Between the ears

I spent so many years letting The Committee keep me from crafting.  The Committee was a group of stern-faced, business-suited matrons that would regularly convene in my head and spew comments like:

    • You don’t know what you’re doing!
    • You’re going to ruin that perfectly good piece of paper/fabric/furniture!
    • Crafting is a waste of time!

Maybe you don’t have such a Committee – thank your lucky stars.  For those of you that do suffer from this affliction, I’d like to offer some words of hope.

My biggest obstacle to creativity was perfectionism.  I would get excited about a project, buy all the supplies, think and talk about it at every opportunity, and then . . . watch TV.  Or sleep.  Or anything but start on the oh-so-exciting craft project.  Because what if I MADE A MISTAKE?  And RUINED it?  I let my fear paralyze me and quash my creative urges.

Then three things occurred to shift my thinking:

  1. A wise woman related the following mantra, “DONE is better than perfect.”  You can still hear me say these words to myself when I’m frustrated with a project and just want to quit.  They spur me on and remind me of the next thing that happened;
  2. I was given a beautiful handmade card by a coworker of mine.  I had looked at it closely several times, admiring the design and thinking about the hours of work that must have gone into making it.  Then, it happened.  I saw a mistake on it!!!  Now, I don’t mean that snarkily, like “Ha ha – she screwed it up!”  I mean the scales fell from my perfectionist eyes and I realized the mistakes that seemed so glaring to me on my own projects were not obvious to anyone else!
  3. I saw a program about wasting less food and one of the concepts in it could relate directly to crafting.  It’s a little hard to explain, but it’s basically this:  is a piece of paper any MORE wasted because you tried a project with it that “failed” versus left it tucked away in your craft cabinet for years?  I would move that the knowledge you got from trying whatever technique it was is way more valuable than the actual value of that one piece of paper.  Granted, if I were working with some crazy expensive materials like gold leaf or loose diamonds, I might feel a little differently!  But I’m usually using secondhand furniture, spray paint, fabric, or paper – all easily replaceable and relatively inexpensive.

These events truly changed my life.  Some people may think, “Okay, so she started doing crafts, but life-changing?”  To which I would say a resounding YES.  I feel most free when I’m making something and I experience moments of true joy when a project meets or exceeds my expectations.  I suppose it’s similar to people who love making music or running or solving equations (I’m sure they’re out there!) – maybe it’s what’s called “flow.”  And it brings me peace.

This is just one of the goblins that stole years of crafting happiness from me; I’ll share more later.  Meanwhile, I hope this was helpful to those of you who have Committees of your own!  Now let’s go make some stuff!  🙂