Do you know what I find fascinating? I find it utterly fascinating that the posts people respond to most are ones I have the most trouble writing (or, to be more accurate: posting!). Just like the post I wrote on the winter hobgoblins, or the Knitting Daily post I wrote about losing weight and not being able to wear my handknits anymore, yesterday’s post seemed to touch a nerve. I found your comments very encouraging in a world where many folks act as if money IS our report card. It’s really tough going when one tries to fashion a life based on something else other than money, and the hobgoblins jump into the act, getting all rowdy, trying to convince one to Get Back In Line.
But, like this guy, most of my life I’ve marched to another drummer:
I think of the hobgoblins as bullies, like the sort who toss slurpies in Kurt’s face. The Money-is-Our-Report-Card hobgoblins are very vocal in this culture–not just on Wall Street, but even within the colourful halls of our craft communities. I do think the reasons why money is valued in these two subcultures are quite different. I think on Wall Street, money transmutes into power, the power to make decisions for communities, the power to fund this and not that, the power to back one candidate and not another.
In the yarn communities (and perhaps other craft communities as well), money doesn’t represent power so much as it represents another high-value commodity: Time. If you have enough money, then you don’t have to work full-time, and you can spend more time on your craft. If your significant other has enough money, then you might not have to work a day job at all, and you can explore the corners of your craft with all your heart.
Except…I am here to tell you that it doesn’t work that way. Time is like that beautiful skein of oh-so-precious yarn you’ve been saving for something special: When it comes time to use it, unless you plan very carefully, there will never be enough to do all that you’d like to do with what you have.
This brings me to Piece #2 of the Problem Puzzle: Time. I do have the time, it’s true. I am my own boss; I assign myself tasks, do the scheduling, set the deadlines…
And yet, I am not churning out a dozen designs a month, like some designers I know. I have not written a book a year, like some writers I know. I feel as though I am the tortoise, plodding along, watching all the hares zip-zip past me, each of them with a calendar chock-full of teaching, writing, designing…
Of course, when I worked at Interweave, oh my gosh. Managing editor of Knits AND Crochet AND Knitscene magazines? All at the same time? Heck yeah, I had a schedule. I was writing articles, and designing staff projects, and editing patterns, and coordinating this and helping to plan that. And then, as Knitting Daily gal, I was writing three to four posts a week, plus articles, plus a knitting pattern now and then, plus copy for this book jacket and that event description. I used to joke that I was writing so much that I couldn’t talk without miming typing motions with my hands.
But you know what? You can write about knitting without actually knitting anything, as I discovered during one particularly intense stretch at Interweave when I was so busy editing magazines about knitting that I had no time to DO knitting.
Sooner or later, though, the well runs dry. I feel as though that’s partly what happened: My well ran dry, and I’ve spent the past year or so tapping into this river or that stream, trying to find the source again.
Trying to find MY source again.
And then, once the mojo starts coming back, it’s hard to LET it come back. That’s where I am now. Mojo is a hungry beastie; it requires not only time, but a weird combination of discipline and freedom, a combination that I find particularly difficult to wrangle. Creativity requires some sit-and-stare-out-the-window time, it truly does. The analogy I’ve used before is: You have to go off and do other things while the bread rises and the cake bakes. A creator has to wander off and let the creating bubble and simmer in the lizard brain-pot; a writer has to have enough quiet to let the story speak and be heard.
I’ve tried to do all that, let the cake bake and the bread rise and the story speak. I think it’s the other seat on the teeter-totter that has gone untended: I don’t have a Plan. (Also, apparently I don’t have a consistent overarching metaphor to save my life.) I have projects; I have deadlines; I get things done when they need to be done–but crafting time, creating time per se isn’t included in my schedule.
In other words: If it’s work, a planned project, then I am allowed to spend time on it. If it isn’t Crafting For A Reason, then…it has to take a back seat.
Forcing myself to write daily blog entries again was, I think, my way of trying to allow time for my creative life. I’m the sort of person who is MUCH healthier if, on a regular basis, I am left alone to write.
I am also a person who is much healthier if I spin on a regular basis. And knit. And bead, weave, sew, play with yarn and fibre and stuff.
However: That’s the sort of time I have not truly allowed myself, the time to play at my crafts, the structured time to listen to the muses and create.
The astute amongst you have already noted the parallels: Ah, yes. She does not allot time for her crafting, in the same way as she does not allot space for her crafting.
I think…I think I feel guilty letting myself create, letting myself craft-for-craft’s sake…because it’s so much fun. It doesn’t feel like work. Well, it is and it isn’t work. It is, because if I don’t craft, then I can’t build my skills, and I won’t have anything to write about. It isn’t work because…it’s play. I love it. I crave it. It’s a BLAST.
So that’s Problem #2: I feel guilty making time or space for something that really isn’t work, something that I enjoy so much.
Girlfriend writes a TON!
Yes, she does. And this wasn’t the best-edited, nor most tightly-structured, blog post ever.
So, as your reward for slogging through it with me, I give you: A Puppy Fix.
Need more puppy fixes? Maybe more photos of Gringo? Sure you do.
Because a life without time for puppy fixes really isn’t much of a life, now is it?