I’ve been having a think about barriers to crafting and I think the most obvious one has to be time, doesn’t it?
When you feel that pull within yourself to do something creative I really think you have to go with it, creating something with your hands is so good for you, especially when we spend so much time on screens with nothing tangible to show for it. I’m sure we’ve all read those reports about crafts being good for your general sense of wellness but do you really need that confirmed for you in print? Don’t all makers know that instictively anyway?
There’s something else going on there that no-one really talks about but is definitely true for me. Not all of us have careers, or particularly fulfilling jobs. Sometimes a job is just a job, its just what you do for money to support your real life outside of work. In fact, I’d say that’s most people’s reality. OK so you may like your job and the people you work with and the pay is OK – it just isn’t a passion and that is fine, Really. It doesn’t make you a failure or a bad employee in any way. Its only work.
The problem is, work takes up a LOT of time and you will as a creative person need your craft to reset yourself. Craft is something you can lose yourself in, but equally its where the real you is. Seeing as work is taking up the lion’s share of my week I need to organise myself with prompts and rewards in my own time to get everything else done and also fit in my crafts. I find unless I plan things out my lovely personal time can just get frittered away watching Tipping Point and psyching myself up to get the ironing board out.
So here’s what I do –
Weekdays – I work full time and I commute. Most of the people on my train spend their time piddling about on their phones, I do too sometimes when I’m in the mood for it but I always have a book and some sort of craft with me too. I like to read and I have a target of just 50 pages a day. That means I can read about 35 books a year. Once I’ve read my 50 pages I can move on to my craft project, so depending on my book and how small the print is I might achieve that target on my way to work, I might have to read in my lunchbreak too or I might be reading on my return journey too. I don’t always get a seat on the way home for the first 20 minutes so in that case I have to read and if I’ve already hit my 50 pages then I’m getting myself ahead for tomorrow. I sort of bank the extra pages. If that makes me sound like a monogamous crafter, that would be a dirty lie. I take whatever project is to hand and will fit in my handbag, unless I’m working on an Etsy order. Etsy orders take priority over everything, including the book.
So instead of sitting on the train fretting about some dull work thing I get out my embroidery or knitting and listen to a podcast to drown out the sniffers. Lately I’m mainly stitching my embroidery coursework that I’m very behind with. I like to sit in a twosie seat for crafting so if there isn’t one of those available I’ll stick to reading my book and I’m totally fine with that, but if a good seat comes up the project is coming out, the podcast is on and I’m very happy. You might get the odd glance from another commutor but no-one really cares, they’re all glued to their phones so its totally not scarey.
Of course you’re also setting your head in a positive place before you get to work or home and my goodness you can get a lot done in a 45 minute train ride.
Lunchbreaks though are a different kettle of fish. Its not great crafting at your desk or in the kitchen (where I work they call the kitchen ‘the collaboration space’ yeah, its bloody awful isn’t it? Plus if anyone is ever going to say something crass to you about your project that person will be a co-worker. I’m not keen on providing free entrtainment for my colleagues so I usually take myself out somewhere. A little park, a coffee shop, the library, even a church. City churches often host free lunchtime concerts and they don’t mind if you bring along a spot of crochet. If I do have to craft in the cringy collaboration space at work I plug in my headphones, turn the sound up loud and I’m in my own world. Now you may usually sit with your colleagues at lunchtime and have a chat and a laugh and that’s great but isn’t it sometimes the case where you have to sit through someone’s hour long boreathon about their dullsville job? Really. On those days that is not a positive experience. Neck your lunch and get out of there.
Weekends are a whole different ballgame. I love a list. I need a good list give me a sense of focus or I’ll waste the whole thing watching back to back episodes of Say Yes to the Dress. Here’s my weekend planner from a couple of weekends ago:
I write these lists out first thing in the morning or the night before. And yes, I do get up at 5:15 at the weekend. My planner stops in the evening when my partner gets home from work and we have dinner together and watch tv and all that coupley stuff,
5am to 7am Coffee, knitting and watch Say Yes to the Dress
8am Shower dress and makeup
9am Read 50 pages
10 – 12 Go shopping locally
12 Transfer embroidery design
13 Lunch and put a wash on
14 Make lunches for tomorrow
19 Make dinner.
This week I went to an embroidery workshop so not a lot to show…
7 shower, dress and makeup
8 – 10 Travel and buy lunch
10 – 16 Workshop
16 Travel home
17 home – flop about
18 get clothes ready for work
19 tidy up
20 make dinner.
If there are tasks I finish more quickly than I expected to, or if there’s nothing much planned for the weekend I fall back on my tasks/treats planning list which I’ve blogged about previously. This weekend plan is just what I do to make sure I don’t just veg out in front of the telly eating biscuits for 12 hours.