Via social media and in person, I’m constantly asked, ‘how did you start doing this?’. Usually, I’ll give a quick spiel that I’m sure you’re familiar with; how I’ve known how to sew since I was a child, and in 2019 I started making simple halter tops and matching sets for friends under the name ‘Anna Jean Kos’. Eventually, I made the decision to do AJK full time and since then I haven’t stopped designing and sewing.
I love this narrative. It’s a truthful, digestible story on how AJK began. It’s also very oversimplified. It doesn’t go into the challenges I faced (and continue to face) as a creative turning a hobby into their whole life and livelihood. It doesn’t begin to mention how hard it is to start something creative.
AJK is passionate about trying things and doing what you love, whether it’s for a hobby, side hustle or full time work. Please don’t confuse being creative with being productive. This is not about the girl-bossification of every single thing you create. This is about overcoming hurdles to start doing more of the things you enjoy, things that bring you the benefits of being creative. I’ve written this to hopefully encourage you to do something you’ve been wanting to for a while, but haven’t quite got round to starting.
Procrastination due fear of failure or uncertainty is a very common challenge faced by creatives. If you find yourself struggling to start, it’s important to recognize that you’re avoiding something you want to do, all because you can’t be completely certain of a positive outcome. When you’re at that point, you’ve completely overcomplicated the idea of where to start. You’re so lost in your thoughts that you avoid the first logical step. When you’re in that place, my advice is to take any small action that moves you forward and that engages your creativity. No pressure on yourself to finish it or for it to be ‘good’, just do something that progresses the idea or task, that requires physical action. Whether it’s roughly sketching design, writing a single sentence written on paper, loading a roll of film into your camera. When I find myself putting off starting a design because of uncertainty, I start cutting fabric and sewing literally anything related to the concept. Even if I end up with a terrible, messy version of what I want to create, it’s about getting out of your head, connecting your mind with your body to move forward. Do an action, no matter how small it is. Let go of the idea of perfection and enjoy the act of making something.