I’m a firm believer in having creative outlets. In fact, I think every creative entrepreneur should have at least 2 creative outlets that they pursue outside of their work. These outlets don’t need to make you any money, nor do they ever need to become side hustles, unless you end up just falling totally in love with them. They also don’t have to be overly extravagant either, as I think adult coloring books are a great way to relax, pass the time and still create something lovely.
It may seem counterintuitive to have creative outlets when your job revolves around creating in some form or fashion and you may be asking yourself “Why do i need creative outlets or hobbies when I literally create non-stop everyday. I’m exhausted just thinking about it.” I hear you, but again, these outlets don’t have to be life altering. They simply need to be something you enjoy doing that also gets you exploring your creativity in a new way.
Throughout the years some of my creative outlets have been sketching, painting, printmaking, making pottery, photography, dancing, playing guitar, singing, crocheting and journaling to name a few. None of these have taken over my life, but I find myself drawn to each of them during different times or situations and they always seem to give me the creative boost that I was needing. Some have turned into side hustles, like my photography and videography work, while others, like sketching, are just a fun way for me to pass the time doing something I love.
So why are these so beneficial? I find that having creative outlets outside of my work has helped in a number of areas in my life and I genuinely think every creative entrepreneur could benefit from having even a couple. Here are just a few of the benefits I’ve personally seen from having multiple creative outlets:
1. Beat the Burnout
Being creative on and on is taxing business. It’s strenuous for even the most creatively charged individuals and when you make a career out of it you may find that it’s hard to maintain. Every once in a while that old antagonist burnout will show up and it’s a total buzzkill on our entire process. If you were one of the people up above that feels tapped out by your work and the thought of creating even more sounds exhausting, this is where I want you to listen up.
Maybe the issue isn’t with being creative but rather the current idea or problem you are working on has you feeling totally zapped of energy. These are unfortunately the moments where self doubt and comparison syndrome can start to creep in. Especially if you are a type 4 like me.
The curious thing about being creative, or feeling inspired, is that sometimes the best thing to do to beat burnout is to find new ways to work your creative muscles. Just like ballet classes can benefit football players simply by using and training muscles in a new way, new creative outlets can help work your creativity in ways you didn’t even know were possible. This can help you feel reenergized when it comes to your work, and maybe even reinstate any confidence you may have lost when it comes to your creative abilities. When you start to create something new, outside of your work, you’ll begin to fall in love with creating all over again.
2. Spark New Ideas
This goes hand in hand with my first point but everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, feels totally tapped out of new ideas every once in a while. It’s part of the creative process but sometimes it can become a rut that we creative professionals find ourselves stuck in.
When you can’t seem to think up new, inspiring ideas, instead of looking at what everyone else is creating (hello again comparison syndrome), trying your hand at a new creative endeavor or going back to an old favorite of yours can not only help you feel creative again but it may even spark a new idea or two for your work.
I know that I personally find a lot of inspiration for my digital work in tangible objects and printmaking. Taking an afternoon to carve out a linocut can actually give me a new idea for a brand pattern, or breaking out my watercolors may give me an idea for a new layout or color palette I want to try. It’s surprising sometimes where and when inspiration can strike but a new creative outlet can be a great place to start.
3. Find New Creative Passions
One of my favorite reasons I think everyone needs a creative hobby or two is that you are giving yourself the ability to try something new that may become a newfound passion. Like I said before, my hobby level interest in photography grew rapidly over the course of a semester in college and I knew from that point on I wanted to keep honing my skills. That outlet has turned into a passion and side hustle for Mike and I both and I honestly can’t imagine my work without it. Outside of photographing and filming weddings, it’s made me so much more confident when it comes to photographing my work and marketing myself on platforms like Instagram where photography is so important.
But even if your newfound creative outlet doesn’t become an income stream, it can still be a passion you pursue simply for the joy of it. Maybe you’ve realized you love knitting scarves for friends, or you love painting art for your house, whatever the passion is it simply makes life a bit more fun finding hobbies you love.
4. Spread Your Network
I absolutely love the connections that can be made using the online resources we have today and I’ve made a ton of friends just this past year in the graphic design field. Now just imagine how many friends and networks you can be a part of by diversifying your interests! By joining groups that teach a certain skill, or following accounts, blogs, or YouTube channels that focus in on your creative outlets, you are building an even larger network of like minded friends than you had before.
On Instagram I follow a lot of fellow entrepreneurs, some of them designers and bloggers, but some of them having to do with my other interests like painting, printmaking, or embroidery. I find them all to be highly inspiring and I love celebrating and cheering on people that are creating beautiful things in all of these areas. Even if I never pursue these hobbies full time, I love finding the encouragement and enthusiasm that all of these unique creatives bring to the table. It allows me to get a broader scope of the world and what others are doing rather than only focusing on my small circle of fellow designers.
5. Help relieve stress and pressure
I’ve saved the best for last, in my opinion. As a creative entrepreneur, I put a lot of pressure on myself to constantly perform at my best. I have client work to create, deadlines to meet, and new marketing content to make every week for social media and this blog. My brain is essentially a running list of all the things that I NEED to create on any given day and that can cause a pretty steady level of stress.
However, one of the greatest things about having creative outlets, and really the biggest reason I think every creative entrepreneur desperately needs creative outlets outside of work, is because of the creative freedom it brings back into your life. These outlets aren’t about making money, so you really get to think about what you WANT to create, not what you NEED to create. And trust me, there’s a big difference.
Even if you love your job, and holy moly I LOVE my job, there still needs to be room to create freely and fall back in love with the process. We spend so much time trying to monetize our passions that we forget we are allowed to have creative outlets that we pursue just for fun. When you aren’t worried about making money off of something, or worried about how it will be received by your clientele, etc. you allow yourself to create without inhibitions and that is a beautiful and necessary thing.
All in all, I’m a firm believer in having creative outlets outside of work, for not only my own sanity but also to nurture my love of creating. After all, we probably all got into our line of work because we love it, and when work starts to feel too stressful or hectic, we need these other outlets to express ourselves and fall back in love with simply creating. I believe it will not only improve our mental state but improve our ability to create in our work as well.
You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.-Maya Angelou
What are some creative outlets you’ve tried lately? Any you still want to try?