I am really looking forward to this being a communicative group because I love seeing what other people are up to and following their creative process, so I had good intentions of making a work-in-progress post as my contribution. Sad to say though, I have not even started on my quilt. There are some valid excuses for this - some events have taken up a bit of time and emotional energy recently and for the last week I've had the sort of cold that makes you want to lie on a chaise longue, clutching a lace hankie while bravely protesting in a weak voice that you're alright really, or in my case sprawling on the sofa, sniffling and watching re-runs of CSI Miami.
But the main reason for not having started is Procrastination. Every time I make something to a deadline I leave it to the last minute which causes a lot of stress and every time I think I will start earlier next time. So I was thinking about procrastination, and instead of a WIP piece (or actually even just getting on with my quilt, oh the irony!) I thought I would write about that instead.
Procrastination is the thief of time (Charles Dickens, I looked it up) and it's definitely the curse of the crafter. Why do we do it? (I'm assuming I'm not alone.)
Personally I can find many reasons to procrastinate, including:
1 there are always other things that need doing - clean the bathroom, put on a clothes wash, etc, etc
2 I'm never sure where I've put all the bits of fabric that I need and the thought of hunting for them is wearying
3 I use the family dining table when I'm working, and it's always covered with stuff so I need to claim a bit of space before I start, and I need to clear it away again when I finish.
But these are feeble excuses because
1 nothing truly catastrophic will happen if the bathroom is a mess for a bit longer or if everyone runs short of socks
2 half an hour spent sorting the stash and retrieving the necessary bits is not arduous and would be doubly productive
3 again, this is a dispiriting activity, but no big deal!
So I don't think these are the real reasons and so, again hoping this is not just me, why do we do it? For me part of the reason is lack of confidence and the fear that what I make will fall short somehow. Social media is a blessing and a curse because the opportunity to engage with other like-minded people is so lovely, but it's too easy to fall into comparing yourself with other people. There's also the fear that my work won't match up to the original grand ideas.
Part of the reason is fear of commitment. Fear of committing limited resources (time, fabric?) to a project and somehow 'wasting' them.
I think we have to hang on tightly to our own identities, the idea of making what we want to make and what interests us, doing it as well as we can, and try to enjoy the process and the constant discovery. Nothing is a failure and nothing is wasted if you have learned something. Also, you don't get interest on unspent time and you can't take a fabric stash to the grave!
Is procrastination ever a good thing? Well yes. Even when I'm cleaning the bathroom, or putting on a clothes wash, I'm thinking about the project in hand. It's an absolute luxury and source of happiness to do this and it's why I enjoyed taking part in Four-in-Art and why I wanted to keep going with a new group.
Putting things off also means that you can take advantage of lucky events. Since the random number generator picked this theme, Nature, from the list we'd all contributed I've followed a lot of trains of thought and had come up with a couple of ideas that 'would do', but last week I was wandering back and forth in front of my dining room window while chatting to my sister on the phone and I looked down into the neighbour's garden and saw a scene that really inspired me. Now I have a definite plan, and just hope I can pull it off!
So now that I've banged on ad nauseam about procrastinating, please tell me I'm not alone. Do you procrastinate? - if so why, and how do you get round it? I'd love to know what gets in the way of your creativity. If you don't, I admire and envy you!