Is it Time to Put Some of your Creative Skills on Hiatus?

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Your natural creative skills, as well as the ones you develop over time, are each valuable in a different way. Some creative skills offer a means of deep self-reflection and appreciation or a sense of purpose; a way to contribute and share your true self on a bigger scale. Other skills simply provide a way for you to earn a living or explore where a capability can transform into a new opportunity.


In the big picture each skill plays a part, but do you need to use all of your creative skills just because you have them? Or is it time to put some on hiatus to sharpen their focus or give them a much-needed rest?


Updating your Creative Tool Belt with a Keen Eye and Heart, Based on Experience


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By nature I’m a dabbler. I like to play, explore and follow what interests me. I also know the more I explore, the more perspective I have to help shape my writing and enrich the way I teach. While this natural tendency to be curious is inherent in me (and many entrepreneurs and creatives), there is also something bigger at play.


The creative skills I’ve developed over time offer so much more than experience, pleasure and learning – they’ve provided me with the power of choice.


Think about the first job you ever had. Mine was in a bakery at age 14. I had to shell out donuts, cookies and take cake orders while also using an automatic slicer to cut loaves of bread and cold cuts. I got a job there because of my friends were spending their Saturdays working in the bakery anyway, and I wanted a little extra money.


My biggest take away from this work experience? I don’t like working in a food-based business. Period. I will spare you the boring details as to why. At least I still have all my fingers; those electric slicers are scary!


Fast forward to highschool when I got a job at a bookstore in the mall. I was in heaven. I felt like I found my brand of quirky people who loved to read, just like me. I got to browse new releases, flip through magazines when the store was slow and spend time around books, which in many ways is my version of church.


In this moment, I could still serve food to customers and slice up cold cuts – I have the ability and know-how. I just know it’s not a good use of my time and energy nor does it make me happy in the least. I could also use my customer service skills, love of reading and ability to promote authors and jump back into working in a bookstore, but I prefer to use these creative skills as part of my business instead.


If you take a moment to pause and review how you really use your creative skills, are you making the most of what they offer?


Creative Skill Review…Is it Time for Change?


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As you work through similar experiences in your own life and enhance your abilities along the way, you might start to realize the discord you feel isn’t about a specific job, client project or medium of creative expression. It’s about the types of creative skills you are actively using day in and day out.


While all work (even the projects you are really passionate about) can be challenging at times, it’s important to think about how you want to use the skills you’ve crafted to step into your fullest expression of self – and enjoy what you are creating.


A quick checklist to help you review your creative skill set:


  • Do the skills you use daily still resonate and make you happy? Or do you complete them in auto-pilot mode?
  • When you are using certain talents, do you feel bored, grumpy or drained? Tune into a specific feeling as best you can.
  • Is there a way to utilize your creative skills that feels more fulfilling?
  • Are there certain skills you would be OK with removing from your offerings or leaving off your resume?

When you repeatedly do things that bore you silly or continue to push yourself to use talents that make you feel “burnt out”, you are essentially blocking yourself from growing. There’s no room for you to expand into a different level of challenge with a specific creative skill. In addition, if you don’t retire skills you’ve outgrown, you are clinging to energy that keeps you stuck.

To make the most of all your abilities, you owe it to yourself to examine what still makes sense for you to practice. While retiring a talent can feel a bit challenging, it’s important to think of what continuing to use it will cost you in terms of creative energy and happiness. Who knows, a hiatus may be exactly what you need to get clearer on how your talents can support you in new ways.

Want to do a little more reading on creative tools? You can check out some of my previous posts: Why you Need a Creative Change Toolbelt and Creativity Kick-Start: Refresh Creative Tools.


Photo Credit: Jérémy Lelièvre, Blue Diamond Photography, SomeDriftwood