(Yes. Lower case title, just to reclaim some of my quirkiness.)
I recently posted about taking a break from the creative world, from the quilty world, from whatever and while I was gone, I had some to time to think about how I’d gotten to that non-creative place.
I’d say, for me it was a factor of four: Time, Health, and Mental/Physical Fatigue, as well as a Too Much to Do. My Dad used to say “Too many irons in the fire put out the flame.” While a reference to the bars of iron that blacksmiths use, I did have too much going on.
I was intrigued with the idea of Creative Block, and one article “7 Types of Creative Block and What to Do About Them,” from my favorite place online (99U) discussed this issue, that apparently is a very-much-real thing. In that piece, I liked the sub-topic of Work habits that don’t work, as I have been struggling to (re)learn three new computer programs: EQ7 (I learn it, then forget it, and there’s so many hurdles with the design of this software…but then that’s another post), Affinity Photo (to replace Photoshop) and Affinity Designer (to replace Illustrator). Three more irons in that proverbial fire.
99U’s advice to “[s]tep back and take a good look at how you’re working, and where the pain points are….If you don’t have enough energy, are you working at the right time of day? If you feel paralyzed by freedom, introduce more structure and order into your day. If you feel constrained by routine, find room for improvisation” felt like it was just for me.
I always love the Brain Pickings articles, and the review on a book from Danielle Krysa (Creative Block: Get Unstuck, Discover New Ideas. Advice & Projects from 50 Successful Artists) seems to hit some of those stuck spots:
Jessica Bell noted that “When I can’t make progress, it is often because I am mentally scattered; this happens when I am overcommitted or have a schedule without any breathing room in it. I have to have a lot of space and quiet in my head to think my best thoughts. An artist I admire told me a few years ago that “you can’t make art in the cracks.” Carving out a block of time devoted to nothing else but the pursuit of new work has never steered me wrong.”
So, Miss Gasoline Station stepped aside and made space for some creative time. I’ll be posting a few projects in the next post, but since it’s summer and it’s time to play, it’s good to keep a balance between working and quilting and cooking and playing and family and friends…
Thanks to all of you who wrote and left comments on my last post. We headed out that day for a family reunion and I left the keyboard behind, but I read them all and appreciated your encouragement. I’m slipping back into the creative life, one stitch at a time.
The block of granite which was an obstacle in the pathway of the weak becomes a stepping stone in the pathway of the strong. –Thomas Carlyle
Each is given a bag of tools,
A shapeless mass and a book of rules;
And each must make, ere life is flown,
A stumbling block or a stepping stone.
–R. L. Sharpe
Because who knows what might spur your creativity, I’ve got some books to give away. If what I’m giving away (this will go on, erratically, for several posts) tickles your fancy or appeals to you in some way, if you leave a comment, please let me know you’d like to enter the giveaway. Some of the books are ones I’ve purchased and read, and no longer need; others were publisher giveaways at Quilt Market, and it’s time to pass them on.
The first one is Lines by Design by Debbie Grifka, a lovely book on how to make elegant modern quilts. Good luck! Giveaway will close in a few days and I’ll contact the winner by email and get it sent out.