Fail to Plan…

Only a week has passed and I haven’t drawn a thing.

Last week I was a beginner again, considering my next creative stride.  However, a few unexpected distractions meant my focus since then has been elsewhere.  Yep, my daily drawing habit is currently on hold (grrr!).  At the moment I’m resisting regret because: 1). tasks can take longer than planned; and 2). unexpected opportunities don’t hang around for long.  Are these genuine reasons or practiced excuses?  Perhaps I’m just in limbo between the end of one project and the start of another.  Haven’t we been here before?

So, rather than grabbing one of my pencils to doodle just for the sake of it (although it’s still an option), I’ll figure out whether the problem was with the planner (me) rather than the plan (my To Do List).

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Side Effects

“When you focus on the practice instead of the performance, you can enjoy the present moment and improve at the same time.”

James Clear – Forget About Setting Goals. Focus on This Instead.

With yet another turn of the calendar there aren’t many weeks left in 2017.  17 in fact.  That’s 17 fresh starts.  Or 17 opportunities to choose, act, repeat, if you’re developing a new weekly habit.

And I am.

Every week, I intend to complete one ‘sewing’ task.  They will vary in magnitude, and distance from my current comfort zone.  But by the end of the year I should have 17 more items to wear, and a new set of sewing skills under my belt.  But it’s okay if I only complete one.  As long as I turn up for weekly practice.

Oddly, I feel more comfortable problem-solving with fabric and trying out new (and often complex) sewing techniques, than I am drawing with pencil on paper.  Yet there’s more at stake.  Maybe it’s the way I’m looking at things; I’ll be asking myself about that while I’m mindfully sewing.

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The Measure of Measure

As I sat down to type this I felt the familiar guilt of having done NOTHING in my sketchbook since my last post two weeks’ ago.  “But you have!” my inner voice tells me. I’d forgotten I’d drawn some character sketches for my Craftsy Expressive Picture Book Characters course, trying to figure out how to make an animal look upset.  But I’ve been asleep a few times since then.  And I’m so used to berating myself for not doing any drawing, that I don’t make a point of revelling when I do.

And this doesn’t take into account other creative things I’ve been doing during the last two weeks.  Mr C and I have started to design our front garden, which is currently a 12x6m patch of gravel, with no foliage.  I’ve also started to adjust a worn-once dress so I’ll wear it more often, and had to create stuff for work.  And although I added a few doodles to my character design sketchbook, that’s not the point.

Creativity can manifest itself in many ways, through words, images, ideas, conversations, and clothes, for example.  So, we shouldn’t use just one method to measure our creativity by, if at all.  The quality of our creative journey is probably a far better indicator of the progress we’re making, than the number of steps (pages/projects) we’ve taken to get there.

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Logo Logic: Pathfinder

I won!  I actually won!  (Woo hoo!)

So, what now?  My long wait is over and I’m no longer frozen to the spot.  But I’m still feeling the cold through my feet.  It’s at this point I realise I’m going in the right direction, but I’m approaching it in the wrong way.  I make small, progressive steps, then pause to look around me, even looking backwards.  I’m hesitating about the next step, unsure of when to move.  I feel off-balance, unsteady, like I need some additional support.  Can I do this?  Turning back feels like a choice, but that would only get me back to the start, and all those previous steps wouldn’t count.

My path is made of stepping stones.  They have natural pauses and when you go too slowly you lose your flow.  If you hesitate at the wrong moment, you stumble into the water, and your feet get cold and wet.

It’s far better to take quick, successive steps.  That way you build momentum, and your sure-footedness increases with every stride.

Lesson 4: Hesitate on a path of stepping stones and you risk losing your balance.  Keep a smooth, steady pace until you reach the other side, and only then pause for breath, reflect back and prepare for the next one.

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