Last story from an article originally published in The Crafts Report (now known as Handmade Business) in July 2010. Backstory now included!
(Operator): “Craft 911, what is the nature of your craft emergency?”
(Caller #3): “I’m out of ideas!”
(Operater): “Can you give me more details?”
(Caller #3): “I’m in my studio and I’m wandering around. I just don’t have any good ideas for what to make. Is this fatal??”
(Operator): “Happens to everyone, ma’am. Tell me, do you have any upcoming shows? A big order for a gallery?”
(Caller #3): “Um…not really. Things are kinda slow this week.”
(Operator): “Uusally this kind of situation responds very well to deadlines. Are you sure there isn’t some kind of deadline coming up on your calendar? Something you’ve overlooked? Go look, I’ll wait.”
(Caller #3): “Let me check… Wait a minute, yes! There’s a special order here I forgot about! Okay, now what?”
(Operator): “Ma’am, I sugget you simply settle in to fill that special order. I’m sure you’ll be flooded with lots of new ideas once you get those craft hands of yours moving again.”
(Caller #3): “Wow! That’s great advice–thanks!”
(Operator): “It’s our job, ma’am. And next time this happens, try taking two days off from checking your email, then call me in the morning.”
I think this is a great idea whose time has come, don’t you?
And now for the backstory….
This was me! Er…this IS me, all the time.
It usually hits during a difficult time in my life, when I’m distracted. When sales are slow, when I’m feeling invisible in the world. “What’s the use?” “Who cares about my work? Obviously, NO ONE!!!” And other thoughts of no purpose and no use.
I’ve found not one, but TWO terrific solutions. The first, obviously, is a deadline. The minute I realize I HAVE to get something, anything ready for a show, a photo shoot, an article, etc., that’s when I’m swamped for ideas for…something else!
I either hold that thought/idea/vision until the deadline is met, or I start on it instead. (Some deadlines are flexible, self-imposed, or not as important as I thought.) This is the power of procrastination! When we don’t want to do a certain thing, we suddenly find the inspiration to do another thing instead. (Yep, I’ve written a slew of articles on this!)
OR I realize I’m trying to figure out that “thing” in my head before I start it. I think if I do all the thinking stuff ahead of time, I won’t hit any roadblocks.
Wait for it…..
Hahahahahahahahaha wheeeeee!!!!!! (Oddly, I found this article today about getting things done, while searching for….something else!)
At the beginning of the pandemic shutdowns, I finally realized that a project that had been in my heart for years, could only be accomplished by using…..yup, trial-and-error!…to figure stuff out. With all that time on my hands, I realized I had plenty of time to do that.
And it worked! I created enough new work to call it a new series.
Of course, as the pandemic measures eased, I’m back in my my “old normal”, and the dozens of small shrines I made are now works-in-progress. And without the deadlines of articles to be written for pay, it’s a lit-tul harder to make room for writing/publishing.
But then I remember how this helped me. And wondered if it might help someone else.
And hence, this article, with the addition of backstories.
I hope this gave you a giggle, and the realization that anything that’s holding YOU back, could be overcome with a little finagling, a deadline, and knowing it worked for me.
Now go to your creative space and make some stuff!