January 28, 2011

Creative Process Interview with Kathie Lapcevic

I hope you are ready for more inspiration and ideas to keep you working on your creative projects. In case you missed any of the previous posts in this series, you can find them here. Today we get to hear from Kathie Lapcevic, the author of Two Frog Home and the creator of It's Only a Choice. On her blog Kathie shares a lot about the small joys of living simply and her various creative pursuits. I'm really glad that she could stop in here and share her thoughts since her writing frequently aims to inspire others and help them to reach for their dreams. I hope you'll enjoy reading about Kathie's creative process and her exciting projects. Please feel free to share your thoughts on this interview and on creating in the comments!

First, can you tell us a little bit more about yourself? 
I live in northwest Montana with my soul-mate, Jeff.  As a creative professional, I’m a writer and a photographer.  I write mainly about two of my favorite creative endeavors: food and gardening.  The mere fact that I can work on creating recipes and get paid for it never ceases to amaze me.  As a creative hobbyist, I focus on quilting, sewing, and knitting though I’ve been known to dabble in other crafts as I’m inspired.

Tell us a little bit about your work space. I use a spare bedroom as my studio/office.  It’s a small room about 100 square feet, but perfect for my needs and I’m incredibly grateful to have this room of my own. 

What goes on in there?  Mostly I write and sew in here.  I have two tables one permanently houses my cutting board and the other keeps the sewing machine.  I also have a small desk, perfect for my laptop.

What do you like about it/why does it work well?  I enjoy that I can leave projects half done strewn about the tables without worrying about clearing a table for dinner or company.  I know just how lucky having this dedicated space makes me and I never take it for granted.   

What would you change about it if you could?  I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I’d like a larger space, but really I have no real complaints

What stalls or inhibits your creative process? I have to honestly say here, that I’m my biggest saboteur.  When I don’t stick to a routine or when I don’t get the rest and rejuvenation I need; I get stuck.  I personally function best when I adhere to a routine, when I neglect that for too long, I find it extremely difficult to get back into my creative work.  I also find that I have to work twice as hard, because I haven’t practiced my skills and my mind can’t settle into the work that must be done.  Including some kind of rest and/or fun in my routine is as important as sticking to my work, because without that rest my brain just gets fried and nothing good happens from a place of burn out.  

Morning Routine
Can you tell us about a project or something you have made that you really love or find really exciting? I wrote a cookbook, Gift it From Scratch, that will be published in 2011 by Willow Creek Press.  The writing of the cookbook itself is an accomplishment of which I am extremely proud.  The fact that I followed through on that manuscript and faced rejection (lots and lots of rejection) before receiving and signing the book contract is something that I will never forget – it was vulnerable, heart-breaking, exhilarating, and uplifting sometimes all at the same time.

Cloudy Work Day

Do you ever have doubts about your creations or creative process? How do you keep them away? 
Of course I have doubts every now and then; I don’t see how a person couldn’t.  I don’t think that those doubts have to be crippling, however.  I just think that they’re a normal part of being a creative human being.  I don’t know that I keep them away so much as accept them when they come, move through those feelings, and get back to work.  The one good thing about working creatively as a form of self-employment is that you get feedback in the form of money and/or comments.  I’ve learned that I need to use that feedback to validate myself and my work.  I’ve also learned that rejections are not personal and I need to step back and look to those rejections for ways to improve not only my craft but also how I promote myself and my abilities. 

Do you have any words of wisdom or advice for people who want to create more or people who are trying to earn a living from creating? Keep at it, whatever it is, don’t give up especially when you most feel like it.  I think creativity has to be nurtured every single day, not only when the inspiration strikes.  Some days this might mean that you come up with absolutely nothing of product value, but you will have improved your skills and that is never a bad thing.

Once you decide that you want to make an income from your creative endeavors, whether as a little something on the side or as a sole-income, your attitude must shift from that of a hobby to a business.  This is extremely important because a business is something that must be attended to with regular hours and always looking forward to the future.  A business must be attended to whether or not inspiration strikes; deadlines have to be met whether or not you’re feeling it today.  Take classes to not only improve your creative skills but also your business skills.

One final word of advice, find creative people to help and support you.  Everyone needs a mentor, find someone in your creative field who’s willing to answer questions and help you navigate the waters.  Life is so much easier when you’re not re-inventing the wheel with each new project.

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