The thing about … staying creative

by Sharon Santoni

We are busy here at MFCH, and although I have a wonderful team working with me, I find it difficult to carve out time to write here on the blog. Staying creative is a challenge. 2024 is the year when I promised myself I get back to writing regularly. I have missed the blog and missed the moments of sharing that the blog brings. So if you’ll have me back, then here I am!

To jump-start my reawakened writing habit, I’m starting a new series called ‘So The Thing About …’. Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be focusing on situations and things I come across as a publisher, entrepreneur, Instagrammer, and ‘older’ woman trying to balance her daily life with an unexpected full-time job. I hope you like this new series, and I hope you’ll feel encouraged to share your own experiences in the comments below.

Staying Creative

So the thing about staying creative is just that …. You have to stay creative.

For me being creative is as important as breathing, I literally feel ill at ease if I have days in a row with no opportunity to get creative.  Also, I have the added pressure of knowing that my creativity has a direct influence on the content of our social media and websites.

When we get busy, or too deep into a routine, it is so easy to get into a creative desert, parched for inspiration. But I have discovered that when I feel like I’m running on empty, it is possible to jump-start the machine and get those juices flowing again.    I can literally force myself to be creative, even when it doesn’t come easily, and quite quickly it will take effect.

My easy go-to is flowers.  Foraged in the garden, or shop-bought, it’s not very important, the main thing is to start playing with their shapes and colors and enjoy the process of bringing together a beautiful arrangement.

The next step is to take photos.   Again, this is not a given.  Sometimes the light doesn’t work, the flowers don’t pop, and the composition is off-balance, but by pushing myself and making it fun I get there in the end.

There are a zillion ways to get creative …. photography, painting, pottery, writing, cooking …. The thing is to get the ball rolling. 

Always remember,

the more you create, the more creative you become

and the more you want to create and the better you get.

Now it’s your turn to tell us about your need to be creative, and how you avoid ‘running dry’.

60 comments

Kelly Hale January 25, 2024 - 6:53 pm

Thank you for coming back!
You have been missed.
I so look forward to your blog-maybe another short story?
Thank you again!

Reply
SHARON SANTONI January 28, 2024 - 4:04 pm

Thank you so much Kelly , this means the world to me!
xx

Reply
DD January 28, 2024 - 8:14 pm

Welcome back from me as well! I discovered you originally from your blog and have so missed it…

Reply
Marian January 29, 2024 - 11:06 am

I got here thanks to Instagram, I’m a lover of flowers and cottages, similar in age to you. I like your style. Keep it up.

Reply
Gretchen M Bertman January 25, 2024 - 7:58 pm

We all love your writing and have missed it. I look forward to more of your wonderful stories.

Merci!

Reply
Inge from Bavaria January 26, 2024 - 6:41 pm

Please more short stories.

Reply
SHARON SANTONI January 28, 2024 - 4:05 pm

Yes I know! I want that too, hopefully this creativity streak will lead to a story 🙂

xx

Reply
Valerie Ann DiStefano January 26, 2024 - 6:43 pm

Thank you for reviving your blog. Your writing is a breath of fresh air. I am looking forward to reading your all of your new posts.

Reply
SHARON SANTONI January 28, 2024 - 4:05 pm

Thank you Valerie Ann, that is such a kind thing to say!
xx

Reply
Cheryll January 26, 2024 - 11:37 pm

Good day to you! I’m so happy you are returning to blogland. I discovered your blog years ago and have missed your contributions to our inspirational pursuits. Your property and flower gardens have been such a joy to see. You are so correct in saying that the more you create the more creative you get. I found this post via Shannon Ables link in her Friday post. I look forward to what is to come, best wishes for 2024!

Reply
SHARON SANTONI January 28, 2024 - 4:06 pm

Thank you Cheryll, your words make me smile. Best wishes to you too!

xx

Reply
Shelagh Kouwenhoven January 28, 2024 - 10:16 pm

A wonderful surprise in my email today. Welcome back.

Reply
Sheila in SF January 30, 2024 - 7:31 am

Welcome will look forward to your blog and have always enjoyed your short stories.
Bring creative is a wonderful feeling but I have difficulty finding time to sit and paint, I really want to improve but somehow put it on the back burner, which I find disappointing.

Reply
Roslyn Short February 3, 2024 - 11:25 am

You have been an inspiration to us all Sharon .We lived in your life & that enabled us to see your vision & even question how we live & all that is out there to experience . The brocante trip I did with you yrs ago still lingers vividly , as if it was yesterday . I’m renovating an historical house in Highlands NSW ,& now onto a small terrace ,always questioning ,how would the French do it ,how can I add that quirky essence that so inspired me from my adventure with you those years ago ? Love to see you developing your journalistic style ,you were always an amazing photographer with that camera of yours . Time to be creative never stops & you have inspired moi ,Ros

Reply
Melissa K January 27, 2024 - 12:19 am

Sharon, I’m so happy you’re writing again! I’m fairly new to MFCH but am excited to read your blog, as I believe I remember seeing it’s where “it all began”. Please don’t feel creative pressure, just be yourself! That’s the most marvelous thing about MFCH, the genuine feel. We love it, and all you choose to share!
I’m pretty sure I need to step up my creativity. I’d love to try new artistic areas but am a fairly intense person and things meant to relax and enjoy can quickly become sources of frustration. Knitting and crocheting don’t even relax me….who says that??
The most off the cuff creative freedom I experience is either throwing together a unique meal (usually out of necessity with this and that that’s on hand) or a fun, different outfit style, where I grab an item of clothing or jewelry and challenge myself to come up with something completely new with it. Some favorites have come about with both methods, I must say!

Reply
Jane B January 27, 2024 - 6:50 pm

Welcome back!…or, maybe – welcome home. It seems to me that this is one of your homes – and we’re all happy for that. I tend to think of myself as creative, even at my age (70++). I love to write and always felt someday I would write that book; even a few friends are urging me on. After first retiring, I started painting and re-finishing furniture and absolutely loved it. After downsizing and moving to a 55 plus apartment community, it was time to give that up. Luckily, I met an artist who has become a good friend. She has taught me to paint (watercolor) and helped me to get back to drawing (charcoal) which I used to love doing in my teens and twenties. As it is said….you’re never to old to learn! There are days I don’t feel like painting or drawing, most of those days I make myself get off the sofa and head for my craft room with a glass of wine and some soft music playing and pull out the paints and/or pencils and/or charcoal and just start the process. Within minutes, I’m enjoying the effort which ends up being no effort at all, just fun and inspiring. Many drawings/paintings get thrown in the trash…others don’t. Kind of like life…it’s the journey that matters, not the destination!

Reply
Melody curtis January 29, 2024 - 2:20 am

So enjoy your work, Sharon. You have found a niche for many of us. Your blogs are inspiring and the magazine is savored from cover to cover! So lovely

Reply
Deborah Heath January 28, 2024 - 4:10 pm

It’s good to hear from someone who is ‘older’ and hasn’t thrown in the towel! Personally I think it’s essential to be active and creative, inspired and inspiring. We’ll be living a lot longer in the future so we might as well make the most of it.

Reply
Eowana Jordan January 28, 2024 - 6:38 pm

Hi Deborah~ I mentioned you in my comment below~~ Have a deightful day~~

Reply
Vicky from Athens January 28, 2024 - 4:32 pm

What wonderful news this Sunday morning! I’m beyond thrilled that you’ll be writing again! I’ve truly missed your posts! You always have something to say that reaches out and grabs me. As a very active “senior” I always enjoy your stories of reinvention and creativity … something I’m always focused on. I look forward to hearing from you very soon! Thank you!!

Reply
Patricia January 28, 2024 - 11:02 pm

Have really missed your short stories – so happy you are back

Reply
Sharon Conway January 28, 2024 - 4:37 pm

So happy you are back to blogging!! I love reading your stories! I agree, I feel so empty when I go a few days without creating. I recently retired and I am working on building in time to be creative each day, it’s hard. When I was working it was sometimes days before I could have creative moments. I am thankful for the extra time now that allows my creative spirit come out and I am loving it. It creates a sense of peace in me.

Reply
Julie January 28, 2024 - 4:50 pm

This is my maiden voyage into your blog or any blog for that matter. Your words on the need to be creative are true, encouraging, timely and so welcome. It’s so good to be reminded. Simplification has been my process in order to allow the time and space for living the creative life. Looking forward to reading more from you.

Reply
Cassie Keturakis January 28, 2024 - 5:22 pm

Sharon,
Always brilliant, inspiring, and doggedly determined to make things beautiful. A gift, we all receive with gratitude. I’ve begun tutoring young readers again. I forgot how creative the activity is and how my brain says, “Yea…you woke up!”

Reply
Jamie Cronin January 28, 2024 - 5:36 pm

Hi Sharon,
I’m so happy to hear that you are going to start writing again. You are a lovely and elegant example of what a mature woman has to offer. I’ve admired the work you have accomplished to reinvent yourself.
I recall a lovely short story you wrote several years ago. I’d enjoy having another adventure in France. Maybe a sequel?
Bon Chance!

Reply
Melva Breitenstein January 28, 2024 - 5:47 pm

Sharon, I think Jamie said it wonderfully for me:
“You’re a lovely and elegant example of what a mature woman has to offer.” I would add that you are fun, encouraging, and down to earth…all of which makes it delightful to follow your blog!

Reply
Lorrie Orr January 28, 2024 - 6:07 pm

Sharon, I have missed your writing about life in your world in France. I have followed you from almost the very beginning, I think, and admire your take on life as it is, making the best of the moments. Your thoughts on staying creative as life whirls around us is something I take to heart. I’ve recently begun painting and love it, yet struggle to “find the time”. Thank you for this reminder that creativity matters.

Reply
Vicki Bouchard January 28, 2024 - 6:28 pm

Sharon, you have always inspired me. We share the same interests and MFCH is a huge source of creative energy for me. I have a blog that I have recently revived for the same reasons you are back to your blog. I miss the creative focus building a blog entails. I love to share photos of my garden and flowers. I will be a rapt reader of your posts

Reply
Eowana Jordan January 28, 2024 - 6:36 pm

To Deborah Heath.. I am 76.. just like the trombones in the famous song from The Music Man… and I REFUSE to throw in the towel!! Keep up with your mani/pedis and eye cream, ladies! Nothing makes you feel more creative than to be creative with your own self!! Wear RED! Don’t stop buying fun shoes, altho now they are ballet flats. And above all: Listen to Maurice Chevalier; his positive philosophy was the best! I loved him in Gigi and all his movies. He never played a serious part. A day is not complete without laughter!!

Reply
Suzanne Updegraff January 28, 2024 - 6:47 pm

Sharon, this is such excellent news! Anything you produce, from the fabulous boxes, to the magazine, to your blog is an essential gift for all of us. I love the new title So The Thing About … clever, thoughtful and so many ways to add value to that sentence stem. Just the other day, I had a huge spark of creativity. One of my 2024 missions is to “clean up my old life.” I turn 70 in May and I am slowly cleaning out every drawer, closet, cabinet, etc., so that my children won’t have to do that task one day. I am finding all sorts of things that I kept through the last 70 years. I even think a creative book on What We Keep might be in order. Such an interesting, creative idea, right? I wish you so much luck and I am delighted to read your new blog. Cheers! From Denver, Colorado, your friend Suzanne Updegraff.

Reply
Marie Dowling February 4, 2024 - 4:45 am

There is a beautiful small book called ‘The gentle art of Swedish death cleaning” by Margareta Magnusson, published in 2017 when she was in her eighties. She has since published ‘The Swedish art of ageing well.” Both recommended highly. Her first book has also been made into a tv series, in Australia it is on SBS tv.

Reply
Charlotte DuBose January 28, 2024 - 7:11 pm

YES! One day we will meet, I’m convinced of that. You made my Sunday!

Reply
Rusty Rodriguez January 28, 2024 - 7:15 pm

Sharon, your blog comes at a time when I needed to remind myself that one mustn’t neglect creativity. I’m a watercolor artist and some days the muse has traveled elsewhere. I try to do something everyday. Normally when I reach one horizon, there is a quest for another.
You of course have been an inspiration. One must remember that life’s expectations do not always reflect our desires. Keep blogging!

Reply
Cindy Mayer January 28, 2024 - 7:23 pm

Sharon, merci for bringing something new to the table. I have always enjoyed your blogs and the piece you wrote about yourself on that New Eves regarding, reinventing yourself.

Reply
Cindy Mayer January 28, 2024 - 7:29 pm

Sharon, merci for bringing something new and fresh to the table. I have enjoyed your blogs over the year. The one that spoke loudest to me was the one you wrote about reinventing yourself after your kids left the nest. My Instagram page is under my maiden name Cindy McClaskey.

Reply
Judi January 28, 2024 - 7:35 pm

Sharon,
I think this is wonderful (for you and us)!! I am madly searching my stored emails of your wonderful story (with watercolor illustrations) of the young woman who inherited a property in France. I loved both the serialized story and the paintings. Would love more of the same!’
“See” you soon!!

Reply
Gray January 28, 2024 - 7:52 pm

Wow Sharon! This really spoke to me. My 2 year old blog is also about reinvention after loss and retirement! I had to pause my new blog, to care for parents last year, but things are calming down now and I am hoping to get it going again. I also have the need to be creative and have had a hard time getting back into it with all the demands on my time. Thanks for the pep talk.

Reply
Victoria C. Sharma February 22, 2024 - 12:21 am

I enjoyed your blog. This is the first one I’ve had the pleasure of reading. It gave me a chuckle when I read
About society’s view of the older women in the work place. In my opinion you are not old. Yes, mature and creative, full of energy and a reminder to all of us that life goes on until our last breath. At 77 I’m new, (by a couple of years)to your MCFH boxes and magazine. My subscriptions gives me the pleasure of travel through your photography and the gifts in the boxes. I’m looking forward to taking a pottery class and just getting out there since my retirement. Thank you dear Sharon fondly, Victoria

Reply
Sue M. January 28, 2024 - 7:53 pm

I too would love to read more of your short stories…always enjoyed them!

Reply
Alexandra Ballard January 28, 2024 - 7:58 pm

Thank you and merci bien, Sharon! This is wonderful advice and, for me, a timely reminder to reserve space in one’s schedule to nurture the creative process. It IS like breathing and I, too, have noticed that the more I create, the better the outcomes of all endeavours I undertake (not just the ones that seem outwardly creative or artistic).

Looking forward to seeing where your creative energies take you throughout 2024!

Reply
Sharri Harmel January 28, 2024 - 8:21 pm

I love this Sharon, and look forward to hearing your thoughts. A good reminder to schedule in creative time and doing so is just as important as other appointments we put in our agendas!!

Reply
Vivian Zanon January 28, 2024 - 8:27 pm

Sharon, I cannot believe how excited I am to read you are back! You, your blog, your magazine are so inspirational, and I thoroughly enjoy your work. I love everything you’re doing. Many, many thanks!

Reply
Amy Osteen January 28, 2024 - 8:42 pm

Hi Sharon,
I am new to your blog, so I have the added joy of reading your latest entries and catching up on previous ones. I too have to be creative. For me it is about learning something new, a sense of accomplishment, and enjoying the final product. Whether it is for myself or as a gift. Working full time I also find being creative gives me time to slow down, reflect and enjoy the moment. Wishing you many more creative miments.

Reply
Amy Osteen January 28, 2024 - 8:43 pm

“ moments”

Reply
Claire LS January 28, 2024 - 8:58 pm

You are one of my favourite writers and I enjoy all of your social media updates. I am particularly inspired by your relaxed approach to creativity and elegance. It is wonderful to hear you may share some blog posts more often. I find the winter season a bit more challenging for being creative and your reminder in this post to bring in some flowers is a good one. I have added it to my plans for the coming week. Thank you!

Reply
Ronda January 28, 2024 - 9:17 pm

Dear Sharon – You are an inspiration to the older women in the world. Creativity is truly air that we breathe and food for our souls. I enjoy finding constant inspiration with everything you provide with your business.
Thank you for taking us along on your blog. I look forward to breathing it all in.

Reply
Rhonda Reeves January 28, 2024 - 10:14 pm

My husband has been diagnosed with stage 4 renal cancer-the reality of this change in our lives completely knocked me off kilter. What I have come to realize is that being engaged in my own life and creative outlets is of vital importance for both of us. So-I arrange flowers, plan my garden, take photos and tweak my decor—all of it makes me feel better.

Reply
sharon santoni January 29, 2024 - 9:55 pm

Oh my goodness Rhonda. I’m so sorry to read this. Writing to you by email now. Sharon

Reply
Elaine January 28, 2024 - 11:30 pm

Always inspiring, Sharon! Can’t wait to read your musings. I have a full time job as well and find the creative writing never quite gets scratched off the “to do” list. If you can do it, so can I!!!! Thank you for leading by example!!

Reply
Daniela January 29, 2024 - 1:36 am

Oh yes please write ! It’s wonderful to read for me while sipping some tea or coffee and having a break from my “ over active, creative” life !
Reading a blog is so much more personal than the other social media with the overflow of pictures or reels . Love the idea and wise words from an “older “ woman are always

Reply
Luisa Nunes January 29, 2024 - 1:53 am

How I perceive this need for you to continue being creative. Thank you for your inspiring sharing because I believe being creative awakens much more in us than just trying to create beautiful things. Being creative means enchanting ourselves every day with what surrounds us in a reality that is not always enchanting. I also do it beyond my work as a biologist and academic, through my drawings and books representing the natural world. Xxx

Reply
Gwen Weihe January 29, 2024 - 3:09 am

Sharon thanks for getting us to think of creativity. I am in my 80s+ and I really did some thinking if I was creative. I love doing tablescapes , trying new recipes and putting together wardrobe ideas not just black. Thanks for coming back and getting all of our creative juices going!!

Reply
Fiona McKeogh January 29, 2024 - 11:18 am

Thank you so much for coming back … I so missed the lovely content you created at the beginning … ❤️

Reply
Amanda Jenkins January 29, 2024 - 1:45 pm

Sharon, your work and creativity are an inspiration! I enjoy the product of your creativity immensely and have shared it with my sister, who also is inspired by it. What a gift you are blessed with, and like a fruit tree,the more it is tended, the sweeter the fruit. I recently loved your article and photo of your beautiful figs you grew. Thank you for sharing with us!

Reply
Kellie January 29, 2024 - 5:30 pm

So glad you’re back Sharon. This really resonates with me. My life has become very complicated, with little time for creativity. I’m an artist at heart, and not being able to create is like being suffocated. I need to figure out how to bring some creativity back into my life, as it makes everything in my life so much better. Looking forward to your upcoming blog posts.

Reply
Jean Solari January 29, 2024 - 5:37 pm

As always, you are such an inspiration Sharon. I look forward to reading this series.

Reply
Suzanne January 29, 2024 - 11:20 pm

Sharon, would you share the previous short story ? Must read.

Reply
Judy January 30, 2024 - 6:37 pm

I am fairly new to your blog, but am loving everything I have seen. I am recently retired and figuring out how to be all these things in this new part of my journey. I look forward to hearing much more from you.

Reply
Judy W January 31, 2024 - 6:59 pm

I’m happy that you are writing your blog again. I am 81 and have been writing my life’s story–1 story at a time with a group of 5 other women. I also enjoy hooking rugs (using 1/4″ strips of wool, photography and knitting. Creativity has always been a priority for me and I have to make deals with myself to clean office files or sweep the floors and then reward myself with a creative project. While I am doing the mundane jobs I think about what my next creative project will be. I’m looking forward to more of your writing.

Reply
Britt-Marie Waters February 4, 2024 - 4:15 pm

Thank you!

One day at a time and we all deserve to follow our passions and make time for what matters most to us. <3

Reply

Leave a Comment