Crafting Observations, Tips, Ideas

Recovering Serial Starter

Yep, I own it! It’s who I am!

As I look around my craft room for something to do I am suddenly struck by all the projects that are at various stages of completion. And the tennis match in my head begins:

Logical Me: “You should finish that dress before Emma (age 5) graduates from High School.”

Emotional Me: “Oh, I have time.”

Logical Me: “You are going to lose pieces and forget every carefully laid out step to complete the project.”

Emotional Me: “I don’t have time right now.”

And trust me there are currently 3 project piles that get pulled into this tennis match every time I find myself with an hour to kill.

Unfortunately, crafting is not the only area of my life filled with incompletes.

The garden – I am truly sorry to those last 3 or 4 plants that never got transplanted into the ground. And I apologize to my neighbor for the spaghetti squash vine that has taken over his back yard instead of climbing the beautiful trellis I was going to build.

The craft room – Or more specifically, the relocation of the craft room. I am moving it from one room in the house to another and after a few items are moved I will undoubtedly find a tool or incomplete craft that requires my immediate attention. Or worse, “I will move this once I have a perfect storage solution” and it languishes in the old craft room.

My closet – I know, I know… if I haven’t worn it in a year it’s time to throw it out. But maybe I did not wear it because it was too small or too big. It might fit in the future, right? Probably not!

The causes, in my humble opinion, are as varied as the projects… it’s too hot outside, it’s too cold outside, I have to rip that seam out, I don’t like the color I started using, if my diet works/fails I will have to have pants to wear to work! And the list goes on and on!

So why do I do this? Do I enjoy the chaos? Do I enjoy the lack of completion? Hell NO! I don’t, really I don’t. I have gotten better over the years and have even setup a “system” for dealing with this. It’s not exactly a “12-step” system, but it could probably be stretched out to that!

  1. Complete a project day – one day a week is dedicated to working on nothing but existing projects. No matter the inspiration that may creep into my head I must work on an incomplete project, article, pattern, craft and nothing else.
  2. Reflect on why I wanted to do the project in the first place – what was my vision, what benefits did I believe it would give me, who was it for, make a list of the benefits of being done, picture clearly the finished project.
  3. What is it costing me to leave it incomplete – how do I feel when I look at yet another incomplete, what does it do to my energy to have this hanging over me, does leaving it incomplete fit into the vision I have of my life?
  4. Just start moving towards completion – obviously the emotional rush that fueled the beginning of the project has since died down so I know that a restart is going to be strictly based in a logical step-by-step motion instead of a happy, high-flying emotional process.
  5. Take baby steps and applaud each one – “chunk it down”, “bite-size pieces”, “baby steps”… however small and insignificant in the grand scheme of things each little step is, they are part of the process and by my acknowledging completion of each one I will be able to create momentum that will help to bring the emotional rush back to drive the project over the finish line.
  6. Review the times this process has worked in the past. By looking back at restarts that resulted in completed projects I build an admittedly amazing list of “I can do this”!

Intellectually I know that not all projects should be completed. Sometimes it makes more sense to throw it all out and start all over from the beginning – like burning dinner. Emotionally, I have a hard time letting go of ideas and feel that starting over from the beginning flies in the face of the emotional high I had when I started the project in the first place.

Experience has taught me that I am not alone in this. I see incompletes all around the world. And I think I will never be completely rid of them, but with a system I can keep them in check!

So it’s off to the craft room for me to take those little baby steps and figure out how to get thru just one of those incompletes today! Wish me luck!




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