So it's that time of year again, where I batten down the hatches and do the unthinkable: take time out to be creative! It's probably akin to those office workshops or essential team building getaways that ‘corporate types’ seem to rave about but instead of the time being used to boost office morale, the time away makes sure I stop the ‘crazy train’1 and get in touch with the creativity that is the essential ingredient to this career path.
My Saturday started off at our favourite market, selling our jewels, meeting clients and eventually sharing the week’s plans of taking time out to be creative and focus on all those threads of ideas that during the year, ends up being a note jotted down in my diary, journal, or on iPhone notes somewhere in a cloud. Our clients seemed to be pretty excited and interested in this somewhat fantastical design world and the process of creating, so I've decided to make sure, that I share.
The ideas and interesting threads plaguing me during the year all seem to be stored in the halo of hair around my head, because to be honest, I don't quite know how else all these ideas don't just evaporate and are forgotten. When or whether those ideas are explored and fleshed out all boils down to the week or two weeks I set aside for just that- unpacking ideas and being creative. I know, I know, err’body in the club is screaming- what?!!! The PRESSURE! But when your brains been bursting with tasty ideas ready to be picked and ripened- a week away is a treat, even though it is too ‘min’2. Also, I don't go wielding my visual journal and design stationary, like a rabid design vigilante. It's about easing into the process and ‘genieting’ the stuff you ‘geniet’3. This to me means unwinding, cooking, sharing stories with friends, reading those blogs you keep bookmarking and never get a chance to enjoy; and when an idea or that long forgotten sticky note reappears while looking through your diary, it's time to let the design times roll.
I go into these breaks with the aim of being creative and I walk out with ideas that either materialises into a new range, expands on a current project or involves implementing different business models that serve us to better design and create in the future. That’s left up to where the process takes me.
I’m not preaching as though I’ve been at this for years now, when in fact it's only been two years of implementing the enforced breaks. Tuesday (yesterday), marks the start of the second scheduled design break. Yay! Its now a tradition and this seems to work in fuelling a years worth of ‘a ring to it’ worthy product, as we design and manufacture what comes from this here sketch book ;)
Strange ne? But everyone seems to have their own way. I kinda feel like travels, experimenting with design deadlines and work pressures, have all led me to this point of discovering what works for me and the tipping point that seemed to have emboldened my resolve to blocking off a week- guilt free -was this gem of a link, of Stefen Sagmeister and his approach to designing and the importance of taking a break.
Stefen’s method is obviously my ‘one day when I’m the bomb diggity’4 goal, but for now, if he can take off a year, the least I can do is take a week.
0 footnotes were the one joy, I held on tightly to, during my thesis writing. It still brings joy. The promise of not having to say anything too serious or substantial and reference a credited source in this 'bottom page afterthoughts' = PURE JOY.
1 crazy train' - the hamster wheel of none stop focused work, that results in finished product and the day to day business admin that pays the bills.
2 'min' - a small amount. -Afrikaans', possibly slang. In this context, a week away is too little time.
3 'geniet' - Afrikaans' for 'enjoy'. 'Enjoying' the things you 'enjoy'.
4 Aspirational. A goal I'd like to attain one day when we have the means (business structure) and the bravery to take a year off.