I’ve blogged as a hobby since 2010, but it wasn’t until 2 years ago that I decided to expand the creative outlet of it from writing to photography and fashion styling as well. My current job involves a lot of analytical thinking, handling data, writing procedures, as well as doing training and being generally clever. The amount of creative work I get to do is pretty limited though, so blogging has really helped me continue to develop the artistic side of my brain. That might sound nice, but artistic play times aren’t all roses. Blogging can be really challenging.
Every time I write a post, I have to come up with something to say. Some bloggers put up pictures only, but I love to write and I have lots of feedback from people who share the blog with me saying they love reading it. Coming up with ideas for it is hard, but it’s a brilliant exercise to be constantly thinking about typing out thoughts in a structured way. It builds my writing skills and that definitely helps with things like writers block.
I also have to decide what to wear. That’s a huge challenge too, especially recently as I have not only put the brakes on buying new clothes, I have also halved my wardrobe (which I’ll soon be selling online). My options are limited, sure, but that forces me to be a lot more creative thinking with all the different ways I can interpret a single item of clothing.
I remember a blogger a few years ago did a Little Black Dress project, where she wore the same dress for a year and blogged about it. A challenge like that is important because it encourages me to consider the value of clothes, the importance of finding fresh inspiration in old clothes and encourages a much more frugal lifestyle. To do this, I love to see what other people are doing, whether that is bloggers or friends. I get onto Pinterest and I search around styles and outfits I like. I often come across clothes I own and save images of people wearing similar outfits. I also challenge myself to making those outfits with only items in my wardrobe.
Having the outfit is just the start. Once I finally decide on what I’m going to wear (I usually have a few ideas of outfits drafted) then I need to know where I’m going to wear it. Sometimes the ‘where’ comes first, such as a festival or special location. At the moment I’m planning for the Clunes Booktown Festival and the Ballarat Heritage Weekend including the FedUni Tweed Ride. Most of the time, the outfit comes first. When I think about the location, I also think about the light. Light is the most important part of the photos, as bad light will make a great outfit and a great photo look boring.
If we’re shooting at the local lake, I know that we need to do the shoot thirty minutes before peak golden hour, because the light only reaches that point until then. I know the exact times of year certain trees burst into blossom. I know the colours or particular boathouses. I file places away in my head and also put them into my Stylebook app, ready to pair with the perfect outfit. Then, I need to find myself a photographer.
This is why it’s awesome that my beautiful sister Goldfields Girl has taken up blogging. We often do photo shoots together, play around and be creative, think about all these other elements together. Having someone else say ‘the light is over there’ before you do makes things move so much faster and easier. It builds up a great amount of trust between us and we can be really direct with one another. ‘Move here’, ‘turn you head that way’, ‘your hair is doing something weird’. I also get my mum to take pictures, and she’s also wonderful to work with. With my sister, I get to take photos as well, which is important for my own creative outlet.
That’s quite a few things to think about: words, outfit, location, light, photographer. When you have to line up all those things, it is not uncommon for everything to be really hard work. I’m not exaggerating. Light, especially natural light, is about good timing. If something makes us late we just have to live with it and be really adaptive. Being adaptive and being able to let things go is a muscle that you have to exercise. If my sister’s baby needs feeding, he needs feeding. If the car needs petrol, it needs petrol. If I can’t find a photographer… You get the idea. Some shoots are really hard work, but that is important.
Creativity isn’t just about the flow of inspiration. I’ve also found it is also so much about my own flow, my own fluidity. When things go wrong, how do I creatively respond to that? Inspiration isn’t just what happens when everything is easy. It’s about not letting my circumstances decide on what form I take. Being creatively responsive to challenges and change for this blog means that multiple times every week I’m keeping the creative part of my brain and my personality alive and growing. Given that I don’t get to do that often at work, it actually helps me stay creative in a generally non-creative work environment. It has meant that I do get to use my creative skills sometimes at work in other areas, being asked to do photography and to work on designs or design pitches.
This particular shoot was inspired by this pin, which I have pinned to a board just for cycle style fashion. As a cyclist I’m endlessly inspired by the elegant ways women around the world style outfits with their bikes. This particular outfit inspired me to get myself the skirt from Chicwish and to style it myself. This shoot was not easy. I got the outfit together and discovered the skirt was really badly creased so I steamed it then I couldn’t fit my bike in the car, then GG's baby needed feeding, then Goldfields Girl's outfit wasn’t right, then the bike tyres were flat, then the light wasn’t working. Yet looking at the photos and seeing the result of the focus we put on being fluid and adapting to the challenges, I swoon. Look how darling it worked out. When a shoot works out like this after so much difficulty, I feel like we need to go out for a celebratory dinner! High fives all round!
Belt: Review Australia
Photos: Goldfields Girl
Location: Wendouree Lake (previously blogger here)
What's your creative process? Do you have to practice it?