Hello quilting friends…..I read an interesting blog recently about being in an artistic slump. You know, that time when everything you normally love to do, whether it’s quilt, paint, draw, write, weave, sculpt, etc…..just isn’t doing it for you. You need a push, and you find yourself depressed over overachiever friends. Everyone finds themselves in creative blocks now and then, so I reinterpreted the suggestions for quilters. But these work for pretty much anything…..just fill in the blanks. It also ties in with a fascinating documentary that aired on PBS……about Dr. Marian Diamond, MY LOVE AFFAIR WITH THE BRAIN, about neuroscience and brain plasticity, our human need to continually feed our brains with new things…..remember the old saying, use it or lose it.
1. Show Up: This is the single most effective thing you can do to improve your creativity and productivity…spend time in your sewing room. Get in there. Even if you are just looking around, sorting fabrics, thumbing thru quilt magazines, or organizing your space. Simply spending time in your studio will inspire you, and improve your productivity and creativity.
2. Set Goals: Set goals for yourself and break them down into smaller categories: Long Range, Short Term and Immediate. Example: I am going to piece 5 blocks today, 2 rows this week etc and you’ll be finished in no time.
3. Dress the Part: Get comfy. Put on your favorite comfortable sewing clothes for motivation. Discover your power outfit and wear it when you need to perform at your best.
4. Connect with Community: Join an online forum or a local quilt guild and meet once a month. Start a blog and invite people to share their comments. Attend a retreat where you meet with old friends or make new ones. Join a bee. Visit quilt museums and shows. Connecting with others will keep you going and inspired.
5. Make Yourself Accountable: Tell someone what you are working on and share your progress with them. Enlist their help to keep you on track. Knowing that someone is waiting to see your results can help maintain your momentum.
6. Adjust your Expectations: Not every quilt will earn a ribbon or grand prize so take off the magnifying glasses and stop obsessing over matched seams. Keep in mind where it’s being used….is it a throw quilt or show quilt!?!
7. Open Your Studio: Invite friends over to quilt. This will motivate you to get your sewing space cleaned and organized. It’s just the kick in the pants you might need, and gives you time in your space.
8. Enter shows: Nothing like a deadline to get you motivated so enter quilt shows and create new work to submit. Even if you don’t win a ribbon, the exercise of judging your work is invaluable. Yes, we said stop being so critical, but it’s all about balance.
9. Take a Class: Sign up for a class or workshop. This will help you plug into your quilt community and connect with like minded folks. It’s a perfect way to find additional inspiration.
10. Organize a bee: Invite friends over to discuss what works for everyone. Is it a large open bee, or small group that meets in homes? How often do you meet? Again, more accountability for each of us when friends keep us motivated.
11. Trade knowledge: Share your knowledge and techniques and welcome the same from others. Use the feedback you receive to improve. The exchange of ideas (those lightbulb moments) will help you stay energized.
12. Give Yourself Permission: This is the most important tip of all…Don’t let other work trap you into paralysis. Yes, the dishes, laundry and errands need to be done, but nothing has to suffer if you schedule your time effectively. Assign tasks to others….say that spouse that is glued to the couch watching TV??? Schedule time and give yourself permission to do what you love……quilt!