"I want to remember and remind others that our creativity is our breath in life. It is a turning point for when we feel lost, and it is a place to find rest and refuge. Creativity can be a place to connect and bond. We can dabble because we love to create for creation’s sake" —LINDSAY SWOBODA
After years of navigating the cycles of service member spouse life, there was a time when I gave up on creativity. I forgot the worth of making. Slowly I found my way back by blogging, but I put conditions on my craft. In an effort to control something, anything, I looked at each essay I posted, each story I pitched, blanket I made, or sketch I scribbled, and judged it by likes and stats. I would sit down to try a new medium and wonder, “Can I sell this?” I started to believe that the only reason to make was to monetize my creativity.
This past year, I have been working on breaking the mental cycle on money. My mind still spins on how I might monetize my crafts one day, but I want to remember and remind others that our creativity is our breath in life. It is a turning point for when we feel lost, and it is a place to find rest and refuge. Creativity can be a place to connect and bond. We can dabble because we love to create for creation’s sake, with no ulterior motive other than we love it. We are uniquely made to add beauty to this world, with or without financial gain.
There may come a time when it is the right move to spin our work into profit, but the maker's life endures beyond that. It requires the courage to try new things. I am slowly learning to embrace my mom’s spirit and the love language of making. There is purpose in the pursuit.
If you are interested in reclaiming your voice and confidence, it is time to dabble with different mediums and see what resonates. The list below will help guide you. Try one of these creativity builders or set yourself on a journey to try them all!
My hope is that you will begin to delight in dabbling as I have, and in turn set a spark in motion. You may find your next business venture, or you may learn to add a precious memory to your family’s history by capturing it in words. You may someday sell an art piece, or it may hang and be admired on your wall at home. Maybe your sewing work will be seen in a craft show, or maybe it will simply warm your children’s tiny toes. Your creativity journey may even lead to connections with other makers and in turn, you will encourage the flame of dabbling in a new friend’s heart. In the words of Mary Poppins, “Can you imagine that?!”
Rumors of Water, Thoughts on Creativity & Writing by L.L. Barkat
- “It is important to take the time to move body and soul.”
- Rumors of Water explores creativity with essays that unpack where inspiration strikes best—in the everyday moments of life. Barkat is an honest and vulnerable guide who writes in the midst of motherhood.
One Beautiful Dream by Jennifer Fulwiller
- “As I watched my aging grandfather stare at my book with tears in his eyes, I thought again of those messages that attack women, from both within and without, the whisper that we shouldn’t pursue our dreams because we’re not talented enough or we’re too old or too young or we don’t have the perfect lives for it. It occurred to me now that when we let resistance hold us back, we’re not the only ones who suffer. Other people lose out, too.”
- This book is life-giving for those struggling to work on their own craft in the middle of busy seasons. It takes a village for Fulwiller to finish her book, and we get a front row seat as she learns to be humble enough to ask for help.
The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron
- “We’re the ones who buy the groceries. And we will pursue our art, we tell ourselves, when we have enough money to do it easily. And when will that be? Listening to the siren song of more, we are deaf to the still small voice waiting in our soul to whisper, ‘you’re enough.’”
- Julia Cameron takes brave participants through a 12-week journey to recover creativity from a variety of blocks, including, “limiting beliefs, fear, self-sabotage, jealousy, guilt, addictions, and other inhibiting forces, replacing them with artistic confidence and productivity.” Each week addresses a recovery point, assigns creativity exercises to dabble in and an accountability check-in. Grab a group of friends and explore this book together. You will finish with fresh perspectives.
Got Your Six: a 12-Month Journal for Military Spouses by Megan Casper and Alana Le
- “Everything in this journal was developed based on our experiences as military spouses—the lonely nights, the lost dreams, the utterly overwhelming deployments, the pain of starting over every time a new group of friends moves on to the next duty station...while it takes a special sort of person, we know firsthand it creates a special person.”
- While Got Your Six does not specifically cover creativity and making, it does encourage service member spouses to “speak your heart onto paper.” It is a powerful tool with guided prompts that allow readers to explore their personal service member spouse journeys, pausing to celebrate and work through struggles. No matter what season you find yourself in, this journal will meet you where you are at.
#the100dayproject: a free global art initiative that challenges participants to make every day for 100 days.
- Do you need to shake up your routine? Do you want to pursue the habit of making? #The100DayProject supports that goal. Find project details and a podcast at https://www.the100dayproject.org/. Globally, the project kicks off every year in the spring, but you can join in or begin at any point. The basics are to “pick something you want to do every day for the 100 days of the project. You'll post each instance of 100 on your Instagram account with the hashtag #The100DayProject. What can you do? Anything at all! Paint, draw, dance, knit, doodle, sing, brush your teeth.” There is more on what makes a good project on their website in the FAQ section.
Exhale: The Intersection of Creativity and Motherhood is a subscription experience with the writers of Coffee + Crumbs that includes podcast episodes, an intimate Facebook group, and writing exercises.
- If you are looking for support and community that can cheer you on during the busy season of raising children and limited making time, Exhale may be for you. Ashlee Gadd, Creator of Coffee + Crumbs and Exhale shared with Legacy Magazine that “Exhale is an online community designed to empower women to pursue creativity alongside motherhood, for the enrichment of both experiences. Our members are spread out all over the map, but find common ground in the belief that motherhood and art can coexist. We are writers and makers and dreamers and storytellers, committed to carving out space to make beautiful things in the midst of raising children, and encouraging each other along the way.”
- Ashlee has offered Legacy readers a special promo code for one free month of Exhale using the promo code LEGACY.