I remember the first time I realized that the amazing quilts I saw in quilt magazines and national shows were made by very human women and not some kind of artistic geniuses. Before that I thought they must have some special gift from God bestowed on them on some higher level to achieve such masterpieces. Well, they did, but it wasn't really what I originally thought. Don't get me wrong though.
These women are all talented artists but their real "magic" lies in the fact that they have discipline, patience and perseverance. Behind every great piece are hours and hours and hours of work. Not just regular work,but the kind of work that only gets done if you tie yourself to your machine and do it.
This week I was reminded of this fact. Everyday I would get up with the idea that I would do some chores, work my 9 hr day and get some sewing done. By the end of the day, my workday got done nicely, chores mostly got done and my studio said, "Nina who?!" Well to be more accurate I did get a few hours in on my new quilt but not nearly what I wanted to get done. The vision of the piece is so clear in my head I really just need to sit down and get it done. Easy right?! sigh......I wish.
Tell me if you think this sounds familiar? Okay! Gonna sew but what I need to do first is to put in a load of laundry....then the phone rings.....Paul stops me to yell about the latest White House fiasco....ohhh and let me start the roomba....what was I doing again?.....oh right I'll check my email and wouldn't it be nice to take a few minutes to watch Hometown....Erin and Ben are so cute...I wonder what they got new on their website....ohhhh look at those cute candles....do you think my mom would like them? I'll call my sister.....
You get the idea. Now it's not that I forgot I was suppose to be sewing. No ... it was just easier to
whittle away my day with little tasks and time wasting amusements....none of which is getting my latest brainstorm done.
So the truth (because lying to yourself is pointless) is that if I want to create art, I need to put in the work. A thunderbolt of inspiration is NOT going to replace the actual work I need to put in. Early this year, I set up a goal and schedule and I found that too rigid. So this week, I am trying some new routines to keep me motivated and working in my studio .....I hope these help you too....
- Internet free hours....no email, no social media, no checking the idea that just popped into my head
- Set an alexa timer and I don't stop working till it goes off. If I want to work after that fine but at least I know I worked at least 45 minutes.
- Shut my studio door so my family sees not to disturb me unless the blood can not be stopped
- Show off my progress to my family for what I call - Design Wall Validation (they know to ohhh and ahhhhh)
- Select a good audio book or catchy music
- Get enough rest and hydration
- Forgive myself for not being perfect
- Let go of the fear of failure
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It’s tough to work, maintain a household, and have the time and energy to create. There is only so much time and energy in a day. So yes, keep your expectations reasonable. These ideas seem a good way to maintain focus.
Yes, I have to really cut some time out of my day for art. Lately it has taken a back seat. Have a great day today.
wonderful list... I like the design wall reveal parties!! Give 'em a script my husband likes a script
I've been following your blog for some time and I really appreciate your thoughtful posts each week. I'm a person who takes running a household a serious responsibility and I find I have to get the 'work' done before I can play. Now with gardening in the mix it takes even more time away from the studio. That being said, I've been planning easier meals, let's face it I'm at burnout with the 3 meals a day thing. But I'm trying to be gentle with myself and I don't let social media suck my studio time away from me. Not having a day job helps so I do get 5 days into the studio for at least 2-5 hours each time. As I was saying to a quilting buddy just this week, you can't wait for inspiration to smack you on the head, you have to show up and do the work. I have been very prolific during the pandemic when many of my quilting friends have lost their motivation. Quilt on.
I really enjoyed reading your post, Nina Marie. Sure we've heard these ideas before but not from you with your unique spin. I thought when I retired I would put the time into my creative writing and I've become a needlewoman instead. I used to fret about it but now I'm ok with it and enjoy this needle and thread journey as much as I can. And my blog has lead me to photography so it's all good. So take care and carve out your creative time and enjoy it for what it is.
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