellbeing Podcasts that will inspire you.

Podcasts have become an important habit in my life that never fail to feed my motivation and creative energy. See them as mini pep talks to keep you going, and especially good for dog walks! Below is a good, varied mix of creative artists, creative business coaches, health and wellbeing and interior design too who inspire me each week with their deep and wonderful conversations.

  • The Creative Ways Podcast – Emma Isaccs from @emmaisaccsdesign – I was lucky enough to be interviewed by Emma last week for the podcast, you can catch the episode here!
  • Elevate Your Curiosity Podcast – Joanne Griffin (trend expert)
  • Conversations of Inspiration – Holly Tucker
  • Dream and Do – Nicola Rae Wickham of @alifemoreinspired
  • The Great Indoors – Sophie Robinson and Kate Watson Smythe
  • Creative Women International – Philly Page
  • Braveheart’s Rising – Lisa Pascoe
  • Feel Better, Live More – Dr Rangan Chaterjee
  • On Brand With – Deborah Ogden
  • Dream and Do – Nicky Raby

There are many more great podcasts I listen to; you can check out more on the Curious Cave page or read more about them here.

3 – The 10 thieves of creativity

I have gone into some of the below in detail before on this Blog, but I will also do another post on this, because these are all huge subjects in themselves. But if you recognise yourself in any of the below traits or thoughts, you are not alone, and there is rarely a perfect road to creative enlightenment without one of these bugbears showing up along the way!

The good news is they can all be pushed aside, ploughed through or kicked into the gutter, with some positive mindset and self-awareness work.

The undeniable truth is your thoughts, are just thoughts.

They are not facts, so it’s all about how you respond to what your pesky mind is telling you, and I know that is easier said than done sometimes, BUT IT IS POSSIBLE, so if you can accept that, you are half-way there and I’ll be discussing this more in future so watch this space.

Deepak Chopra Quotes on Life  #healthyliving	#happiness #mindfulness #quotestoliveby #quotes #quotesoftheday- The best use of imagination is creativity. The worst use of imagination is anxiety.
  • Procrastination – The act of putting things off / distracting yourself with other less important tasks
  • Comparisonitis – Comparing yourself with others, believing them to be ‘doing better’ than you
  • Perfectionism – an endless quest for things to be perfect, rather than done is good enough – which is why I preach Practice makes progress NOT perfection!
  • What if I fail / embarrass myself – fear of failure and humiliation about the end result or doing things ‘wrong’
  • Imposter Syndrome – not understanding how you’ve got to where you are today, believing it to be a fluke or that you will get found out eventually!
  • I haven’t got time, I’m too busy! – Lack of good, solid planning, and that’s coming from someone who never thought they had the time, I promise!
  • I haven’t got money for materials – basic materials cost little, or you could solve this issue by swapping with other creatives.
  • I’m just scared to try – Fear is False Evidence Appearing Real – there are effective techniques to get around this to stop it holding you back
  • I feel like creative time is selfish – simple, NO IT ISN’T! By feeding your own needs and embracing some creative self-care it will serve you AND give you more energy to deal with ‘life’ responsibilities
  • I don’t know where to begin – Then let me help you – click on the LIVES here for ideas!
  • 4 – 10 Ways to prepare well for Creative Time
  • Book it in, make the time – planning it in means it’s more likely to happen, just as you would with physical exercise, this is your mental self-care progamme!
  • Find a comfortable space – somewhere relaxing, not in front of a pile of washing up that will just distract you
  • This is YOUR time – Make sure your lovely family, know that you are busy and are not to be interrupted, nothing destroys creative time more than children yelling ‘Mum, where are my trainers?!’
  • Set the scene further if you wish, to enhance the experience, play some chilled music, light a candle, whatever gets you in the mood and acts like a creative trigger
  • What materials do you have? – Even if you only have a pen and a piece of paper, that is the beauty of creativity, you can start with the most basic materials.
  • Prepare your materials – If painting for example, get everything ready, clean your brushes if they need it, have everything to hand so you don’t have to keep breaking off  
  • Don’t worry about mess – ‘Craftermath’ as I like to call it is the sign of a good time! The ‘mess’ can be cleaned up later, not during the process
  • Drinks and snacks – Creating can be thirsty work, you can get ‘lost’ long beyond a mealtime, so have drinks and snacks on hand so you don’t have to stop, but do get up and stretch every now and again to avoid aching!
  • Look for inspiration / prompts – if you find staring at a blank page difficult, go in fully motivated and inspired with pictures from magazines, your own photos, a previous sketch you want to expand upon, or some writing prompts (you can find plenty on Pinterest or via Writers-online)
  • Ok, everything is in place and you are ready, so Just start…and repeat – consistent creative time is the ultimate goal to feeling all those great benefits above!

5 -10 things you could try right now!

A collection of yellow from Phillipa Stanton
  • Make a nature display – collect pinecones, leaves, feathers, twigs and find an old glass bottle or vase for a rustic display, check out @silverpebble2 for ideas
  • Write a short story using prompts or write a letter to someone who needs it via Give A Few Words – click for details
  • Cook / Bake something new, if you’re like me you’ll have plenty recipes still to try in a cookbook you haven’t opened in a while!
  • Create a 3D picture – with things collected from around the house, let your imagination run wild, see @5ftinf for some colourful  inspiration
  • Start a photography project – such as taking interesting doorways in your local town, like @seaside_kate does
  • Do some gardening – it’s basically like colouring in in a different way, creating a masterpiece in your garden for you to marvel at every day
  • Make up a dance routine – if that’s your thing or of course follow one on TikTok!
  • Make a video about something you feel passionate about – what puts fire in your belly? Use your voice and values as a means to be creative
  • Create a vision board – the ultimate creative way to spend an afternoon, that will have a positive affect long after you’ve completed it!
  • Design an art piece incorporating your Word of the Year, so you can place it somewhere visible and it have a more prominent affect.
Emma Mitchell’s nature displays

So, this is my first fifty learnings, tips, and processes and I hope you’ve enjoyed a little insight into the last few years of blogging experience and research!

Next week, I will cover my top 10:

  • Favourite creative books
  • Favourite creative things I love to do
  • Favourite creative entrepreneurs / hobbyists
  • Creative Ambitions I still have
  • And one other, yet to be decided – feel free to suggest anything you’d like to know in the comments!
I’ve been planting this bank holiday!

Until next time, I hope you’ve enjoyed the Bank Holiday weekend and not long to go now before more restrictions are lifted! Bring. It. On! Have a great week!

Juliet, The Curious Creative x

Ps Main image and the other ones from the cabin are by Claire Wood for Prima Magazine where I was lucky enough to be featured in their issue this month! In shops now!

PPs I currently have a few spaces in my creative writing groups, click on the link to find out more.