This is Part 2 of a post that discusses strategies for finding a craft that will inspire you, and once you’ve found it, to overcome the initial learning curve so the craft will become a part of the things you do as routine. Part 1 discusses ways to find the right craft for you, and to give yourself the best start in project selection. Go back and read it if you haven’t.
Here I discuss strategies to turn your initial fling into a habit you will regularly come back to, and how to think of the pace of a project as your technique and skills mature.
4. Turning a one-night stand into a steady relationship. OK, so you got all excited and were going to sew up a wardrobe, and spent a glorious long weekend and a fortune on supplies. Now you’re out of steam and life is taking over; the craft thing seems like a dim obsession, a bit like being in Vegas maybe.
Sound familiar? Here are some strategies I have found along the way to keep that fire burning, no matter how slowly.
Pearl of wisdom 1. When are you most likely to fulfill a goal? The American Society of Training and Development has found this:
- 10% if you hear a plan
- 20% if you consciously decide you will do it
- 40% if you decide when you will do it
- 50% if you plan how you will do it
- 65% if you commit to someone else you will do it
95% if you have a specific appointment of accountability with the person to whom you committed.
Pearl of wisdom 2. Here is another one I often recall, attributed to Martha Beck, motivational speaker. Martha says – and my experience agrees – that there is something magical about doing something something four times. Say you take the example of going roller-blading:
- If you did it just the one time, you say: “I’ve done it that once”.
- If you’ve done it two times, you say: “I’ve done it a couple times”.
- If you’ve done three sessions, you may say: “I’ve done it occasionally” or “a few times”.
- If you’ve done it four times you will start to say: “I rollerblade”. I do that.
Don’t take me up on the exactly “four times”, but I do find that if you push yourself through an exercise the first few times, then it starts to take the feel of routine.
Pearl of wisdom #3. This book: “How to Get Control of Your Time and Your Life”. Alan Lakein. I use its principles to plan every day. As a neighbour of mine says, “Fail to plan; plan to fail“.
5. Moderation. Forgiveness. Patience. Inspiration. You’re doing this for fun, in your spare time. It’s not a job that’s bringing food to the table, and unless you were crazy enough to set one, there are no deadlines.
Let me repeat that: No. Deadlines.
Here is a conceptual view of the pace of different projects. My own projects vary in pace depending on personal circumstances, and I’m sure this is true of the master crafters too.
So cut yourself some slack, new techniques take a while to learn. Keep the pace steady (i.e. don’t drop it for a year!) but give yourself time to work through difficult bits. Give yourself permission to mess up. Accept that projects will fail and budget accordingly. Accept that not all your efforts will be rewarded with a gushing audience.
While you’re licking your wounds, dose up on more inspiration; online blogs are great for sharing crafting woe. Here is a grocery-related incident from Karyn Valino, and persistence in the face of complex pant patterns from four square walls. Everybody goes through this. Youtube videos are great too. Look up a local hobby group in your town, something like a monthly meetup (sewing and knitting circles call theirs a “stitch-n-bitch”), and go with your project, talk to someone. Sometimes, it also just helps to leave that project alone for a while and come back with fresh eyes and fresh energy.
Well, hope this helps. I do think that it’s only to easy to fall in and out of love with a craft and be left with a lot of unwanted supplies, especially with the daily onslaught of other responsibilities. Worse, the experience could deter you from your next fling.
But when taken up properly, a craft can bring hours of intellectual stimulation and fun, while making a product that will bring joy and be useful. And guess what? You made that! There’s a certain buzz that goes with the feeling of making something with your own hands.