Well, it’s half way through the 30 Projects in 30 Days Challenge and it’s time for a bit of a review. Or, What I Learn on My Summer Vacation.
In two weeks, I have learned that if I need to, I can discipline myself to complete projects on a deadline. I have been known to start things and set them off to the side, but this challenge has put me into a position to complete what I start. That’s a good thing.
Coming up with a regular stream of projects is no small feat. This challenge has forced me to consider the need to be able to “create” at will. I’m sure that professionals are called upon to build either for inventory or, because a potential client wants something out of the ordinary. I am now pretty sure that creativity can be summoned.
I also learned to “listen” to my materials a little better. By that I mean that I’m learning to look at a piece of wood and visualize a project suitable to it. While you can make anything with any piece of wood, some pieces of lumber are just asking to be something specific.
I view this increased sensitivity as a good thing. Even though some of what I’ve done is less than stellar (significantly so), I’ve improve my willingness to evaluate the materials I work with before starting a project.
I have learned to trust my instincts a little more. I am a master second-guesser. I have never seen a problem I didn’t want to solve, or a solution that I didn’t have a problem with. I have the ability to doubt anything I do. For those of you following at home, this can really slow things down and even cause errors. There is the possibility to do things too deliberately. This challenge has forced me to commit to decisions. Sometimes that means making something more than once and sometimes that means getting something done in a timely manner. Both are good results.
Good things have come from this challenge so far and I’m glad I started it. However, I’ve also learned that arbitrary deadlines can cause unnecessary rushing, bad design decisions and a willingness to accept second rate work.
I knew going in to the challenge that I would be pushing things. The types of projects I typically make and enjoy making do not always lend themselves to a one a day schedule. I’m not particularly happy about that.
I like that I’ve able to have multiple projects in progress, but I must admit that I’ve done some things, simply to stay on schedule, that I am not proud of. While my activities in the shop have been more focused, I’ve been more concerned with having enough projects than I’m comfortable with.
All in all, the challenge has been a good thing. However, I believe at this point I will bow out. After these two weeks I am convinced I could complete 30 projects. But, I’m not sure I’d like them. In my woodworking I want to continue to increase my skill and quality and I don’t see that coming from continuing the challenge.
I walk away with some very good lessons and a little bit more confidence in my skills. And, I wish Darryl and Scott good luck in their efforts.
-- Working at Woodworking http://www.VillageLaneFurniture.com