LISA MALTBY Illustration & Lettering


Welcome to my blog where I post about all things creative, from my latest food illustrations, design work and hand lettering doodles, to articles about freelancing and creativity. I hope you like my posts.

Wake up and smell the coffee: being mindful about your work

wake up and smell the brew

Before I’ve even had my breakfast I will probably have checked my emails at least twice, caught up on various social media sites, posted a photo of my toast on Instagram and updated my Facebook status to something along the lines of “I hate mornings”. Okay, so maybe it’s not that extreme, but it’s close. It’s no surprise I don’t like mornings if I am already bombarded with information before I’ve set foot out of the house. I don’t know about you but I feel like I’m constantly interrupted: my phone  vibrating with notifications and text messages every two minutes. 

It’s not only the interruptions that can leave you feeling a little distracted. The problem for creative people, or people who own their own businesses, or people who simply just want to maintain a presence on social media, is that you need to regularly update your profile with interesting stuff. You end up spending so much time trying to be interesting that it’s a self defeating process. After all, how interesting is someone that does nothing other than update their profile on social media? 

I often find that after I’ve done a piece of creative work it’s easy to spend nearly as long promoting myself across social media platforms. I, probably along with most artists, see the value in this – there is no greater way of advertising your work for free. The only catch is that you end up talking more about your work than actually doing your work. I’m starting to bore myself. It’s time to wake up and smell the coffee (okay, so I don’t drink coffee, but ‘wake up and smell the tea bag’ doesn’t sound nearly as good).

Now don’t get me wrong, all artists have to use some form of self promotion if they want to sell their work or get commissions, it’s just that it’s easy to get into the trap of being so immersed in self promotion that there is no space for perfecting your craft. When was the last time you did something that was genuinely inspired, rather than what you felt would make you look good on your latest tweet or blog post? And when was the last time you truly engaged in what you were doing? Do you ever allow yourself to get lost in a project or are you still allowing interruptions that leave you feeling fuzzy headed? 

I read a blog post today that said “The thing that defines a writer is that the writer writes.” and it’s the same with anything isn’t it? You’re only a painter if you paint; an actor if you act. Stop talking about it and do it. Stop pretending you’re something you aren’t. I’ve decided to start investing properly into the things that truly inspire me – to write and to draw. That may mean I can’t spend as much time telling you what I’ve been up to, but when I do it will hopefully have far more substance. 

So I apologise if you don’t get to find out what I had for breakfast tomorrow, instead I shall living in the moment; waking up and savouring that smell of toast and a brew. There’s nothing better for creativity than being sensitive to your surroundings and engaging with the present. So turn off your phone, breathe, and do whatever the hell you were born to do for at least an hour.