Over the summer I’ve been working on a big, intense quilting project that’s preoccupied a lot of time and all my mental energy.
Now it’s over, I’ve entered a creative kerfuffle. I have masses of ideas, lots of stuff Pinned for inspiration, thoughts of projects whirling round my brain, but feel like I can’t really grasp and go with any of them.
I feel like I am standing at the entrance to a maze, and can see tiny glimpses of my perfect next project there, in the centre of the meandering pathways, but I’ve got no idea how to get there. Usually there is another commission in the pipeline, so this wouldn’t be a problem, but I’ve given myself a break from magazine work…
Because I live with anxiety, decision making is something I can really struggle with. It’s interesting… I tried Googling craft and its relationship with anxiety, and found a heap of stuff about using craft to help with anxiety and depression, but sometimes I find it’s exactly the opposite. I wondered if it was because I am aiming to get paid for what I make, so there’s the pressure of it being a commission and not wanting to let people down, but actually, I think it’s more my perfectionist streak – or shall we be honest and call it a neurotic fear of being ‘wrong’? I’ve been dwelling on this, because it’s not how it should be, is it? And whilst I’m trying to make other life changes (being strict about daily meditation, changing eating habits to support my mental health), I’m thinking of ways that I can corral my creative ideas so that they don’t overwhelm me, causing craft paralysis.
My first idea was to think back over all the projects that I’ve completed (especially from years back, when I was just starting out), evaluate the styles and techniques that I’ve enjoyed and found most creatively enriching.
This means being really honest with myself and recognising the difference between things I have just loved making and things I have loved because I got brilliant feedback on them.
I’m mostly in the habit of taking pics of everything I’ve ever made, so I can have a scroll through and remember the feelings associated with each project. This is a bit of a boost in itself because it’s good to see the range of skills and achievements, but it’s also quite sad, I think, because I can see that 5 or 6 years ago, I was a lot more confident and playful in my choices.
Reading this back, I think there’s other stuff that I need to do to address a few issues, not least the ‘being wrong’ thing. I’m planning to write a few more posts on this subject – aiming at creating a toolkit to help me through those times when I hit this kind of block, or when my confidence and craft-esteem takes a dive.
So stick around if this is the sort of stuff that bothers you too.. and ideas! I’m after ideas please.. do you get crafters’ block? Are you overwhelmed by ideas? What do you do to quieten/ignore that internal negative voice?