What motivates you to be creative?

The main reason I set crafty goals is not to motivate myself to achieve them, but so that I can explore my motivations and learn from them. While reflecting on my goals from 2016, I found myself recognising how strongly my sensory preferences had impacted on both my motivation and satisfaction levels this year. Fascinating for me. Boring for you.

So rather than wittering on about me, I thought I’d chuck some questions at you that, if you wish to use them, can help you reflect on what you did and didn’t achieve last year.



Because as creativity coach of fifteen years, my brain doesn’t just like to poke around in my own psychology, it also likes to encourage others to explore how their thinking is influencing their creativity.

Here’s a few questions – if you’re not a goal setter, just remove the word goal. If you are a goal setter, focusing on your goals in question 2 – 4 is likely to yield more useful results.

  • What was your most satisfying creative achievement of 2016?
  • What creative goal did you achieve, but were disappointed in the outcome of?
  • What creative goal were you most disappointed you didn’t achieve?
  • What creative goal(s) were you quiet happy you didn’t achieve?

For each answer ask: ‘What are the reasons this was so satisfying/disappointing?’ Don’t just look for one reason for each answer. Keep drilling down and look for what deeper motivations drove your success and ‘failures’. You may well see patterns emerging or find yourself nodding you head and saying, ‘Of course, I knew that.’

Even if you don’t set formal goals for 2017, use what you find to embrace the creative pursuits you love, avoid working on ones you don’t really enjoy, or setting yourself up for failure.

Back to the knitting next week…


24 thoughts on “What motivates you to be creative?

    1. Aw! Thank you. I do agree – I did attempt a bit of summarising originally, but as though tends to go, my insights kept growing and I’m afraid I ditched it as it would have either been a summary that didn’t say what I meant or a huge winding ramble the length of a novel 🙂


  1. I think I will always be the kind of person Not to set goals but go with what pops into my head and work from there…:-) We are all different and some people I understand find it easier to work from a list, of ‘want to do’s’ 🙂

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    1. I don’t work from a list. I use my goals it as reminder/sieving process and, as I say above, tool for reflective learning, because you can’t just run with every idea that pops into your head, both because we only have so much time and because what pops into your head often turns out not the best idea or after a bit of thought/time. So how do you remember, sieve and grow your ideas if you don’t write them down?


      1. Easy!! My creative process nurtures them until I can foresee exactly the finished piece 😀 then I draw it and get on with it – works for me! If you don’t work from a written list…how do you remember your reminder/sieving process goals??

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      2. Creative minds will Always have a constant surge of ideas!! Of course, we would always have too many to ever consider following through in a lifetime! Though I tend to go with the ones which pique my interest the most, as well as knowing they are achievable – with my limited means available – which is the most important factor to me, as costs are unlikely to be made back if I go spending willy nilly 😉 As to remembering them all…well, if they don’t pop up next, they weren’t worth a second thought in the first place.

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      3. I thought you might say that. I have a writer friend who also says you’ll never really forget even a good line you think of and don’t note down and it will be there when you need it. Writing down is maybe in reality a safety net I don’t really need 🙂

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      4. Hopefully you’ve spotted me saying that before too. But i do think it’s useful to consider what other folks do and see if integrating it in with the way you work might make it even better 😉

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    1. Aw! Thank you. I used to mainly coach writers and even wrote two coaching books for writers, so I can’t say something like that hasn’t crossed my mind. Thing is, I stepped away from being a fiction writer to work with my wooliness, so I’d want anything on line to address all creatives or woolly creatives – not because I couldn’t continue to only work with writers, but, because I want to take my knitting seriously and working in two different areas would be splitting myself and time too thin. The problem with stepping away from being writer specific is that most creative people appear to think coaching will try to make them think in straight lines, when in fact it expands creativity. (Writers came to me mostly with blocks to unlock, procrastination or confidence issues and therefore a ‘problem’ to address. So I don’t think they were any different.) It’s a shame. I’ve had some amazing coaching conversations that have purely worked with creativity, and as I say, I believe all good coaches expand creativity in their clients. Thank you for the question. It’s got me thinking ‘How can I get people to understand what I really have to offer?’ Thank you for your question. Looks like you’re now coaching me 🙂


  2. Hi I’m curious to understand about what you mean by this – “The main reason I set crafty goals is not to motivate myself to achieve them, but so that I can explore my motivations and learn from them”. I’m really trying to include more craft based creativity in my life this year. I haven’t servant craft/creative goals yet as I’m focusing on other things.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello. Thanks for your question. I mean that at the end of the year I look at what I haven’t achieved on my goal list and ask myself what stopped me working on/achieving these goals. Time is often the obvious answer, but that’s a cop out, because if we really want to do something, we will find the time. So I look for the underlying reasons that stopped me. This can be lots of things, so it’s about knowing yourself, being honest with yourself and identifying things like fear of failure, feeling you should rather than want to, lack of confidence, lack of skill, feels like too big a task – anything really, it all depends on you. Of course you only have so much time, so looking at why you chose to spend your time on the goals you achieved is useful too – this is often a bit more subtle. For example you may have worked on something because it connects more strongly to your values or it gets you peer approval or it connects to your referred way of sensing. Once you’ve worked out what’s both stopping you and what’s enticing you, you can hopefully set better goals that you really will enjoy and also work to overcome fears etc (if you want to) Hope that makes sense and helps.

      Cathy above was right in asking me if I’d thought about doing an online coaching course for creatives. Walking people through this would be really useful to those who are interested. I noticed when I was replying to her that part of why I wasn’t doing it, was because I didn’t believe creative people wanted to set goals. At the time I was answering her a voice in my head was saying, ‘This is your belief Bekki, not necessarily the truth’ and your question proves creative people do want to set goals. So I’ll add developing an online course to my list of goals for this year. So thank you for your inspiration.

      If you want to set goals for this year, I did write a post a while back about setting goals well. The link is here https://thedartmooryarncompany.com/2015/08/26/defuzzing-the-beast/ If you put goals setting in my search box, there are a couple of other posts about goal setting too that you can also find.

      Thanks again for inspiring me to think about writing an online course. And good luck with your goals!


      1. Thank you for the detailed reply. What you’ve said makes sense and really resonates with me around a lot of my goal setting, my drives etc. There’s a difference between the goals we really want to engage with and achieve and the goals we feel we should be working on. I’ll check out your other post. I think an online course is a great idea. Good luck

        Liked by 1 person

  3. My main motivation for crafting is that I enjoy the process as well as the results, but my main goal is growing our craft business. That involves things I don’t like (paperwork) as well as things I do like (building inventory). I did a wider range of knitting (learning to read lace charts) and have set higher par inventory goals on other things. I still have a lathe in the garage to learn how to operate! So my lists never end.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re so right, the list never ends. And yes, the shame of it is, it’s a rare activity where we enjoy every part of it. I try to make a bit of a game of my paperwork and definitely set goals to achieve deadlines for that to stop myself procrastinating.

      A lathe in the garage sounds scary and exciting to me. Have fun with that when you get there. Hope to read about how it goes 🙂

      Good luck with all your goals for this year!

      Liked by 1 person

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