At the beginning of December, my mum and I drove to nearby Nailsea to attend a Christmas wreath workshop hosted by Sarah from The Petal Emporium. With fairy lights strung from the rafters, and tea and mince pies waiting for us upon arrival, the Tithe Barn provided a beautiful, festive setting for a morning of fun and creativity. I was hoping to come away with a handmade wreath I could be proud of, but I left with more than that. Here are some creative lessons learned during my time among the moss, foliage, pinecones and ribbon…
If You Want to Master Something New, You Must First Embrace Being a Beginner
I’ve always wanted to try making my own Christmas wreath, but I was convinced I’d be useless at it. Even as I started assembling the first few elements, my internal monologue was telling me I couldn’t do it.
I’ve written copy for quite a few florists over the years. I have a deep appreciation for the work they do. Knowing the level of skill and artistry involved probably had something to do with these feelings of self-doubt. But the belief I needed to be on their level right away was all my own work. Couldn’t I just make an average looking wreath and be happy with it?
Needing to be immediately good at something, and giving up when I’m not, is a habit I’m consciously trying to unlearn. It also shows up in the form of procrastination and avoidance. If I don’t try, I can’t ‘fail’. This means I miss out on things I might enjoy. By not allowing myself to be a beginner, I never give myself the chance to master something new.
In the end, I brought home a beautiful Christmas wreath. Sure, it could be better, but it’s a respectable first attempt. Seeing it on our front door every day reminds me that trying, learning, failing and improving over time are all part of living a creative life.
You Are the Magic Ingredient, and Nobody Can Create Quite Like You
Despite working with the same materials, choosing foliage from the same selection, and following identical instructions, no two wreaths looked the same. In fact, as I wandered around the barn, I was struck by just how different they all were. Each wreath was as unique as the person who made it.
When I deliver writing workshops, one of the things I tell people about blogging for their business is that it’s OK if a post has been done before. Your voice, opinions and ideas will make it unique. The post you’re reading now is another good example of this. I’m not the first person to write about creativity and I certainly won’t be the last. But nobody else can share my perspective on these things. Hopefully, that’s what makes it worth reading!
Carving Out Time for Creativity is a Form of Self-Care
For me, the benefits of attending Sarah’s workshop went far beyond having a pretty, festive wreath to hang on my front door. As we drove back towards Bristol, I felt calmer and more relaxed than I had in a long time. To some degree, whatever you’re doing, taking a break from the usual domestic duties is always going to have that affect. But using my time off to do something creative seemed to have a big impact on my overall mental health.
Research supports this view. Creativity has been shown to reduce anxiety, depression, and stress. It can also help you process trauma. Creative acts like crafting can help focus the mind and they’ve even been compared to meditation due to their calming effect on the brain and body.
‘We should do that more often,’ I said to my mum. ‘Try new things. Learn new crafts.’
Mum agreed. Yesterday, I sent her a link to a pottery workshop.
- None of the above was new information for me, more a timely reminder to continue prioritising creativity and regularly check-in with my thoughts and feelings about the things I’m creating. I’m yet to set any concrete goals for next year, but I’ve got a feeling creating, crafting and making is going to feature heavily.
Love Audrey xxx
P.S. Glennon Doyle on Creativity, Chemistry and Claiming Your Joy