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Self-Care

What is ‘Creative Space’ And How To Make Your Own

At 9:30 am amid our most chaotic week of the year in fashion and e-commerce, my colleagues and I meet virtually for something so much more important than sales: to talk creativity. This bimonthly meeting is dear to my heart; we call it ‘creative space’. As Twyla Tharp says in her book, The Creative Habit, creativity needs and deserves dedicated time with uninhibited room to grow, expand, evolve, be destroyed, and be created again. It must have the wilderness in order to be wild. Thus, implementing these pockets of time into our busy schedules, whether in big or brief bouts, solely for our creativity yields better results and – in my experience – so much more satisfaction. It opens the floodgates for creative flow to occur, the very gates created by such expectations as deadlines, metrics, and money.

Tharp writes:

“Creativity is a habit, and the best creativity is the result of good work habits.”

So our team of insanely talented designers, art directors, and humbly myself (the writer) commit this time to bonding over what we are making, why we are making it, what is inspiring us, and where we’re headed as a team. It’s a no-holds-barred council for rapping on anything from hurdles and creative blocks to sharing what we’ve learned and what we aspire to master. Beyond teammates, we are friends, and this sacred time is as much for the spirit of our work as it is for the spirit of our souls. It’s the only meeting free of pressure and demand for results and is solely for the purpose of celebrating our imaginative, ambitious, and wild true selves in a way that bridges our lives with our responsibilities.

This particular morning, the agenda was short: share a few stills from a recent photoshoot, and keep the mood high before a long holiday weekend. Unbeknownst to these women, my beloved and I had become completely addicted to a game called ‘We’re Not Really Strangers’. The game found me not unlike a spark of creativity might: when I was least expecting it, and out of nowhere. Buying books online, I was prompted to choose a free game to receive with my order, and fortuitously, serendipitously, it was the first option in the lineup. I chose it without much thought, which would be the last non-thoughtful moment the game would ever know of me. It was an unintentional but highly aligned manifestation, divine guidance toward our pursuit of the deepest trust, knowing, and connection. We played the game on our dozens of 1+ hour car rides to visit our respective families, taking turns answering and finding it near impossible to get past even a single card without crying tears of joy, love, and awe. His answers revealed the depths of our connection, one that has spanned two and a half decades now, and that set me back in my car seat. His beholding of memories from the day we met that has long since escaped me, his appreciation for habits I didn’t know I had. But mostly I found myself in overwhelming gratitude for the opportunity to share my own appreciation of him, for his power and his strength, his gentle spirit and his fearless heart, in a myriad of places he hadn’t recognized worthy in himself. We left the game feeling more connected, and yet like the teenagers we had started from talking for hours on the phone without fear, worry, or armor.

The questions evoked a new inquisitiveness in my already curious nature; I now hungered to only ask the kind of questions that made people cock their heads to the side and look to the sky as they explored long-forgotten cabinets in their brains. I loved to watch them form slowly out loud a map to things both primitive and completely organic, often everpresent, yet just as often totally ignored. The kind of questions that people first reply to with “huh…wow…I guess, um…” trailing off into answers they themselves don’t know where will end. And almost always do end with: “if that makes sense?”. Which, even when worded in the most nonsensical ways, always makes sense and always resonates. Because feelings and intuitions that come up from these kinds of questions don’t need to follow rules; they exist on planes greater than grammar or expectation.

To my absolute delight, today I am offered the chance to conjure and prompt such questions to my team; a band of women so powerful and inventive, so awe-inducing and driven, they make me a better creative on a daily. They have humored me with the chance to turn our creative space away from physical creative acts and into a dialogue about creativity.

I would love for you to ask these questions of yourself, journaling your answers and allowing yourself unencumbered creative space to find what might be true for you of your creative spirit. Or share them with friends, your team, or whomever ignites your own creative fires…

 

Questions for your creative space:

Grab a journal, or a voice note, and free-write or freely speak without censoring:

What is the biggest fear that comes up when you’re trying to be creative

What did creativity and being creative help you heal through or go through recently? (Big life event, trauma, etc)

Where do you go to get inspired? What are your favorite sources?

How does your creativity work? What are its habits?

How does being creative feel to you? In your head? In your body?

When did you first realize you wanted to be creative?

How have you grown in this job? How would you like to grow next?

If your creative self were a color, what would it be and why? A place? A period in history?

In what ways are you hardest on yourself when trying to be creative? What tangible actions can you take to be kinder to yourself? In what ways do you champion yourself most?

What is your favorite way to be creative outside of your job?

How can we support you or hold space for you? Are there resources we can share with you, thoughts and energy we can send your way, etc.?

Originally published on RachaelYahne.substack.com, photography by Ashley Jo, Raw Photo & Film

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by Rachael Yahne

I'm a writer, award-winning blogger, essayist, and speaker published by Cosmopolitan, Seventeen, The Seattle Times, The Huffington Post, two books, and my own various sites and projects. At age 17, I fought stage 4B Lymphoma cancer, the experience of which continues to shape both the way I live and the way I write. My work is part personal story, part skepticism, always respectful of the grit it takes to be an authentic human being, woman, and creative. I've also worked as a fashion journalist, won 2012 Fashion Blog of the Year Award in Seattle, spent a few years as a fashion PR gal, and served a year in Americorp.


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