Working Through Creative Blocks

Working Through Creative Blocks

The day before yesterday I came up with this wild looking circle as one of the circles I’m doing, loosely following Sue Spargo’s Toned-Down Circle Sampler 90-day project that she is doing on Instagram. Often I’ve been using a stitch or two that she’s using for that day as a prompt and then seeing what I come up with. This one quickly announced itself as a diva.

The Diva that became my thirtieth circle inspired by the Drizzle Stitch.

Yesterday I posted a video about the creative process and a number of people messaged me privately, and a few publicly, about their process and how it was similar or differed. What struck me when reading other people’s experiences while creating or even just attempting to create is that unless you are one of those people who has felt the brutal horror of indecision, making the wrong choices, battling perfectionism and the inner mean voice, it’s very, very difficult to understand. Those who have experienced it know how awful it can be to constantly question what one is doing. Is it any good? Should I have done it differently? Maybe I’m just not creative, and do it anyway. As a result, I’m going to be doing a weekly youtube video – exploring the creative process; what stalls us, and how to work around those challenges.

The circle I created after the Diva was the backup band in comparison. It was all I could do not to tear it out. However I had no time to redo the whole thing, and part of my efforts to combat my own inner critic is to force myself to leave things that I want to completely redo, alone. This requires sitting with the discomfort and desire to “get it right”, “make it better” and any number of other things I tell myself I’m doing. The discomfort can be, and often is, quite painful. But once done a few times, the next time becomes a bit easier.

The Diva is above the backup singer who is directly below.

All of this is not to suggest that we settle for mediocracy. This has nothing to do with that. This is very specifically about how to move forward when creating.

What are you creating? Is it easy? Difficult? I’d love to hear.

Working Through Creative Blocks

I’ve Lost All Track of Time & Other Thoughts During This Pandemic

I know today’s Thursday because I post a new blog Tuesdays and Thursdays, and also because I have my glasses on and my iWatch conveniently tells me that it’s Thu April 23rd. I also now know that it’s cloudy outside, and at this moment 42℉. Of course, one is putting a great deal of faith in one’s iWatch if you trust all of this, because personally, I’ve gone outside, wearing the appropriate clothing for 42℉ weather, only to find I’m way under or over dressed, and that it doesn’t feel like 42℉ at all, but instead much more like 50℉ or, conversely, 30℉.

One morning I woke up and my iWatch helpfully told me the weather was “Unusually sensitive”, which I thought bizarre and had me in search of a magnifying glass just to make sure my eyesight hadn’t suddenly gotten much, much worse. I then wondered if my iWatch was commenting on my emotional well being. That idea was so creepy, I felt compelled to google: “my iWatch is telling me the weather is “unusually sensitive” what does that mean?” as one does, and I learned that this was referring to the air quality. I felt a bit foolish then as that actually made sense, sort of, but still it felt weirdly prophetic and throughout the day I was on high alert for anything or anyone that/who might cause me to feel “unusually sensitive”. Thankfully, I made it through that day and am still here to tell all of you.

All of this reinforced my feelings that my iWatch was not an entirely reliable narrator. However, I do trust it to tell me what day it is. So today is “Thu” and it is, in fact, the 23rd. Who knows what month it is, my iWatch neglects to give me that information. And anyway this confusion is all a result of the current pandemic we find ourselves bit players in. Each day melds seamlessly into the next; the months are beginning to bleed into each other as well. Oh come on, I am not the only one out there feeling this way!

They need to add a calendar to this sign so people know whether it’s Mon. Wed. or Fri. and while we’re at it – “knock if mask is needed” seems, on the surface, to be such a lovely and generous idea, but who knows where that mask has been?! Am I the only one concerned?

I tell you all of this because I have been doing YouTube videos on Sue Spargo’s #InstaStitchWithSue 90-day project and, as each day rings in a new circle, I do my best to keep track of which circle I’m recording on which day. In an attempt to speed up my taping process, I sometimes try to tape the intro to several days all on the same day, which I then edit and post on the correct day. If you’re confused right now, you can only imagine how confused I am. It doesn’t help that I’m not quite caught up, and every now and again I drift from Sue’s beautiful design and use her stitches as inspiration to do my own thing. So I decided to talk about that process yesterday I mean today in my video, which I am helpfully leaving below. You’re welcome.

In addition to all of this, I am also making my way through Sue Spargo’s Creative Stitching book and posting videos covering each of the stitches she features in that book, but stitched left handed, which you might not think makes much of a difference, but I can tell you, it kind of does! This was my original concept for my channel in the first place.

My attempt to keep what stitch I’m recording and posting on which day and the ensuing mess that all of this “organizing” is creating. My mind does not think in organized ways. This is something I’ve come to realize, appreciate and accept.

I have to go now, because I only have a limited time to tape while it’s still quiet and before everyone starts getting up, including the two construction sites that are both using jack hammers on either side of us. We live in New York City after all. There’s construction going on all the time, even during this pandemic.

Stay safe, stay home, wash your hands, wear a mask, not necessarily in that order.

Working Through Creative Blocks

Courage is not the Absence of Fear…

5 PM – 7th Avenue in Manhattan

I’m not sleeping much these days. The up-side is I’m getting a ton of stuff done. Also, photographs of empty New York City streets, though eerie, have a certain grace to them. I only venture out every few days, but when I do, I’m struck by the same things: the exquisite beauty of New York City, the increasing number of people wearing face masks, the amount of space people are keeping between themselves and others, and the absence of noise.

Someone on social media posted an image like this one, with the caption (I’m paraphrasing) – Remember these? They’d be good to have right about now.

Every morning I go over the things I’m grateful for. It’s a routine at this point, something I’ve been doing for more years than I can count. Only now my list has increased exponentially. Things I once so took for granted as to not even make the list, are now at the top, among them are: electricity, food in our refrigerator, my husband’s breathing next to me during these early morning hours when I cannot sleep, but keep hoping I will be able to, the sound of sea gulls calling to each other, a friend texting or calling to check in, the little snoring noise our cat, Merlin makes when he’s curled up next to my head at night, knowing we have enough toilet paper for the next week, who knew that would ever make the list!? All the people in my life whom I love. The list is long. I’m so grateful.

Gratitude and fear are not easy companions. The fear may still be there, but its power is greatly diminished. The other day my husband and I were discussing fear and how insidious it is. He reminded me, “Courage isn’t the absence of fear, it’s going through it.” Here’s to courage, and noticing those thousands of moments of joy and beauty in every given day.

Merlin knows he shouldn’t sit directly on top of a piece I’m working on.
Until I look away, and then he does this…
My interpretation of this project by Sue Spargo is giving me great joy at the moment. For more about it, and my collaboration with Sue, you can go to my YouTube videos all contained in the Playlist #instastitchwithsue.