Notelets on Nurture #04
The art of creative solitude + finding joy in quiet moments
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“Solitude isn’t loneliness. Solitude is when the entire serene universe seems to surround and hold you quietly.”
— Victoria Erickson
Welcome back to my Sunday series, Notelets on Nurture, a gentle way for me to connect with you between my long-form pieces.
Today I have a question for you.
How much value do you place on solitude?
This is something I posed toof because, as a multi-hyphenate, she expresses her creativity in many ways.
Solitude is often mistaken for loneliness or isolation. But it's neither lonely nor isolating; it offers fertile ground where creativity can thrive.
After stepping back from a full-time teaching career, Hannah rediscovered the transformative power of having 'me-time'. Quiet interludes that empower her to be more creative, mindful, and ultimately more herself.
For today’s notelet, Hannah explores the role of solitude in her journey towards becoming a multi-faceted creative.
with Hannah Ashe
I am an introvert, although I don’t really care for labels. Perhaps a better way to describe it is to say that I regularly need solitude in my life.
This need has become stronger over the past few months and I believe this is because I have allowed my creative brain to fully express itself having left my full-time teaching job. Suddenly, and wonderfully, I have space in my week to create. Yet in order to do this I have to have some time alone with my thoughts.
Every day, I ensure that I create space to listen to an audiobook or podcast whilst doing something else. It could be walking, driving, cleaning, gardening. Anything where I can lose myself for at least 30 minutes in whatever I’m listening to, or my own thoughts, is a daily requirement.
I crave alone time in which to create. That might be working at my laptop, designing, making hand-written notes, sketching, reading or learning. It is imperative that I have plenty of time in my week for this, and it was one of the strongest driving forces behind leaving my full-time teaching job.
I enjoy socialising with people I care about and respect, but rarely in large groups. My ideal is to go to lunch or have coffee with one close friend and be able to chat about things important to us. The older I get, the more I dislike small talk and chit-chat. It serves no purpose to me!
My husband is a night owl, whilst I would describe myself as a lark. He works from home most days and so gets up around 7:30am each morning. I am usually awake around 6am and I savour that hour and a half. I am often very productive at this time, either for writing, making a plan for the day, or getting some jobs done around the house. It’s not because I don’t want to see my husband, but I just love the quietude of the early morning and then by 7:30am we will usually have breakfast together.
As of September, I reduced my teaching hours to 3 days per week, with no extra responsibility. This has left me with two days per week for creative projects. Most of that time is taken up with building my interior design business, but I am also now exploring writing, as well as one-to-one tutoring and piano teaching which is arranged to suit my schedule and is flexible.
Becoming a multi-hyphenate is allowing me to embrace creative solitude in a way that I wasn’t able to do previously. It’s giving me freedom to become the best version of myself and I am finally in the driving seat!
Thank you so much for sharing, Hannah.
As I navigate the next chapter of my life and work, I'm relishing the opportunity to look ahead and craft my own path. A path that encourages moments of quietude because, my goodness - in this fast-paced world - don’t we need that time and space to fill our creative cups? Solitude, I believe, is an essential ingredient for our wellbeing and creative output.
How do you make room for solitude in your life? And what does your creativity look like when you have that time and space?