Writers come to the end of writing a book, and say it feels “like a kind of death”!
Artists finish a piece of work and get stuck, finding themselves without inspiration to move on.
A blogger comes successfully to the end of a month-long blogging challenge, and publishes nothing for the next month—or two, or three, or…
A quilt maker (me, the past two weeks) puts the final touches on a quilt top, packs away the sewing machine… and it might not come out again for weeks, even years!
You get the idea.
If you do creative work of any kind, maybe it’s happened to you.
You reach your goal, cross the finish line—and feel… finished! Too finished. What now?
The trouble with closure is how much it can close things: Doors, pathways, the mind.
How do you prevent the freeze that follows the finish?
I’ve read some good advice about this in recent years. I just forgot to apply it! Almost.
Nearly done with my patchwork project, and writing yesterday’s post about it, I suddenly remembered something important I hadn’t done, and needed desperately to do! Otherwise my big idea of upcycling scrap fabrics for good use was going to end right today.
What do you do if such a door is about to slam?
Get ahead of yourself! Run down the hallway of your mind and open a new entrance.
I once watched a fascinating fabric artist (Anita Luvera Mayer) explain her strategy for preventing such standstill: She always had three notebooks going: One for the project in progress; another with preparatory planning for the next project; and a third with more random clippings and samples inspiring daydreams for further down her “hallway.”
I’d forgotten this! And I knew the patchwork was about to screech to a halt!
So I paused in my final sewing of borders, and hauled out a bunch of leftover fabric from old endeavors: Greens and pinks, just because.
I scanned my sewing bookshelf to see what caught my fancy: This volume:
I brewed some tea and sat me down with this unread book that had been languishing for years in the shadows.
And it grabbed me! Intending just to skim for random inspiration, instead I got fascinated with the intricate art of good scrapwork placement. I started reading from beginning straight through, and my enthusiasm ignited.
What a dynamic art form! I might never do three-fabric patchwork again! What artistry in the way a true scrap quilt can draw people “into” it, and then mesmerize them with the varied fabrics’ interacting!
Author Roberta Horton likens the experience to her encounter with a house in San Francisco. From across the street, something about it caught her attention, then pulled her toward it, for closer inspection.
A large display window in front held the magic: varied teddy bears on shelves, facing out behind the glass. All different. She stood there feasting her eyes, looking from one to another, her view hopping all around the large window.
This, she says, is how we react to good scrap quilts. They draw us in and keep us looking, feasting on fabrics, colors, patterns, and combinations, as we would never do with a simple-graphic quilt of today. One glance at the latter tells us all we need to know. The scrap quilt is more like a treasure map that can hold our attention spellbound for some length of time.
She then explains how to achieve this phenomenon without patterns clashing or tipping the balance.
All this summons me on, to the next quilt possibility.
Admittedly, I’m late in the game. This done a week or so ago would have given me time to separate out fabrics and consider different patchwork patterns in which they’d work well. I may have even started cutting strips or rectangles and nestled them in their own basket, where they could incubate!
But I’m definitely not dead-ended.
So what shall I do to prevent blog freeze at the end of this month? Hmm… Another notebook, to carry around everywhere, and jot “things” down?
How about you? Are you dead-ended? Or headed for it soon? How can you prevent it by “going ahead” of yourself?
Happy endings—and beginnings!
For a set of links to all the other posts in this “Meandering Forward” series, go to this page, which will be updated daily as new posts appear in the blog content.
2 thoughts on “How to Keep a Finish from Becoming a (Very) Dead End”
Yes! Even when we know this- I used to have a warp measured out before taking a project off the loom (note the past tense- and I think you were referring to Anita Luvera Myers video and her notebooks-) it is easy to get caught in a drift or a fog or feel dry docked. And sometimes there are detours. Wondering what I would do after 24 years of homeschooling, I returned to school and earned another degree, but the very month my youngest graduated, my mom passed and caring for dad was my new normal– even though he lived independently, he was semi dependent on me. Now as I drift about trying to find focus following his passing, my husband is talking retirement. I need to get some projects started. I DID make most of my Christmas gifts, but shut down afterward.
I think I just detoured from the original idea and then got back to it. Just going to leave it here.
Wow, yes. Your comment hints that there’s a lot more to this than mental discipline, that much deeper issues are often what “detour” us–or sideline us, or even hijack us–from the creative spark within us, preventing it from igniting, or, if ignited, extinguishing its glow. I am also becoming increasingly convinced that this creative part of us may be the part that many of us need most to employ to heal from the hard things of life that have made us distracted or confused or sidelined in the first place.
When I began this 28-blog challenge, I didn’t know where it would head, but I suspected it would veer somewhat in this direction, and I think your thoughtful comment has helped steer it that way. I thank you for that, Laurie.
And, yes! That’s who it was! Anita Luvera Mayer. I couldn’t remember her name, or the name of any of her videos, but when I looked up the name you gave here I found this delightful woman again and now will name her above and add a link to a video of hers in which she introduces and explains her workshops.
There’s much to consider here. Thank you so much for this. More in email later, friend Laurie!
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