Posts Categorised: Inspiration

5 Ways to beat creative block


Creative block. Ah. It hits us all at one time or another. Usually when you least want it to, you know, in the middle of a massive project with an imminent deadline. Sometimes it can last only a couple of hours, other times you can go weeks without having a new idea. It. Sucks. 

I had a serious case of it earlier this year, after the rush of Christmas and the constant factory-style making of jewellery, I was worn out. Any thought of actually creating something new was met with a big, huge, sighing “Meh” from my brain.

I’ve been “making stuff” long enough to learn a few tricks for pulling myself out of this creative rut, though, and here’s what I do:

1/ Get messy

I work on the computer most of the time so it’s always refreshing to work with actual, tangible materials. Clay, watercolours, fabric, paper, it’s all good! This year I’ve been playing around with watercolours a lot more, which is one of the reasons I chose them for my #the100dayproject. Crack out those Conté Crayons that you bought back in art school, grab some paper, and get drawing. Not sure what to draw? read on…


2/ Make marks

Mark making is a wonderful exercise for the exhausted creative brain. Grab your material of choice (paints, charcoal, pencil, micron) and make some marks. Make patterns. Doodle. Just get something down on paper. You can’t go wrong here, which is one of the biggest blocks of creativity (“But what if it looks shit?”), there’s no right or wrong, you’re just… making marks. No one expects you to make a masterpiece here, it’s all about freeing up your creative lockdown.

3/ Music

I always find that evocative music always gets the creative juices flowing. For me, that’s usually stuff about mountains, journeys, and fiction. Bands that I always turn to include Led Zeppelin, David Bowie, Coheed and Cambria, and (more recently) Of Monsters and Men. But hey, even the Beach Boys with their immersive world of California could do it!

4/ Take a hike

I don’t mean just walk to the shops. I mean get out into nature, on a real hike (or nicely preserved public footpath), where there’s open sky, no distractions and a lot of time for thinking. If you can, try and leave your phone at home and take a notebook instead. Jot down any ideas that come to mind, and I mean anything. The fresh air, exercise and overall goodness of being outside is the best panacea for the stalled creative.

5/ Work through it

Still struggling? Work through it. You just have to keep making stuff. Even if it’s shit, you must carry on. For every 100 rubbish ideas and pieces of work, there’ll be one perfect rough diamond that just needs a little more attention. The most important thing you can do it to keep on making.

Extra ideas: dance break, read fiction, watch a classic film, do your taxes*, attend a conference or workshop, PINTEREST BINGE.

And don’t forget, when you’ve beaten the block then buy yourself a fucking donut – you’ve earned it!

*clinically proven to induce procrastinatory creative ideas 

Oh hey, you can keep up with my blog over on Bloglovin, that way you’ll never miss a post.

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A new challenge!

I came across #the100dayproject on Instagram this weekend, a little late to the game, and not much chance to prepare. It started yesterday so I’ve already missed a day, but I’m hoping to squeeze in two day’s worth of the project today.

So, what is it?


[image via #the100dayproject]

It’s that simple! Pick something fun to make, and do it every day for 100 days. At the end you should have a wonderful collection of work, some of it will rock, some of it will suck, but it’ll all be there.

I’m going to be breaking out the watercolours for this one, and doing a small watercolour painting of a plant every day for 100 days. Simplicity is key for me, I don’t have the time to dedicate hours a day to this project, but 10 minutes? No problem.

You can follow along with me over on Instagram where I’ll be using the hashtags #the100dayproject and #100daysofpaintedplants. I’ll hopefully have the first two up this evening!

Are you taking part? Let me know, I’d love to follow along!

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A Very Blogtacular Weekend

Blogtacular 2014 Official Photos by Will Ireland. Thanks Mollie Makes (6)

A couple of weekends ago I hopped on the train down to London to attend the Blogtacular conference. In just its first ever event, the conference pulled in power house speakers such as Joy Cho (from Oh Joy!), Anne Ditmeyer (of Prêt à Voyager), and Tilly Walnes (from Tilly and the Buttons).

Blogtacular 2014 Official Photos by Will Ireland. Thanks Mollie Makes (83)

The event kicked off on the Friday evening with a keynote talk from Joy. Her talk brought us through her blogging and creative journey, and was both inspiring & career-affirming. A true testament to just what can be achieved if you set your mind to it. And hey, lucky you! You’re gonna be able to catch Joy’s talk for free over on the Blogtacular website (and, you can even purchase a virtual conference ticket to catch ALL the action from the conference

After a great start on Friday night, meeting new people and chatting with people I’ve known online for ages, it was back to the hotel to rest up for the full day on Saturday. By rest up I mean… not get any sleep at all.

Blogtacular 2014 Official Photos by Will Ireland. Thanks Mollie Makes (126) Blogtacular 2014 Official Photos by Will Ireland. Thanks Mollie Makes (170)

Saturday featured a full set of talks and workshops. Here’s what I attended:

  • Anne Ditmeyer: Anne discussed valuing your work, charging what you’re worth, and generally just not working for free. A subject I’m incredibly passionate about, did you catch my post about raising your rates inline with your worth? I’ve long been a follower of Anne’s, and have taken her Skillshare map class which I thoroughly enjoyed and would recommend.
  • Tilly Walnes and Vicky Orchard: Blog to Book. A brilliant insight into landing a book deal, an area I’ve never delved into before but have always wondered how it worked. Totally want to write a book now!
  • Blog Business Panel with Annabel Beeforth, Allison Sadler, Courtney Adamo and Joy Cho. A panel of influential, intelligent and inspiring ladies. Who could ask for more? All answering questions posed by the audience, and giving us a brief introduction to their careers.
  • Hands-on Styling with Ellie Tennant: Absolutely loved this one. Ellie works as a stylist and gave some amazing hints and tips on to getting the best out of the styling for your photos. Really interesting to hear insider secrets!
  • Mini Moderns’ Mark Hampshire and Keith Stephenson: Branding. As a designer it’s always refreshing to see how other people work, this was one of those times. I gained some valuable hints and tips from the mid-century inspired duo.
  • Secrets of the Editors Panel with Lara Watson, Caroline Rowland, Kate Carter and Heather Young interviewed by Kat Molesworth. Brilliant insight into a journalistic view on blogging, want to get published in print? These are the gals to listen to!
  • And finally, Natalie Lue’s Closing Keynote. An excellent way to round off the day. Natalie spoke from the heart and left everyone feeling full of blogging joy!

A bunch of us finished up with a meal near Carnaby street, and I fell into my bed exhausted and, overall, inspired. I totally urge you to get hold of a virtual conference ticket, you won’t regret it!

Blogtacular 2014 Official Photos by Will Ireland. Thanks Mollie Makes (398)

See you next year, Blogtacular!

Photos are all thanks to Mollie Makes, taken by Will Ireland.

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Friday Thoughts: Creative Confidence

If there’s one thing that can be said about me it’s that I’m a creator. I make stuff. I write stuff. And most of that stuff gets put out into the wild, ready to be viewed with a critical eye.

Occasionally, when I’m creating, I’ll have a momentary pause. The butterflies will start to flutter, and I’ll sit there thinking “What the fuck am I doing? No one’s going to get anything out of this!”. Sometimes I’ll feel like a conceited douchebag (seriously, I’m 28 and telling people how to run a business? What’s best for their websites? I’m wet behind the ears compared to some!), other times I’ll feel like I’m drawing with crayons. Those, my dear friends, are my confidence crashes.

Nothing makes you feel more vulnerable than watching people react to your creation.

So, what am I going to do? Stop in my tracks? Never make anything again? Just because someone might not like it? Psh! No! Where’s the fun in that?

“If you hear a voice within you say, ‘You cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced”
– Vincent Van Gogh

Watching someones reaction to something I’ve created has become one of the highlights of the whole damn thing. For every person that doesn’t like what I’ve made, there’ll be another that adores it! they think it’s the best thing ever!

“Creativity takes courage”
– Henri Matisse

Everyone’s allowed an opinion, the world would be a sorry state if everyone liked the same stuff, right? It’d also be super sad if you didn’t make something because a couple of people might not dig it.

You need to have confidence in everything you create. You must speak with authority. You must create for your lovers and ignore your haters. You must enjoy what you do, and remember why you do it. You must create with energy, purpose and unrelenting passion. Go forth, create, set it free and don’t give a fuck.

Now… should I post this?


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New Design!

Someone pointed out that they hadn’t realised my blog had a brand new design, it’s been in place for the past few months but as many of you are on feed readers I thought I’d show you around!



The low down

  • I’ve simplified things a lot, made the main content area wider, and gone back to a traditional header. The header is my own writing based on a font, really enjoying playing with my wacom lately!
  • I’ve also made it much better across mobile devices and iPads, introducing retina for relevant devices. Woo! There are still a few tweaks I want to make to the mobile version, not least a collapsable menu…
  • The sidebar has had a massive clear-up, I’ve made instagram images larger and added my latest pinterest feed.
  • If you comment without a gravatar, I’ve set it up so that you’ll be shown with one of a selection of hexagon images, not just a boring ‘mystery man’ gravatar!
  • I’ve introduced sidebar sponsors again, and added a Q+A form for your burning questions!

I hope you like the new design! I’ll be sharing the new Finest Imaginary design with you next week, too, which has also been around for a few weeks but I haven’t played show & tell with it yet :)

oh and PS. I designed and coded the whole thang, get my services over at

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