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My Journey As A Scroll Saw Pattern Designer #1301: Overcoming "Blocks"

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 04-26-2014 11:57 AM 873 reads 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1300: A Quick Blog Part 1301 of My Journey As A Scroll Saw Pattern Designer series Part 1302: Back on Track »

I awoke this morning right before 6 am. I was surprised because it was already beginning to get light out and I thought I had slept quite late. I realize that at this time of year, it is typical for the sun to come up early, but somehow it doesn’t seem to fit because it is still so cold outside.

Yesterday, in the late morning it began to snow. Not a lot, mind you, but flurries nonetheless. Later on in the day I saw a friend was on her way home from Halifax and encountered snow as well. One would think that would be normal weather for Nova Scotia, but since we are at April 26th, it is a bit of a stretch even for us. It is definitely strange.

We went for a walk yesterday along the road beside the river. I still needed my wool coat and ear wraps, as my ears are very sensitive to cold weather. Those of you who read know that I am one who enjoys winter, but I have to admit that I am ready for some warmth. I hope that soon I can head to the beach and take some time there. Whether it be to write, draw, or just take some time and think. I have been inside much too long.

Lately I feel that I have been having a bit of a ‘block’. I don’t know if that is the proper phrase for it, as it isn’t that I don’t have ideas, but rather I have too many things that I want to do and they seem to be forming a bottle neck in my creating and I find that I am accomplishing little as a result. This is particularly frustrating for me because I WANT to accomplish so much. I have been waking up each day with good intentions only to find that I am getting distracted very easily and it is hard to get back to things and concentrate on the task at hand. My mind is all over the place.

I have an approaching deadline for Creative Woodworks and Crafts magazine. I need to have both an article and project completed by Monday. I have known (in a vague sense) what I intended to do for quite some time – well over a month – and because of one thing or another, have put the actual completion of the article and project on hold in order to do other things which were more pressing. But now it is ‘crunch time’ and as I sat down yesterday to write the article (which I feel needs to be done first) I found myself labored and struggling. Who would have thought?

I sit here each morning in my quiet with my coffee and my cats and I have managed to spit out no less than 1300 blog posts in the past four years. When I think about that, it boggles my mind, even though I am the one who pressed the keys and wrote the words. I have always said to myself that I write best when I am just “thinking” and not writing to any audience in particular. But lately I have even found it a bit of a struggle to write here. Am I going through what others refer to as “writer’s block?”

Our business is growing by leaps and bounds. As it continues to do so, it naturally requires more ‘office’ type work and administrative duties. Since Keith and I are the entire company (we don’t consider the cats because they don’t have thumbs) these duties consequently fall on us. Of course, it takes time out of our day that was previously spent doing other things.

We are not at the point of hiring anyone to assist, as there are many reasons that this would be impossible. The most obvious reason is that we are not able to afford it. We are finally getting to the point where the business is doing just a small amount better than losing money and it is unable to support anyone else. Perhaps some day. . .

But we are growing and we are thrilled about that. Perhaps what I am feeling are the growing pains that come from achieving some success after struggling so long. If that is the case, I hope to adjust quickly and get on with things.

I post my blog in several places now. Not only is it on Lumberjocks.com (where it originated) and my own site, but I also post it to Twitter, Pinterest, Google, Woodworking Web, Networked Blogs (which I haven’t quite figured out yet) and both my personal and professional Facebook Pages. It reaches quite a variety of people and I find that I receive correspondence from just about every venue mentioned. I do find myself thinking a bit much though about the particular audiences that I will reach and as you can imagine when looking at the above list, there are many different types of readers with different goals and interests. It dawned on me this morning that perhaps I was trying to write to a particular audience – or ALL of them – and that was what was inhibiting me. With such a variety of readers from so many areas I am finding it impossible to please everyone and be “on topic” for them all at once in every post. It just can’t be done.

So I am going to try this . . .

I am going to try to get back to the original style of writing that I began with. I realize that every day won’t interest every person in every group of readers, and I need to be alright with that. After all – it is quite easy to push a button and move from my blog page and choose not to read a particular post if one decides it isn’t in their interest, isn’t it?

Hopefully there will be enough discussed here about different types of creativity and business and life that will bring you back looking for more. I honestly hope that. In the past I have had hundreds of emails and letters from readers who said they felt inspired by something I said or blogged about. That is my goal here. Trying to tailor each blog post to hundreds, if not thousands of readers is somewhat of an impossible task. It takes the excitement out of my posts here if I feel I have to filter things to a particular group. I don’t think that I realized that until just now.

I understand that all creative people go through similar experiences. They work from their hearts, find some success, and then that success can sometimes pull them in a direction that may feel a bit unnatural to them. As a result, they are no longer creating in the same manner and it can slow them down a great deal. I believe that may be the culprit here.

I plan to begin going for walks again. I haven’t done that all winter long, as both Keith and I have been “too busy.” But perhaps we forgot the importance of having that time to get away and contemplate. That time when we not only took care of our bodies, but also cleared our minds and fed our souls. It has been a long, busy winter and it apparently has taken its toll.

Thank you all for allowing me to ramble on here. As fellow creative souls, I know that on some level you all understand. I receive many notes and comments from others who admire my stamina and ability to keep making things and creating and coming up with ideas. You all see that part of me because every day I come here to discuss it with you. What you may not see are some of the struggles that I have as well. Not so much a struggle for ideas, but a struggle for choosing which ideas to develop and how to develop them. Sometimes it just all gets mixed up in my head and I don’t know where to start. A bottle neck, if you will.

I noticed that today’s entry is #1301. That’s a lot of writing. This blog has not only served me and helped me organize my thinking each morning before I begin my day, but your support and comments have also inspired me to do my best. If someone were to tell me four years ago that I would be writing 1300+ blog entries I would have thought them crazy. Now who is the crazy one?

It’s time to start my day. The sun is bright and although it is chilly out, it is calm and pretty. It looks like a perfect day for a walk to clear my head and ready me for my task of writing. It is going to be a good day.

Thank you for reading.

Today’s Featured Product



Nothing says ‘Spring’ like this Strawberry Fields Forever Candle Tray. It is a fun and pretty project to create!

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



10 comments so far

View grizzman's profile

grizzman

7015 posts in 1961 days


#1 posted 04-26-2014 12:41 PM

I HAVE THE ANSWER….OFFICE MANAGER..yea im applying, we will communicate via phone or just email, we will organize all of your ideas and you will list them per what you want to do first, my job will be to keep you focused on the one your suppose to be doing, and once its done then move on to either the next one, or use artist privilege and do a different one, but i will keep you on track…lol…have a great day, i really love the leopard…love it

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

7665 posts in 1577 days


#2 posted 04-26-2014 12:46 PM

Thanks, Bob! I am at a point where I am ‘required’ in so many directions, that I find it really side tracks me. I know that is part of the business growing, but it does take its toll on my time. I think (hope) it is like when you throw a stone into a pond – at first there are large waves and they tend to calm down with a little time. I am hoping things will level off in a bit and I will have more of a hold on it. :)

Thanks for your friendship! It means a lot to me.

Have a great Saturday! Sheila

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

View grizzman's profile

grizzman

7015 posts in 1961 days


#3 posted 04-26-2014 12:46 PM

oh and it 60 degree’s right now, with a high of 75, all of our plants have been bloominng, i shall send you a picture to help you start to feel the warmth…

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

7665 posts in 1577 days


#4 posted 04-26-2014 12:50 PM

I would like that, Bob! :)

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

View BritBoxmaker's profile

BritBoxmaker

4372 posts in 1693 days


#5 posted 04-26-2014 03:27 PM

Strange, in the UK it’s more likely to snow at Easter than at Christmas, according to a weatherman on the TV a short while back. Blocks, ah blocks. Creativity doesn’t work 9 to 5 hours. Take it whilst it’s there and stockpile is all I can suggest, Sheila.

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging. http://www.theartofboxes.com

View Celticscroller's profile

Celticscroller

808 posts in 730 days


#6 posted 04-26-2014 07:50 PM

Ah, the blocks of creativity! We keep thinking we have so many ideas that we will always be motivated to keep creating but life has a habit of sometimes getting in the way. That’s when we step back, stop the world, get off for a while and then get back on refreshed! I find that happens when I’ve been very focused on a project, get it finished and then don’t know which way I’m going to go for the next project. A little gardening or a walk or a good laugh with friends helps me refocus. You are a great inspiration to all creative people and it’s good to talk about the blocks as well as the flow :)
Beautiful sunny day here. Enjoy, it WILL warm up.

-- Anna http://richmondcarvers.com/

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

7665 posts in 1577 days


#7 posted 04-27-2014 10:45 AM

Thank you both Martyn and Anna. I did kick in into gear yesterday and I made some good progress. Part of that was staying OFF the computer (except to answer customer questions and fill orders) and I think that helped a lot. It is easy to get side tracked when there is such a grey area of what I am doing to “play” online and what I am doing to accomplish some “work.” I haven’t yet figured out if it is a bad or a good thing. :)

I do try to RUN with the creative thoughts when they are there. It is odd how the creative process can be like waves – sometimes crashing in and other times gently receding. Martyn – you are correct – we DO have to take advantage o f them when they are here. AND write them down.

Thanks for your show of understanding. I am glad I am not the only one who this happens to.

Have a wonderful day today! Sheila

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

View justoneofme's profile

justoneofme

616 posts in 1137 days


#8 posted 04-27-2014 03:07 PM

Sometimes Sheila, the spark of creativity has to lay dormant … for various reasons. Maybe in your case the creative mind is saying it needs a break. A mini holiday, while the body gets energized. “Strawberry Fields Forever Candle Tray” is not only beautiful, but speaks volumes! Every part of you wants a breath of fresh air, and the warmth of Spring!! As my creativity lays dormant (for another reason) ... I feel your frustration Sheila!

-- Elaine in Duncan

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

7665 posts in 1577 days


#9 posted 04-28-2014 10:25 AM

Thank you Elaine. Yes – I do think the poopie weather is getting to me sometimes. Even though I am a ‘homebody’ and love to be at my little place, I am anxious for some sunshine and warm air. It is still too muddy to go for a walk in the woods. We would be wading through mud I think. I may brave it sometime this week though and see just how bad it is. That’s what boots are for, right? ;)

I am glad you like the candle tray. It is one of my favorite patterns. I did a little something with a portion of the pattern that you will see in the next couple of days and I am happy about that.

I appreciate your kind words. Whatever your reason for your creativity on hold, I hope it passes soon.

Take care, Sheila

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

View justoneofme's profile

justoneofme

616 posts in 1137 days


#10 posted 04-28-2014 02:06 PM

Thanks Sheila! Nothing to worry about, just a matter of time. Hope you enjoy getting your boots muddy!!

-- Elaine in Duncan

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