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grace and space :: giving up or going with the flow

grace and space :: giving up or going with the flow

“Sitting in my drafts calendar, for the last 6 weeks, has been a note to write a monthly update on my project365. It got bumped down all the way through April, until it became a two monthly update. Here we are, middle of May, and I still haven’t written it. Not because I lack the mojo to write it, but because I have multiple photos missing from April, and I still haven’t caught them up.”

So went the post that I started over six months ago, only to leave languishing in my drafts folder much longer than the update post I was referencing. Life, to quote Mr15’s second favourite fictional paleontologist, finds a way…a way to get in the way of all the fun stuff. The project365 is long abandoned, much like its update post I was procrastinating on. It’s not that I wasn’t enjoying the process, I very much was, but life was a lot and something had to give. That’s what gave.

As I unpack my multiple storage boxes, and clear out the cabin, I’m finding myself reflecting on supplies and projects that, for whatever reason, never stuck (or in some cases, never started). Staring at me reproachfully as I write this is my temperature stitches. The last time it hit the blog was the end of March, and I don’t think I’ve really touched it much since. The project wasn’t really working for me, and I was struggling to keep the motivation going. Other projects came along and captured my interest, that took up the space that the stitches once would have.

Much like the 365, I decided to let it go. Once I would have tossed into my heaving WIP basket and pretended that I would one day finish it, when in reality it would just sit there taking up physical and mental space until I finally cracked. Some bigger projects I will come back to, but a daily project over six months behind? Not a chance.

it has definitely required work to shift my mindset, to accept that not every project will get a finish. I’ve learned to question my blocks, mull over if those blocks are something that I can work around, or maybe they are just temporary. And then, I’ve worked hard to give an honest assessment of the likelihood of revisiting it – and accepting that honest opinion. As much as I hate not finishing, to take a project off my list when I will never pick it up again, opens space in my stash and on my mental to-do list, to play with a new project or medium that does excite me.

My finish-or-cull stance started to come out during the first covid lockdown (which I have written previously about my shift from perpetual starter to compulsive finisher), but a factor I never expected to have the impact it did, is the podcast. For forty episodes, we’ve picked over our creative processes, where they overlap and where the differ, and how our neurotypes impact the way we work. It’s impossible to come out the other side of that without having grown in self-awareness, and the weaknesses one has learnt to work around. While it might seem silly & hyperbolic to say, podcasting has been life changing from a personal development and creative growth perspective.

Had you have said to me even five years ago that I would learn to be ruthless with my projects and my supplies, culling both with relatively-wild abandon, I would have laughed in your face. I was a huge fan of “just in case” and “you never know”, but it became counter-intuitive; with too many options, stolen slices of time would be wasted as I found myself mired in decision paralysis. Now, my shelves are clearer, the supplies I’ve kept are both truly loved and satisfyingly organised, and even when I have a handful of projects on the go at once, it’s easier to pick up what interests me and make the most of every little moment of time. The clearer headspace makes for more enjoyable creative time, and what’s the point of carving out creative time (and hoarding all the supplies), if they aren’t being used, and aren’t being enjoyed?

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