Monday, May 7, 2012

Surviving the Creative Life - A New Project

I don't know what this is going to be yet!

It's been what... a month? Whew! I got two stories finished and sent them out to contest. In rough draft form for a brand new story I now have Chapter 1 finished and Chapter 2 almost finished. And I have two more stories underway for a contest deadline in July. But you know what? It's not enough!

This weekend, after making 18 lemon pies for my church auction and just before racing all over town to catch some of the four soccer games my kids were playing in on Sunday, I took a few hours to go down to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival.

Even though I was already exhausted, and looking forward to more running for the rest of the day, I'm glad I went. Why? Well, I'll tell you why. Even though I'm clearly drawn to write, it is a considerable labor. With homeschooling and raising four kids, I must be committed to get in at least some writing (or at least some research) everyday. It is as rewarding as it is challenging, and I hope that I can keep at it until the very end.

However, the creative process involved in getting a story, or even some blog posts, out is sometimes like trying to run an obstacle course half drunk with a blindfold on. You take a number of hits, and fall down a lot before you finally get to a satisfactory end.

Yet, if you have a creative bent you can't help yourself. You'll do it over and over and over again. Really, if you are like me, you know you are compelled. You also know that you must nourish and refresh your creative spirit so that you can continue to endure all the abuse of the missteps and second guesses.

For me that means keeping my hands in many paint pots. In addition to writing, I also cook (of course) spin, knit, sew, draw (poorly) , use pastels (also poorly), and I'm learning to play the oboe (screechily) and if I'm lucky one day the cello (dreamily). So when I find that I'm crashing into a major blockage with one, I shift to another while I wait for inspiration to provide me with the insight I need to finish. Sometimes this can take a while, but doing things this way means I'm never wasting time.

So last week, when I was just minding my own business writing along, I was struck that I could make something really beautiful with my knitting. I've ordered some yarn for this endeavor, and I expect to add some crystal beads to the project as well. I had thought I would probably skip the Sheep and Wool Festival this year, but after being duly inspired, I went down and got even more inspired.

Then as I was coming back with all my ideas, I had another. I can bring my knitting and my writing together! So here I am. This might be a messy ride, but I've decided to blog the creation of several projects. Right now, they are just ideas in my head, and some tufts of wool, either in the mail, or resting on my bedroom floor.

Over the course of the next...well...however long it takes they are going to become at least three works of art, that might even be wearable. Then I'm going to sell them. I hope.

I already know that I'm going to have to improve my spinning skill for one of these projects, and all of them are going to be a major test of both my knitting and design abilities. I expect that I will have to make some side projects along the way just to learn the skills I need to get this bounty out of my head. So hey, why don't you come along with me on this journey. I'm still going to keep going with the writing, I have some deadlines there, and let's see what's possible in the name of making something beautiful. And they should be that, beautiful. Or else...Ack!

This is what I have to work with from the festival:

This might be a sweater?
These are two felted caps I'm going to make with the kids.

I'm not sure about this either, but it might be part of one of the big three I'm currently calling 'The Sun'.

I think this has a very good chance of being part of 'The Sun' as well as  part of a sweater I already need to finish.

This is something that I need to finish in order to learn the skills I need to make my ideas real.

So what are you working on? Is there anything lurking in your imagination that you simply must get out?

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