It’s been around two and a half years since I first launched Elsie Road. It’s gone through a number of changes and slow periods as my life—and my priorities, capacity, and goals—shifted around it. As my life shifts again into a season where I’m renewing my focus on Elsie Road, I knew something had to change.
I’ll be honest, when it comes to an unfocused brand, Elsie Road could be a poster child. And as someone who makes their living developing and executing brand voice and content strategy, I know that unfocused branding can kill you before you even get started. But when your brand is so close to your heart, it can be hard to find perspective.
Over the last few weeks I’ve spent time thinking about Elsie Road. What do I want it to accomplish? How can it serve people? Who is it serving? The answer to those questions and more came down to two core beliefs (which I promptly wrote on note cards and taped to my wall): creative work is good, worthwhile work, and creativity is accessible. What do I mean by that?
Creative work is good, worthwhile work.
I meet a lot of people who struggle with making their creative work a priority. Or if they do prioritize it, they feel guilty about all the other things they’re not doing. But here’s the thing: your creative work is valuable. Not for its outcome or its ability to generate income, but in its essence. The very act of creating has value. If you believe in God like I do, how much more true is this? Your creativity and the desire to express it is a gift. So get out there and use it.
This doesn’t mean you have to be content with creating alone in a room and forego the outcome and income. The desire to publish or make money through your creative work is good—and if you stick around, I’ll help you do that—but it’s not required to make your creative work worthwhile.
Creativity is accessible.
Nearly every writer I’ve ever met is quick to downplay their writerly qualifications. “I’m just an aspiring writer” or “I like writing but I’ve never actually published anything or got paid for my writing.” And I’m sure this downplaying isn’t unique to writers. I’ve also met many people on the other side of the equation: “This person isn’t really a writer” or “This person just does <insert creative pursuit> as a hobby” or the dreaded, “This person self-published their book.”
If you struggle with validating your creativity, let me give you a little nudge. If you’re on the other side of the equation, I’m not making space for it. This might sound naive or sentimental—or maybe like the self-justification of a writer who’s never been published—but I’m ok with that (and I have been published). We all know creating is difficult—that life is busy, opportunities hard to come by, and time too scarce. You don’t need me to tell you that, we’re all living it. But you might need me to tell you that it’s ok to make space for your creativity. That you don’t need to have a specific path or qualifications to write that book, start that blog, design those prints.
Now I don’t want you to confuse this desire for accessibility with a satisfaction with mediocrity. I don’t think your (or my) first book draft will be bestseller material, your first blog post infused with witty wisdom, or your first print expertly designed. I believe creative work is good work, but it’s also work. It takes practice, working through the kinks, learning from people who have dedicated years of their life to getting better.
So what does that look like at Elsie Road? It means we’ll use this platform to encourage you in your creative work, to provide inspiration from other creatives, and equip you with the resources to build your creative skills. I’ll be standing by the open door welcoming you in—regardless of your qualifications—and walking along the path with you as we dig deeper, work harder, and get better.
Thanks for reading Elsie Road, a lifestyle magazine for writers and creatives, where we’re making space for your creative work.