I have been in such a fug these past few weeks. It has been awful, truly horrible, as if Dementors have set up residence outside my house and sucked away every ounce of motivation and joy from my life. The worst part is that I have ideas! So many of them! I want to accomplish All The Things right now and have all the time in the world to do it! But when ideas pop into my head, they just fester as I burrow further into the blankets and watch another episode of The Wire.
I KNOW this is an entirely weather related blaaaahness because I have a touch of SAD here and there. It has been unseasonably cold and rainy here in New Jersey, and it is making it really hard to come out of my winter hibernation. I’m usually up to my elbows in garden making and sun basking by now!
The Sun is starting to pop out here and there, but I still feel blaaaaaaah about picking up a project and working on anything. Here’s how I’m working on getting my blissful crafting mojo back. Maybe it will help you too!
Crafting is breathing, expansion and contraction.
A lot of people think crafting is all about the making making making. If they’re not making something all of the time (or wanting to), they’re not a real crafter. Or maybe crafting was something they used to do before life/kids/grandkids/stressful job/too exhausted happened and they think the craft police have taken away their A.C. Moore rewards card.
I’m here to tell you that nonono! If you haven’t felt like touching your crafty supplies in a while, that’s ok. You’re still a crafter. Check your wallet, I promise that rewards card is still in there. Also check your email because you start getting good coupons when you’ve been away. A.C. Moore misses you.
Those lulls in your crafty life when you aren’t creating up a storm are a good time to breathe in inspiration. Read books, bake something, and go for walks. Check out a few crafty blogs. Meditate. All of these things infuse your spirit with creative energy. If you pay attention, you’ll become aware of new idea seeds forming.
That’s when you go make yourself a cup of something delicious and just start crafting.
Use Evernote to keep track of ideas.
When you have lots of ideas but lack motivation to get moving with them, use an app like Evernote to keep track. This strategy is especially good for those times you find yourself scooting through Pinterest and feeling sorry about all of the things you’d like to make but “don’t have time for.” Yes, you can pin pin pin away, but if you’re anything like me you have over 10,000 pins and how many things have you actually made? Mmmmmmhmmmm, you know what I’m talking about. Good luck remembering which thing was the one you really wanted to make next week when you have “more time.”
Make a commitment to yourself to ONLY add to Evernote projects you actually intend to do (as opposed to things you would like to do), and review it on a weekly basis. If you have an idea that hasn’t been touched in a month, consider taking that project off the list. Your ideas will stay fresh and you won’t end up feeling guilty about the things you said you were going to do but didn’t get to. You won’t feel the pressure of having to do all of the things on Pinterest anymore. Guilt and pressure are blissful crafting vampires.
Bonus: You can use Evernote to list craft supplies you’ll need as you add your ideas…thus avoiding that “Oh SHIT what did I need for that project?” moment when you walk into the craft store.
Clean out your craft supplies (and create a crafty zone if you don’t have one).
Craft hoarders, raise your hands! When you are in a rut, you might have lots of ideas and maybe, just maybe you make it out to the store to get craft supplies. YAY you! Leaving the house to get materials is major progress! But then you get home and plop the bag on the dining room table, start dinner, and then…you just keep going with life and eventually tuck your untouched bag of craft supplies away, forgetting about that brilliant idea that prompted your adventure to the craft store. And also where did you leave your motivation?
Check that bag. Your motivation is in there!
Craft supplies have a way of getting jumbled and lost. You pull out skeins of yarn, buttons from the sewing supplies, glitter from the paper craft shelf, wire cutters and beads from the jewelry drawer, and tissue paper and bows to wrap your pretty thing up. Unless you are a super-organized crafter, this quickly becomes a mess of intermingled craft supplies. Disorganized craft supplies are the enemy of creativity. You end up frustrated and back at the craft store to buy something you already have, when the thing is probably sitting right there in a bag on your dining room table.
You need to Konmari the hell out of your craft supplies when you are in a rut. (Have you read this book? It’s life changing!) Pull out all of your craft supplies from the various corners of the house, put them in one spot, and touch every single one of them. Ask yourself if that item sparks joy. Do not ask yourself if you will ever use it because as a crafter the answer will always be yes. (This is why you have a stack of t-shirts your kid has outgrown piled in the corner of their bedroom closet. You’re going to take up quilting someday and make a t-shirt quilt. Yep. 21 years later…still have t-shirts waiting to be a quilt don’t ya?) So pick up your craft supplies one by one and decide whether they still speak to you in that moment. If not, find somewhere to donate them (Scouts, churches, preschools, etc. all LOVE craft supplies).
After you go through this process, organize your bits and bobbles and then store them in whatever way works best for you. Maybe it is a dedicated craft room with lots of shelves. Maybe it is a box with dividers under the bed, or a basket of yarn next to the sofa, or a crafty closet, or a dedicated shelf near the dining room table or wherever else you usually do your crafting. Just make sure it is an area that allows you to easily get to your supplies – nothing is more frustrating than having to move a bunch of stuff around to get to the fabric bin. Having easily accessible craft supplies is a key to blissful crafting.
Try Something New
Maybe you’re tired of hook hook hooking away on that HUGE afghan you’re making. You don’t want to stop because you know it will scoot off to the land of half-done projects in the closet…but you can’t make yourself hook one more row. So you put the afghan in a project bag next to the sofa, where it taunts you each night as you sit down to watch t.v. You start feeling conflicty because you were so excited to get started with your blanket, but you now hate it because it is a joy sucking bore of a pattern. Should you just give up and frog it?
Maybe. But before you do, why not try picking up something crafty that doesn’t involve yarn? There are SO SO many cool crafts to try out that don’t require you to invest in the whole craft – you can play around with paper crafting without buying a pile of punches and special scissors and a Silhouette Cameo (Whoops! Learned that lesson the hard way. Poor neglected Cameo.). Other ideas: Perler beads, embroidery, coloring books, Zentangling, weaving, felting, quilting…there are endless other crafts that you probably haven’t tried yet that come in convenient little kits. Give one a whirl and you might just go back to your annoying old project with renewed energy!
Forgive yourself mistakes and wonky projects while you’re trying something new. You probably had lots of misadventures with whatever your special craft is now way back when you first got started. That’s how you got good at it!
Fill Someone Else’s Tank
Filling someone else’s tank is my absolute favorite tip for getting out of the crafty doldrums!
When you’re feeling low, go do something nice for someone else. Visit a lonely neighbor, pet some cats at the animal shelter, or bake a cake for someone just because. The usual advice is to put your own oxygen mask on first before you try to help others. But, when it comes to motivation, helping others is the express lane to feeling better. When you make someone else happy, their smile is contagious and it makes you happy too! So making someone else’s can be a way of putting your own oxygen mask on first. It’s like an unselfish way of being selfish.
I think filling someone else’s tank works so well because it forces you out of your own head and gets your mind focused on the other person. When your brain is working on helping someone else, it is too busy processing happy, helpful thoughts to be worried about how you feel. It’s also the reason I decided to write this blog post…and it worked! 😉
So the next time you’re feeling like your blissful crafting mojo has scooted off, try a couple of these things and let me know if they helped!
Do you have a favorite trick for getting back to crafting when you aren’t feeling crafty? Please share with us in the comments!
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