Friday, January 16, 2015

A Creative Slump

I haven't posted in ages. Part of it is the time demands of N, who is now truly a toddler and needs lots of active engagement. But mostly I've been silent because I've been in a creative slump.

Oh, I've still been crafting. Sporadically. But I haven't felt inspired. I've been collecting patterns and stash and reading and reorganizing and planning but not doing much.

I've finally figured out that it is due to feeling insecure, not in a "are my skills ok?" way but a more basic lack of personal and financial security. I'm having anxiety issues over how much money we are spending on the renovation, and whether it will give us the house we want, and other things. Apparently I can't be creative unless I have a level of stress that is lower than mine has been for a while.

This is one of my personal idiosyncrasies, obviously, as otherwise the suffering artist wouldn't be such a strong trope! I deal with the stress by looking over past achievements, wallowing in patterns and plans, and hoarding my stash. I don't create.

In the last month I've been trying to counter this by making myself complete small projects. I'm embracing the ideas of WIP Wednesday and Finish It Friday, the first priorities for these being the unfinished embroidery class projects from 2013. I'm also trying to get small task done everyday - last night, for example, I finally put some elastic in the waist of some pants that have been waiting for months.

I also have a deadline to give me some momentum - I said I'd have a crafty stall at a fete in February which a friend is organizing.

Being a crafty person is a huge part of my identity and I think I've been sad and mad at myself in this slump. Working to get back in the swing of things will be difficult and I'm sure I'll have days when I don't get the time or don't have the motivation.  So please, ask me how things are going! Keep me accountable!


  1. I think it's really good that you've recognised that about yourself! Seeing your own patterns gives you the ability to resist / change them.

    I think a lot of arty / crafty people (myself included) view their creative pursuits as a stress escape hatch. Making things helps distract our focus away from other problems, or helps us think through the problems to neutralise the stress at least a little bit, or gives us a way to turn stressful things that feel out of our control into tangible things we have complete control over.

    In a way, I'm envious of your opposite approach - when I feel content, my creativity plummets... which means that if my sense of identity is attached to being a creative person, it's also indirectly attached to being a stressed-out person. Whereas your artist identity is tied to being the best / happiest version of yourself - if nothing else, that means you never have to feel divided about your own happiness, and you can just embrace it fully :)

  2. That's a good point - yes, my creative identity is very tied up with being happy and content. I have used some crafts, particularly cross stitch, to relax in the past, but that has involved a stretch of time that I simply can't achieve these days. I physically cannot spend three or four hours straight stitching, and I do miss that.

  3. I know how you feel about stress and creativity, and I feel the same way. I struggled so much when I was at work.

    Some things that have worked for me:

    Getting back to whichever craft feels the most refreshing and rewarding. If other millinery is getting me down, I find I feel a lot better after doing some felt blocking, and then the slump is a bit broken and I can get back to the other stuff.

    Setting up my project with all the required tools and materials and leaving it out (or putting it in a bag or basket ready to go) so that starting is as easy as possible.

    Setting very very minute specific tasks for the day. Not "work on making Lovey", but "Print and cut out Lovey Pattern." or "Cut Lovey pieces from fabric" (recent examples...ahem)

    Lots of love to you!! I will try to keep you accountable :P