Transitions in Creativity

Sarah Bush on Make Great Stuff blog was talking about transitions while being creative in her blog post recently. She give some great examples, which make this concept easy to relate to our own lives.

I cataloged the techniques I use to being creative. They are below. I think you also need to know some other things about yourself:

  • when you work best. I am a morning person. By 6 or 7pm, I am done machine sewing and just an accident waiting to happen.
  • self motivation. I am very motivated, which is good. I can work early when I don’t have anyone around to spur me on. I also don’t need groups (mostly) or to follow something like a mystery quilt project to be creative.
  • your morning ritual related to your creativity. I like to get up pretty early on the weekends, do my exercises, drink my tea, perhaps write in my journal. If I go to bed at midnight the night before none of this will happen, because I will get up too late. My whole date will be off.
  • how you get back on track. If I am off track like described above, I need to know my techniques for getting myself back on track.
  1. I keep a lot of different things going so I always have a hard thing or an easy thing depending on my mood.
  2. I keep the creative inputs coming using podcasts and blogs if I can’t be actively engaged in creating personally.
  3. I also do warm ups. My warm ups are sewing squares or random pieces together. Eventually they may end up as something, but their important function is to get me engaged in my work for the day.
  4. Pressing fabric is a good way ease transitions and give me a few minutes to think about what comes next. Pressing is also a good activity when someone calls and they are interrupting, but you can’t not talk to them.
  5. I also prepare work to be done later. Not only is this a good activity in itself, it prepares work for later (see #1 above). For example, I may make the straps for a bag, but not make the bag until later. When I do get around to making the bag, the straps are ready. Also, I often cut all the pieces for a pillowcase or set of napkins or a bag and then sew later. Breaking up the steps of projects eases transitions from one project to another or from a non-quiltmaking task to a quiltmaking task.

I am not sure if the techniques above always help with transitions. I am constantly seeking a way to move smoothly from life to quiltmaking. Many of the items above do help me NOT have to think about what comes next. The podcasts and other “creativity on the go media” help keep me immersed in quiltmaking.

I also have to be strict with myself. For example, I sew first and play on the computer later, or if I finish this journal cover, then I can play on the computer for 15 minutes.

Sarah mentions other tricks and tips that help as well. Clearing off your cutting table or organizing your supplies. Last week, when I felt so grumpy, clearing off the desk in my workroom helped change my attitude. I didn’t even really do a great job.I did, however, go through everything on there and file a few things, which helped make me feel better.

I think humans like rituals. Part of transitioning to getting down to business is creating a ritual that gets you there. What is your ritual?

Author: Jaye

Quiltmaker who enjoys writing and frozen chocolate covered bananas.

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