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:
- 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;
- 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!
- 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! 🙂