Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Parking spots for my creative interests.

A few days ago I took a bath. It's always in the bath that I get such good ideas. The thoughts about my life seems to flow in the bathtub. So here are some notes from the tub:

I reread parts of Barbara Sher's book Refuse to Choose. I'm a scanner. This is a term Sher came up with to describe the types of people who are wired to be interested in many things. She first used the term in her book, I Could Do Anything If Only I Knew What It Was. Later she wrote a whole book, Refuse to Choose, about scanners and the different types of scanners.

So, if you are familiar with the book then I'll say I'm a Sybil Scanner and you'll know what that means. But you don't need to know what that means for our purposes here. The first time I read this book I felt relieved. I was thinking I really needed to pick one of my interests like ceramics or writing and choose ONLY one to focus on turning into a career or something productive.

Now a few years later, I accept that I want and need all of my interests. I keep cycling back to each one. Upon rereading this chapter regarding Sybil scanners I see exactly what I need to do for my sanity and productiveness. I need to set a schedule for myself and my interests.

I'm really good about showing up for my library volunteer work. It has a schedule, and people are expecting me to show up. I'm not so good with my clay work. No one is expecting me to show up and I have no schedule for it.

The problem with this is I let myself down when it comes to my creative interests. I fail to show up and it causing me to not trust myself. I really don't want to continue down this path. I need to schedule and expect myself to show up for myself.

I have a lot of creative interests. I'll name just a few:
making stuff/creative assemblage
soul collage®

This leads to the other issue I need to address. My interests need parking spots and landing spots, which I'll explain in a moment. Sher suggests making avocation stations for each of your interests. A place designated for each interest. Right now my interests are on top of each other. They are piled and jumbled and disorganized.

If I want to do clay work I may have to spend several hours just getting a space to work.

I know there is a table under here somewhere.............

Say I decide to begin a new crochet project, but where did I leave that size G crochet hook? And while I'm looking for that hook I find.......the clasps!!.....
to make that bracelet that I bought beads for oh so many months ago
..............uh oh, where did I put those beads?!

Do you feel my pain yet...........?

All that stuff I clear off the table mostly are bits and ideas for all my creative interests. And if I go to work on one thing I'm likely to find a whole bunch of other things I want to do. It hits me all at once and the result is I work on nothing while the ideas yammer at me to work on them. No wonder I go running for shadow comforts and time monsters (google Jennifer Louden to find out what those are)

So.........while in the tub, rereading this chapter I came up with a solution and I'm already on my way to sorting it out. I am reorganizing my studio. I am saying yes to all my creative interests. I am storing them in a way that I think is like parking spots.

For instance, soul collage® will have a parking spot. Sized for the space it needs.

My clay, already has a working parking spot, but it needs an empty table....i.e. landing spot.

Beads will have a spot. Writing pages will have a spot. Yarn and room for more yarn will have parking spots. Notebooks for various interests will have a spot to collect ideas.

My goal is to be able to take the stuff out, work with it, and put it away easily in a short period of time. So if I have the urge to create in (fill in the blank)_________ interest it flows from working on it and back to it's parking spot with ease and allows the creative momentum to happen. The landing spot is the table and having room and space to maneuver the stuff in and out onto the table and off (very important!).

Once I get it all sorted and parked. I plan to do a test run and take 5 minutes get it out. Play for 5 minutes and put it away. Then test the next interest. Once I get the stuff in a easy way to use, then I'll work on my schedule.......ah, that may be more challenging.

I may be a creative dawdler, putterer, or scanner - but I refuse to let it jam me up and keep me from enjoying the creative flow.

So I'll let you know as I go........


  1. Yaaay--you're back! (I totally forgot that you told me that in a letter!) Scanning is good--my main focus is fiction, but I have so many other interests as well--and you're so right--there's a place for it all!

    Also--I do some of my best thinking in the tub, too.

  2. I feel your pain, I like your goal -- I'm 1/2 way there -- with soulcollage® and mixed media and cross-stiching -- the only one I'll never get is the clay -- I have a wheel, but I have no kiln sigh

    Happy Landing!