Well, with my laptop blowing up on me last week, it's put a lot of my crafting plans on hold. My main priority right now is getting our homeschooling, personal files and all my blogging/crafty business stuff accessible again. While that is critical, it means life is a little more stressful and a lot less creative at the moment. This roadblock got me thinking about the challenges of crafting in general and some of the ways I'm trying to overcome them. Maybe you are too.
Key Note: Obviously this list is opinion based and my solutions are what seems to work for me at this moment. I'm hoping by sharing this, it'll get some dialogue going with even more thoughts & ideas on gaining and enjoying time to make things we love.
Finding the time: We all get pulled in so many directions with kids, work, the home, etc. Is it any wonder it can take weeks or months to finish something that would take maybe just 2-3hrs if we had uninterrupted time. Personally speaking, I find I tend to guilt myself into trying to get everything more important "done first" and, big surprise, it's never all done. I push off my projects until after everything else and then feel frustrated there's barely any time to do them. So when are we supposed to get all crafty when everything else is a bigger priority?
Since we set the clocks back around here, I've been going to bed & getting up a bit earlier so I can get more of my daily to-do list done before my main distractions (aka kids) are all over the place. It's a small thing, but it's helping. Cleaning, bills, computer stuff - all the things that can suck up time in a big way - get tackled when it's quiet and before I'm pulled in 5 directions at once. It's made it easier to grab a little time later in the day to work on creative things I want to do.
Breaking projects up can also make it easier to make progress. When I did the labor-intensive George Washington costume for Halloween, I cut the paper pattern pieces out while watching tv one evening, cut out & marked the fabric up in a 20 minute block the next day and then tackled the actual sewing on the weekend. It was a lot easier to get the grunt work done in some brief free moments and then save the more detailed attention stuff for when I could really focus on it.
Running out of ideas? While I'm sure the original intent was to inspire, a five minute browse of Pinterest usually makes me feel pretty uncreative. It feels like nearly ever idea has already been done and in such a polished way it can seem pointless to even attempt something.
Ignore the noise of the media feeds, Pinterest, craft stores, etc. I talked about this a bit when I decided to Quit The Craft Blog Rat Race. I find my own creative ideas flow best when I'm not looking at a bunch of other people's stuff or the unsubtle pressure of popular themes (like the myriad of Christmas crafts everywhere before Thanksgiving's even hit us). Finding inspiration away from the internet - nature, the current season, things my family wants or needs. Ideas that make me feel enthusiastic because I like them, not because I'm racing to catch up with what everyone else is doing.
And as far as the "been there, done that" crafts, if you really want to make something, go for it. Maybe the internet doesn't need a new tutorial post for the 1 millionth DIY camera strap cover or burp cloth ever made, but it doesn't mean you shouldn't sew one if it strikes your fancy. Crafting should be about enjoyment of the process and learning new skills, not impressing strangers online. Besides, sometimes the best new ideas come by putting a unique spin on an old idea or figuring out a way to put it together that's different from the rest.
Not being in the mood? This challenge is my biggest weakness. So often I wait all week for a window of time when I know I can get in my craft room or get back to working on something. Then the time comes and.....I totally don't feel like it. I'll procrastinate or get sidetracked on something else until I've got about 15 minutes of real craft time left and then feel guilty that I wasted it.
I'm starting to tell myself to tackle some easy win or easy stop projects when I'm feeling sort of unmotivated - things that aren't a big hassle/mess or can be set down and picked up again when I'm not really feeling it. It's got a more positive outcome than frittering away the time and then wishing I'd done more. I've also realized using my personal best time of day makes a huge difference. Even though I might have more uninterrupted time after the kids go to bed or at the crack of dawn, I'm usually too tired and it takes me longer to do just about everything or I'm more prone to goofing things up. I'm starting to use that open time for other things so I can free up other times when I'm still fresh.
Jack of All Trades, Master of None: We're so bombarded with new tutorials, new products and the throng of blogs that appear to know how to DIY everything these days, that it's easy to get caught up in the endless cycle of trying to craft it all and end up spending more money or loads of time on loads of things without really learning much about any of them. What's the point of having a bunch of supplies if you don't really use them?
I recently started thinking about getting into needle felting. I was all set to start buying the supplies and dive right in, but then I paused. I got a few books from the library to learn more before I did anything. Looking through those made me realize that I didn't have a particular thing I wanted to create and I still had loads of other craft stuff I've barely touched, so I'm holding off until I have something specific in mind I really want to do. When the times comes, maybe I'll start with a small kit just to see if it's something I like doing instead of spending a small fortune or overcrowding my limited storage space.
I'm also trying to get away from the trap of having a bunch of projects going at once. When I first started sewing I couldn't understand people who had several projects at various stages at any given time. I literally focused on a single project at a time and wouldn't even think about starting another until it was done. These days, I've got a bunch of semi-started stuff, some lurking around for a year (or longer). I remember being excited about them when I started, but letting them sit zapped a lot of the enthusiasm, so I'm now making myself finish things before I jump into something new. Concentrating on one thing means I'm putting more effort into it and then have a clearer mind for the next thing.
I'm not sure if these changes will all work, but I'm willing to keep trying so the satisfaction & relaxation crafting used to provide doesn't get stifled or kicked aside anymore.
Do you run into these same issues?
What are your biggest crafty challenges and how are you tackling them?