Monday, May 12, 2014

the creative process ... how chaos motivates me

I know a few people that amaze me because everything they do seems to come out perfect.  A perfectly decorated house here, a perfectly well thought out teacher's gift there, and on ... and on ... and on!  While I, on the other land, live in a house that resembles the typical "before" picture in any magazine (sometimes I'm envious of the before picture!) and I am also the mom who hands the teachers their gift cards on the last day having totally missed the party the day before when everyone else gave the teachers their gifts :)  Oh, who am I kidding, most of the time I just shove the gift cards in my kids' backpacks and tell them not to forget to give them to their teachers.  And that doesn't seem to work very well, since just last week I was cleaning out a laundry basket full of donations, and there on the bottom were the gift cards from Christmas that were supposed to go to my 2nd grader's teachers :)  Of course, being the person I am, I will just give them to the teachers when I go volunteer this week.  They're moms too, so I'm sure they will understand :)  And if not, this is the forth year they have had one of my kids in their class, so I'm pretty sure they know me by now!

So, you have to be asking yourself by now what this has to do with the creative process, and I promise I will get around to that.  I am not an organized person by nature.  I would love to be, but I don't really want to put the effort into maintaining it, and to be honest, I don't have a problem being surrounded by chaos, so there's not much motivation to get organized in the first place.  I am also a big time procrastinator.  I had a professor in college who said you can't wait until the last minute to do the term paper because he would know just by reading the paper.  I took that as a personal challenge :)  I'm not sure what kind of warped kid my parents raised, but I know I'm being paid back for it since my oldest son lives by the same motto that I do - "I'm a perfectionist with a procrastinator complex - some day I'm going to be awesome!"

So what, so I'm an unorganized procrastinator.  What does this have to do with creativity?  I'm not really sure what the science is behind it, but I do know that many creative people tend to have similar traits.  Of course, so do many lazy people, but that's a whole new subject for a different day :)  Bear with me for a minute here while I try to explain my thoughts a bit better for the organized, get-everything-done-ahead-of-time kind of people who may be reading this.  When I sit in a clean, empty room I feel calm and at peace, but I also have no desire to actually do anything.  It's like I'm too calm to get motivated enough to accomplish anything and that there is really nothing that needs my immediate attention, so I can go ahead and relax instead.  But when I'm in my busy, complicated house (and life!) I feel like I actually draw energy from the chaos that surrounds me.  It's as if the sheer number of things I need to do triggers some response that says I've procrastinated long enough and now I need to get moving :)  And when creativity competes with "I really need to fold the elephant sized pile of laundry," creativity will always win.  Or, in other words, creativity is just another means of procrastination :) 

This whole post is really just a way of saying that I'm working on a new project and rather than doing laundry a couple of weeks ago, I sketched a new pattern I wanted to try :)


I liked it enough to draw a digital pattern and sew up a beta (or more realistically for the computer geeks among us, an alpha) version.  I really like it overall, and it fits well, but there are a few small things I need to tweak.  I already drafted a new version with the changes and am hoping to get a second beta version finished tonight.


I drafted the pattern (called the "Nell" after my friend's little girl) to be a top, tunic or dress with long or short sleeves and an optional collar.  I may change a few things for the final version, but it works for now.  Hopefully, if the next few versions look okay I will ask for testers in a few weeks.  But like the procrastinator I am, it may be more like a few months!  I guess it just depends on how clean my house is :)


How about you?  Are you a creative procrastinator, or are you one of those people I'm always jealous of who manage to be creative while living in a perfect, always company-ready house :)  I would love for you to leave a comment.  Hopefully at least one of you will make me feel slightly less insane for enjoying living in the midst of chaos!

17 comments :

  1. I too feel most creative in chaos. And I love the collar and this and would be very happy to test for you!

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    1. Thanks Joan! The collar was the starting point of the whole look :)

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  2. You sound exactly the same as me, it's comforting to know that I'm not the only one with a head full of ideas and an overflowing pile of laundry.

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    1. I'm pretty confident that you and I are just two out of many, many people with dirty laundry ;)

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  3. Cool new project! And count me in for the chaos - I'd be embarrassed to show a pic of my sewing room, but it's where the magic happens!

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    1. I'm not embarrassed by much ... my sewing room is the first room you see when you walk into my house and it is really bad right now! Yet I don't really care that much because I figure that the family needs clean clothes more than a clean sewing room, and I just don't have the energy for both :)

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  4. oooh I so love the top and collar!!! do you think you will be releasing and testing, would give my right toe for that collar....LOL

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    1. No offense, but I don't want your right toe! Now if it was the left one... :)

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  5. It's a proven fact that we are more creative in messy spaces :)

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  6. I don't know if the chaos makes me more creative, but our house sure degrades into chaos quickly! And I'm not a perfectionist, but I have perfected procrastination. I'm pretty sure the anxiety it creates makes me smarter. I'm learning to let go of guilt I feel about our messy house, and focus instead on teaching my kiddos love and keeping them happy and healthy!

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    1. P.S. The top is adorable! If you need a pattern tester in a 6-12 month or 3T, I'd be happy to!

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    2. I think you're focusing on the important things! If you can teach your kids love and keep them happy, then you are definitely doing something right :) I'll post a tester call in the next couple of weeks, so be sure to check back!

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  7. Thank you for your honesty about chaos and the unfolded laundry. I did just that last night. I neglected the laundry that has been sitting there since Sunday and went down to my studio. Instead of cleaning I just grabbed an already cut into pair of fabric donor pants and started draping a skirt right on me.

    I'm super excited about my procrastination skirt. And feel no remorse over the laundry. At least until I want to wear a shirt out of the pile and it's as wrinkly as a shar pei pup.

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    1. Laundry is not worthy of remorse! I'm thinking about making that my new slogan :)

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  8. I sew in my bedroom, so it's kind of hard to escape the chaos in there...but I do try and keep the rest of the house semi-normal :). But...I find I spend so much time trying to motivate my kids to pick up, and then picking up after them when I am tired of nagging them to pick it up, that I never have time to tidy MY space. So maybe...I do work better in chaos?? who knows...maybe I'll get it clean one of these days just to test the theory:) Oh--and I would love to test the Nell for you:) or those cute baby pants :) I have a 16 mo. old that would love to try them out!!!

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    1. I fell the same way about my own space. It is always the last thing I get to! Who knows, I might be more productive without the chaos too, but I don't plan to spend the time trying to figure it out :) I'll be looking for testers soon for both the baby pants and the Nell top, so make sure you check back!

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