My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #1157: The Fog

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 11-06-2013 11:35 AM 1492 reads 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1156: A Wonderfully Full Day of Inspiration Part 1157 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 1158: The 'Organization Landslide' »

I am finding myself having a little bit of a difficult time getting back into the ‘producing’ mode. With all the ideas that I have, I thought it would be easy, but I think I am a bit overloaded and I find myself in too many directions at once and having trouble on focusing on just one thing.

I started off well this past weekend, with getting the written instructions done for the two projects that are going to the magazine, but now that it comes to moving on and beginning new projects, I find myself a bit stuck.

It isn’t the kind of stuck where you are sitting looking at a blank page (or computer screen), it is more like having four wheel drive on a truck and each wheel is going a different speed, cancelling out any real progress. I find that I begin to go in one direction and then easily get distracted, and before long I am wandering aimlessly down another path. (In writing, I just realized how appropriate the word “aimlessly” can be, as there is no real clear goal or direction to aim at.)

I need to harness things in and slow down.

It isn’t as if this hasn’t occurred previously. I find that it happens most when I am overloaded with ideas and don’t know which one to work on first. I am like a child at a penny candy store with a dollar to spend – picking one candy after the other and wanted to taste them all at once, but knowing I can only have so many before they lose their appeal.

The problem, simply put, is that we cannot choose everything simultaneously. So we live in danger of becoming paralyzed by indecision, terrified that every choice might be the wrong choice.― Elizabeth Gilbert

Such a simple quote. Yet it completely defines what I am feeling right now.

I am realizing that I have more ideas than time will permit. While in some ways this is a GOOD problem, it also is accompanied by the anxiety that I will not get everything done that I intended. In some ways (which I cannot always help) it will cause me to feel as if I failed on some level. I know it is ridiculous, but it is difficult to convince myself otherwise. I think we all do that to ourselves at times. No matter how much we accomplish, we feel as if we should have done more.

I am aware that this is not a constructive way of thinking, and I am trying my best to overcome this thought process. While I don’t sit here and dwell on my lack of physically producing things, I hear that nagging voice in the back of my mind whispering disapproval. And it is annoying.

Logic tells me that the answer is to pick a place to begin and jump in. I have used that method in the past when this has happened and it does seem to help me start moving in a direction. At this point, ANY direction is desirable as any productive movement at all is welcome.

So that is the plan.

Of the several things that I have in mind, I believe that today I will begin on working on the simplest of ideas. I think that will be a good starting place and will help me feel like I am accomplishing. In the past, I have found that once I begin to work on a project and get something under my belt, the rest seems to fall into place and the other things naturally follow. It is worth a try, anyway.

It is times like these when I am very happy that I write here every morning. As I sit here with my coffee and my cats in the quiet hours of daybreak, it helps me think through these things and plan my day without the distraction of the outside world.

The sound of ‘nothing’ can be a very sweet song.

With that said, I will begin my day. While sitting here writing, I believe I have an idea of what I am going to work on today. The fog in my head is slowly lifting, and hopefully things will soon be clear again.

Have a wonderful Wednesday.

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

10 comments so far

View LissasAntiques's profile


5 posts in 1663 days

#1 posted 11-06-2013 12:14 PM

I can completely relate to this ‘syndrome’! I have so many design ideas in my head I have to carry a small notebook and pen at all times in order to sketch what pops into my mind at any given moment! I currently have 14 projects lined up in my work room that need to be assembled, but ‘settling’ in to ‘work’ mode eludes me. Here’s to us both having a ‘productive’ day!

View Handtooler's profile


1554 posts in 2132 days

#2 posted 11-06-2013 12:16 PM

Sheila, I have often found myself in similar situations; and I have found that taking time-out to sit back list the tasks to be accompolished, then prioritize them actually on paper. Once completed and I’m satisfied with that order, I can attack one at a time and work through them in an orderly fashion. Most often meeting necessary time frames. I’m sure as organized as you are you have your method(s) to “Get ‘em done”. What say ye?

-- Russell Pitner Hixson, TN 37343

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9228 posts in 2920 days

#3 posted 11-06-2013 12:27 PM

Thank you both for your input. I knew that by sharing these feelings I would find that others experience the same thing. I also believe that writing things down and listing is an essential exercise and helps move things along much better. I think that is why I do enjoy writing here every day. I usual state that I am doing “x” or “y” today and just by stating it here in the morning, it helps me follow through and get it done by the next day so I can report to all of you. It sounds like a simple thing, but it works for me. Besides – who says that the answers have to be complicated anyway? Usually they are right there in front of us. :)

I really appreciate hearing your thoughts. I think that is why forums such as these can be very helpful to so many.

I have already started my physical list, and feel better already.

Have a great day! Sheila

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View CFrye's profile


10193 posts in 1840 days

#4 posted 11-06-2013 04:03 PM

I’m in the same boat with you Sheila (getting kinda crowded isn’t it?)! After finishing the recent tool swap I would sit in the shop and stare at pretty pieces of lumber (scraps, even) and want to build something but afraid to ruin any of it. I finally went to the home improvement store and bought some plain ole red oak to build a box. Just a book shaped box to get me out of stuck mode. Glad you are already getting unstuck yourself. Have a great day. Looking forward to see what you come up with.

-- God bless, Candy

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 3036 days

#5 posted 11-06-2013 05:23 PM

I just jot it all down. In note or sketch form on good old fashioned pencil and paper. I then pick one idea to run with now (any one will do), shut your eyes and stab at one with the pencil. The others are there in note form so you can come back to develop them, individually, at a later date, Sheila.

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

View Celticscroller's profile


1269 posts in 2073 days

#6 posted 11-06-2013 05:39 PM

Good morning Sheila. Looking at the comments above, it seems like we are all the pencil and paper generation! I think that using the good old fashioned writing tools is in itself creative and helps us out of our blocks. My mind is always on at least 5 projects at one time! That’s what keeps the brain alive and enjoying life!
Enjoy your day and whichever idea comes to the forefront.

-- Anna, Richmond BC

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6856 posts in 3980 days

#7 posted 11-06-2013 06:27 PM

Did you try taking a nap?

Sometimes that helps.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9228 posts in 2920 days

#8 posted 11-07-2013 10:49 AM

Thank you all very kindly for the suggestions. I am really taking them to heart and I will give them a try. I do jot things down on a regular basis but this time around I am a bit behind in writing the ideas into my tablet. Perhaps that is what the problem is.

Yesterday (Wednesday) was spent away, with a last minute change of plans. I will talk about that in my next post which I will get to right after this. Perhaps getting away for a day will do me good though, as I feel a bit better about everything.

Once again, I really appreciate your support and points of view. It is good to talk things over with you all and I think together there are few problems that can’t be solved. :)

Have a great day! Sheila

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View Roger's profile


20928 posts in 2804 days

#9 posted 11-07-2013 09:55 PM

I know you’ll be rollin full steam ahead before ya know it.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9228 posts in 2920 days

#10 posted 11-08-2013 09:10 PM

Soon, Roger! I am near the end of my “organizing” journey! I hope you have a great weekend! :)


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

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