Sunday, 19 May 2013


In bed poorly probably means I am not in the best space to write a new blog post but I've had all this going round in my head for quite a while I thought it was as good a time as any to get it down on paper (as it were!)

To cut a long story short, I feel lost in my work. Lost in direction. I'm not quite sure what I am doing or where I am going and I have been feeling that way for quite a while now. Initially I put it down to grief, or depression (for those of you who don't know, my Dad died suddenly 18 months ago and I have been struggling to deal with it) but even now, more balanced on my anti-depressants I am still lost and still questioning what it is I want to be doing. And alongside that, I still don't believe in myself and my work either. 

I love sewing, and I love making and I love getting one of those ideas that I just need to drop everything to try out. And I love it when I've dropped everything, tried out that idea and it's worked. It's a good feeling. I feel lucky that I am able to do what it is I love doing but I just don't want to feel as if I am wasting this opportunity by not achieving my best.

I have a steady income of work, mostly personalised cushions or bespoke commissions, and as much as I love the fact I can create what people want, and feel so completely proud that they are happy with what I produce, I still feel like I am missing something. I feel as if I haven't found my 'thing' yet, almost as if I haven't found the direction I want to be going in. I'm not totally satisfied.

Although, the more new stuff I try, the more I feel I am losing even more direction and my portfolio of work seems cluttered and disjointed. I am just not sure which way I need to be going, and I'm not quite sure how to get on that path.

I have spoken with some of my creative friends about how I am feeling, and I have discovered that it isn't just me who feels this way. We all lose our direction at times, question what it is we are doing, and whether it is any good or not. It always surprises me, as I look at everyone else, and they always seem so 'sorted', so good and so focused. But it isn't always the case. We just do a good job of faking it!

And yet, when I speak to friends about their doubts I can always guide them in the right direction, or give them that push that they need. I can see where they need to be going, or help them see what they are doing *is* worth it. Why can't I do that for myself?

But, also I keep asking myself, does it really matter? Does it matter that I haven't found my way yet? Surely the whole process of being creative is to question and learn and discover? I guess it is healthy to be constantly striving to be better otherwise you are just kidding yourself. 

I think what I need to be doing is just to keep trying, keep working and keep questioning because I think that is the only way I can grow. And through growing I can find who it is I am, and what it is I want to achieve.


  1. Although i don't have any real sadness in my life as you have in the last while, i do feel like this most of the time. i think a lot of us do, reassuring to know its not just me! I just tell myself things will change, click into place, as i am sure they will for you x x

    1. Thank you Jo, I know you are right, it's just taking up too much space in my head at the moment and I had to get it out!! xx

  2. Life is a journey and it sounds like yours has been a bit tough recently. Keep going and be nice to yourself, all will fall into place xxx

  3. do you know I could of written this myself, its so wonderful that you shared these thoughts because your right we do fake it a lot, I think if more of us opened up then less of us would feel like we have to pretend. x

  4. I am sorry for the grief you feel over the loss of your dad. That kind of loss really can push us into making judgements and reassessments of our lives, in all areas. So, although your depression is controlled, it's quite likely that you are still feeling the effects of your loss - and of course your creative self will suffer most.
    Also, we had a long, cold and miserable winter, which didn't really finish until it should have been nearly summer. Such a dark and miserable spell of weather is bound to affect your sense of wellbeing (just as it has mine & most people I know).
    So when you put these things together, then any difficulty or struggle within your creative life will be magnified and brought into sharp focus for you - the muddles and struggles will seem more obvious and the successes will seem less important or meaningful.

    Your friends are right - we do all have these feelings, some or most of the time. The muddled, lost, confused feeling can fade away, especially in the face of a new project or idea; but it will come back sometimes - and there will be periods where it's overwhelming and we can feel totally at a loss, even unbearably sad and set adrift.
    Different people seem to have their own ways of approaching this problem. Some take a "creative holiday" and put away their crafting materials for a time, before coming back to have another go. Some keep plugging away, trusting that this is only a temporary struggle and they will come out the other side, with new idea, new enthusiasm, new inspiration. Some people take a literal holiday - perhaps somewhere where they can try a new creative skill.
    (That's a great idea, if you can afford the time and the money. I was lucky enough to be able to do that last year, in January 2012 - I went to Spain, to work at the studio of a lovely printmaking artist, who was running some lino-cutting courses for a week. I always liked printmaking, so I went and joined in. My kind husband paid my fares and accommodation (a 1-bed flat, rented out of season wasn't too bad). I paid my own course fees, out of my earnings - that felt good! I so enjoyed the week, made a few new friends, caught a bit of winter sunshine and learned some new skills. When I got home, I was feeling much better. It was worthwhile, for sure, though I can't afford the time or money to do it again any time soon!)
    You're right that it can be so hard to see what is behind our own problems - whatever those may be - we're often just too close to the problem, too bogged down in it, too distracted. That is where good friends can be so helpful; I hope some of your friends can come and give you a bit of support, help you to maybe find a project that will encourage you.
    A creative life is rarely set on the same track for ever. We change direction, alter our view or ideas of life and our sources of inspiration. It's a development, an ebb and flow, a process of birth, dying away and re-birth in another form. That can be scary, discouraging, even depressing - we can feel lost and unhappy; also it can be exciting, thrilling, satisfying, happy. Ups & downs, goods and bads, lost and found... A Creative Life.

    I wish you a happier time; I hope you can find a little encouragement and something to inspire you. Meanwhile, hang in there and keep on keeping on! Remember you're not the only one - we're all in it together.

    1. Lizzie, I love the way you write. You always say it so well. And you are always right! Thank you xx

  5. hello helen i just found you via donna on face book...
    i wanted you to know i often feel like this...i think its important to be kind to yourself,,,make something for you, and say in your mind i am making this because i want to, not because i have to,...i did this recently and although it felt weird not to be making to sell, it felt good for my creative soul to just make...any how be kind to yourself, everything passes in time xx
    sophie x

  6. Hi Helen, i list my dąd 15 years ago it still raw, a long story but I feel your paim. X Work, well you are spot on we do a great job of faking it, i have been feeling like this for a while now and did not even have the nerve to blog about it either.
    I started on fb with a goal but someone moved the post !
    This weekend i have stayed away and though i would pop in before bedtime, and saw your post. I think we do punish ourselves to much. Hettie above is right when you have to do something its so different from creating something just because you want to, they are a world apart. Taking time to do without pressire may find the answer.I dont know why i was in such a rush to get there but I have decided to let myself play with lots of different things until it becomes apprant and not to worrie until it dose.
    I hope you find what your looking for but I feel you need to heal to. X

  7. Could have been me ! But cliche or not time is a great healer and I have safely come out the other end (with the odd black dog blip !) and you will get your MOJO back !Seems to be something that comes with creativity but be kind to yourself ! xxx

  8. Opps sorry for mistakes typed well after midnight on gadget no glasses lol x

  9. Thanks for being so honest on your blog. More of us need to do this because it helps to know that other people are in the same boat as you.

    The way I see it you can either keep going, working, pushing through this time of uncertainty or you could just stop.

    And when I say stop I mean just take a real break from the work, the pressure, the commissions, the expectations - just everything.

    Maybe give yourself two weeks to potter, to dream, to sleep and rest and slowly answers may start to emerge. Sometimes you realise that the answer has been there the whole time and you've ignored it or been too scared to face it or maybe the answer just needed some space to break through.

    You are obviously receiving lots of support and advice and I hope you are able to discover the best approach for you. I've been through this dilemma you have described many times and stopping everything works well for me, but you may decide differently.

    Whatever you decide to do - good luck and best wishes! :-))

  10. Wow, it could of been me that wrote that. I have not made anywhere near a success of my creations as you have and you are in the position that I aspire to be. It is hard to believe in yourself and I can so relate to the feeling of faking it. They call it imposter syndrome, I feel it in everything that I do. I see everyone else's work as professional and mine as just amateur and the results of a hobby.
    I realise you posted this a while ago but I hope you managed to move forward from it x