Reader question: making a “safe” place at home to create

Nona Makes asks: “How to deal with negativity or making a “safe” place at home to create when those around you are not as encouraging and nurturing as your workshops?”

I think this is a really important question.

If those who share your home don’t encourage you or at least accept you expressing yourself creatively it can be hard to find the courage to begin.

Creativity can’t flourish when every step feels criticised, or even worse shamed, or ridiculed.

It is really important that you make a mental/ physical space that feels safe when you sit down to write/ draw/ make music etc. If you don’t have that at home I would suggest seeing if you can find it somewhere else, or focus on creating that within yourself:

  • Find a way to create without scrutiny – do it when people aren’t home, do it in your bedroom, do it while watching tv and they aren’t paying attention to you, set up a painting corner in the laundry.
  • Create a beautiful box or folder and keep your works in there out of public view while you build your confidence
  • Head to a nice public library and do your thing there on a comfie couch with a view out the window.
  • Find a group of absolute beginners who do the thing you do and go meet with them, work together at a cafe or somewhere else that feels low stakes and fun (try Meetup as a great resource to find like minded groups).
  • Watch you tube videos of encouraging and enthusiastic people who love the thing you love, it will remind you that you are not the only one who loves this thing and remind you that you have a tribe out there somewhere
  • Find an online space where you can share what you make and have it kindly received (search Facebook for art groups and see what you find! If you are shy you might prefer a ‘closed’ group to a ‘public’ group, and a group with fewer members rather than more).
  • If you are constantly being told that what you make is worthless or a waste of time, you might need to spend time with people who are kinder and more encouraging! See if you can make some friends who share your interests – they aren’t likely to see it as a waste of time when you weave/ knit/ sing/ write etc. Going to a class/ fair/ expo / conference/ retreat on the thing you love might be one way to meet people who also love your creative pursuit.
  •  Practice some polite but assertive answers to the criticisms you hear (or maybe don’t hear but do fear).
  • Write a list of the common criticisms and then respond to each of them one by one in your journal. Imagine this is criticism a beloved friend of yours has just received, what would you say to make them feel better? How would you remind them that they are OK, or what they are doing is OK?

Remember that standing up for unique selves – doing what we love even if those around us don’t value it – is part of truly being authentic in this world. And if what you are doing is legal and not hurting anyone else it’s really no-one else’s business what you do for fun.