“Even though we creative people find joy in what we do and are really proud of our achievements, we’re still prone to insecurity… we compare ourselves to others and wonder if we’re doing enough or if it’s the right thing. It’s understandable because creativity is so personal.”
Kitiya Palaskas took a deep breath and launched into a narration of a familiar morning ritual.
“You wake up and scroll through your Instagram feed. While you were asleep someone has baked a cake that looks like it’s right out of a magazine, someone else has a brand new studio and another person has held a craft workshop on the moon.”
“You think oh my gosh, all these people doing such amazing things! Then you look at Pinterest and there are 75,000 crafts that have popped up overnight and you wonder why you didn’t think of those. You start feeling a little off and you haven’t even gotten out of bed yet.”
“You spend the whole day on your craft project but all you can think about are those pictures so you start second guessing yourself and suddenly all your work seems terrible and you start spiraling downwards.”
Kitiya is referring to Instagram envy and the impact it has on creative people.
The enthusiastic nods and laughter confirmed Palaskas’ suspicions. Creative insecurity was the dark secret that everyone harboured but no one talked about.
Paslakas is a craft-based designer with a strong penchant and talent for creating playful, tactile objects. Apart from leading craft workshops she has also produced stunning pieces for various publications and a corporate clientele the likes of Lego, Etsy and Sportsgirl.
Last year she made a snap decision to exchange a well-paved creative path in Sydney for a thriving creative community in Melbourne where a few of her design idols lived. But beneath the excitement of a exploring a blank canvas was a simmering anxiety that her work could possibility dry up. She began second-guessing herself.
“Even though we creative people find joy in what we do and are really proud of our achievements, we’re still prone to insecurity,” Palaskas said during the Creative Women’s Circle talk at Frankie and Swiss last Sunday afternoon. “We compare ourselves to others and wonder if we’re doing enough or if it’s the right thing. It’s understandable because creativity is so personal.”
Palaskas pointed out that creative pressure stems from the fact that the creative person is the only one who is 100% invested in her adventure and success. She added that she used to berate herself for grappling with what she viewed as a sign of weakness that somehow evaded her creative peers.
“It’s very easy to gloss over this stuff,” she said. “A lot of people experience it but no one talks about it so I wanted to address it.”
How to defeat the Instagram Envy Effect and find your creative flow:
Take a break from social media. You can still post updates but take a break from looking at other people’s work and social media feed for a while.
This is what I’ve been really trying to do this year especially being in a new city. One of the ways I do that is through op-shopping. I love the whole treasure hunt aspect and not knowing what I might find. I’m inspired by old signage and typography, and there’s a lot of that around the suburbs here. Even old craft books from the 1970s, I just love the colours and patterns. I love food and it’s a recurring theme in my work so looking at elaborate cakes is really inspiring. I find that when your inspiration comes from real tactile things, whatever you make afterwards is always a lot more original than if that inspiration came from the Internet.
Go through your own Instagram feed, look at all the things you’ve made and write down how you felt when you achieved each one. Reflect on how far you’ve come. I also think about what I want to achieve and focus my energy on working towards that in a way that’s true to me and my own creative journey.
I love exploring Melbourne on my bike. You can find so many interesting places and things when you’re riding as opposed to driving or taking public transport. I also love going on adventures with my friends; exploring markets, op-shopping, driving to the country or spending all day at the beach. I have some really amazing, close friends who are like family and it’s great to be around people with whom you can truly be yourself. My friends come from a diverse range of backgrounds and they’re all creative in their own way. I’m surrounded by chefs, furniture makers, film producers, writers, musicians, designers and bakers. It’s very inspiring!
Travel is essential for any creative person. Exploring new places, cultures and creative scenes is so important if you want to grow in your practice and as a person. I went to Bali last year hoping for some much-needed downtime. I ended up meeting a local family who took me under their wing and showed me so much kindness and love. It was so heartwarming and gave me so much perspective on my own life. They were so hardworking and had so little but were so generous, and had such a strong sense of family and a peacefulness in the way they lived their lives. It made me completely re-evaluate and change my work practices to achieve a better work-life balance. It also made me realise there is more to my life than just my career and my client list. Having a better mindset about my career made me more relaxed and in turn, allowed new ideas to flow. If you can’t afford to travel then do a staycation. Take yourself to places you’ve never explored before that will make you feel alive.
Everyone’s life situation and career path is completely different to yours. They’re going on their path at a pace that they were meant to go on and you’re going on yours at the pace that you’re meant to go on. Everyone’s an individual. You can’t worry about someone else’s achievements because you’re going to get your achievements at the time they’re meant for you.
Personal projects allow you to be creative without having anything to do with making money or forging your career path. They’re just about personal development. A friend once taught me how to make patterns. We ended up spending the whole day making patterns for fun, listening to music, talking and not thinking about the things we had to do. At the end of the day I had learnt a new skill. It was so refreshing!
There is no doubt the Instagram Envy Effect is creeping into the lives of even the most creative people. The best remedy for creative folks like Kitiya is to switch off and tune into one’s own creative flow, because inspiration abound in the real world.
Talk creativity with Kitiya Palaskas at www.kitiyapalaskas.com