Pink and turquoise jelly roll
Creative Life,  Everything Fabrics

Creativity (not) according to Plan

Three years and one month passed since I started my blog. And more than two years since my last blog post! To be honest it feels more like two decades than two years. So many things have happened since I was last active on this blog that I don’t even know where to start. I had big plans with a bunch of creative projects in the pipeline. But apparently, things did not go according to plan.

Big Plans, No Time

Two years ago when setting up this blog I had big plans. I wanted to post content every week and publish a newsletter on the first of each month. I was very busy trying out all sorts of creative techniques, exploring new hobbies, and making plans for projects. And I loved writing about all of it!

But two years ago I had the time to do all of this. We were in the middle of the pandemic and one lockdown followed on the next. Working from home saved me the time of the daily commute. After work, I needed all these creative projects to fill my time in a useful way. This gave me a lot of joy and a sense of fulfillment. Exploring my creative side helped pass the time through the pandemic as it did for so many others. I had big plans for my creativity and several projects lined up in parallel at all times.

I got onto all kinds of online challenges and projects such as the 100-day project and the summer school of Make it in Design, I signed up for a bunch of online courses on Islamic geometry by Art of Islamic Pattern and sewed more than I ever had before. In 2021, I wanted to make a new quilt every month and I actually did! I wanted to sketch and paint daily to develop it as a routine. My goal was to design my own fabric collection.

After working through Bonnie Christine‘s Immersion Course I wanted to dive into surface pattern design. I was exploring if this could be a way to combine my drawing with my sewing. I became a member of Bonnie Christine’s community Flourish and also of Bärbel Dressler’s community. Have I used these resources during the last two years? No, I haven’t.

So, what happened? As it does so often – life happened and came in the way!

Big Changes in Life

First of all, I had a small baby boy in 2021. He turned 2 recently. So we officially reached toddlerhood in my house (which is not helpful either in getting back into the creative spirit :-)!

Harold's Baby Quilt

When I was pregnant with him I had a lot of sewing plans: making baby clothes for him and maternity clothes for myself. Guess what! I haven’t made any – neither for him nor me. Well, actually this is not 100% true. I made two pairs of shorts for him but all the other projects are still ‘in progress’. And I don’t even have photo proof of these shorts as he grew out of them quicker than we were able to capture them in a photo.

Of course, I had expected that I would have less time after he was born. I was not that naive! I knew my life would change and with it my priorities. The lack of sleep would be an issue at least for the beginning!

And then I would need to find a new job that allowed me to work more flexibly while taking care of a baby (and my creative plans on the side).

The Queen of Procrastination

It is not that I have not done anything during the last two years. On the contrary! I am not just procrastinating and complaining over unfulfilled plans and ideas.

I made several baby quilts and started writing the patterns for them. I still dream of publishing them in a baby quilt pattern book. But more babies are added every year and I keep making quilts without finishing finalizing my quilt patterns.

All my quilting and sewing time is kind of ‘unorganized’ at the moment. The only thing left of my creative projects is my sewing anyway! All my other plans for creative projects are currently on hold. I have not touched a compass since my son was born. And all my drawing and sketching ambitions are nothing more than ambitions at the moment.

Standing in My Way

But why have I not written about anything if creating was not the issue during the last two years?

What I had underestimated were two things that had less to do with having less time for my projects and more with myself. The first was my lack of motivation to write about what I was doing. I felt it was not relevant anymore. I thought my focus should be more on the baby and less on myself and my creative side.

The second issue was (or better is) my sense of perfectionism. It keeps me from sharing any of my work while it is still in progress or not perfect. I want to have nice photos of my quilts from cutting fabric to the finished quilt. And I would put things off until I have everything in perfect shape.

But things don’t always get finished at the moment and I will never share anything at all if I wait for this!

Creativity without a Plan

Those who read my blog know that I am usually a very structured person. I make plans and write down my creative side projects in various themed lists. Then I check back into my lists and review what worked and what did not. At the beginning of 2021, I shared with you how I plan my creative year at the beginning of a new calendar year. In the last two years, I did not either manage to plan or work off my to-do lists. I just squeezed in a bit of sewing whenever there was a chance to do so. Many projects were started… and never finished. My list of UFOs (unfinished objects) gets longer and longer!

And even getting to this stage to just start and sew took me a while. It goes against my nature of planning and following a nicely laid-out plan. But to get anything done at all I needed to change my way of working on projects. I needed to step away from having the perfect conditions to even start and just start… otherwise I would not start at all! I followed more my mood than ever before and not the plan or what needed to be finished first.

Create for the Sake of It

So after two years of ‘wild’ sewing and quilting, I want to take the next step and start writing about what has changed for me and what I have been working on. I want to get back into the flow of sharing and exchanging ideas. Writing helps me to reflect on my work and my processes.

To make it short…

I am back on my blog!

And I hope that I still have some faithful followers that join me here and comment on my blog posts. Let me know how you deal with changes in your life if they impact your creative processes. Do you consider them creative blockades or creative challenges?

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