Saturday, August 25, 2007

Designer's block and making lists

I've been having designer's block — like writer's block, but with designing. I've been designing more stuff than usual and feeling creatively tapped. So maybe this isn't the best time to submit jewelry to accompany a book proposal. (Ah, if only I could set my own deadlines.) Designing feels like work — I can't wait for inspiration, I just have to move on without it. I've been fixating on how to create jewelry that's stylish and impressive and representative of my work and that uses a range of materials and techniques. And and and: the list of criteria grows.

I resolved to work through my block. Today. But first, I watched my friend Kerry play in a tennis tournament, then we analyzed the tournament, then we ate a big lunch, then I went to Knot Just Beads, then I talked to Denise, then I mowed the lawn, then it was time to make dinner. I tell you this not because you'll be fascinated by my day, but because making the list made me see how I avoided facing my designing demons. I was busy, right?

I finally sat down to work. And then a funny thing happened. Hearing Jackson Browne's "Doctor My Eyes" for the jillionth time, I remembered how I was in a zone last summer listening to this CD, when I designed Cool Jewels projects and didn't obsess over what everyone's reaction would be. By the time the disc was over, I had finished my necklace and felt proud of it. Maybe getting over my anxieties wasn't quite that simple — I did need to hear some Hall and Oates, too — but, by remembering (re-experiencing?) what it felt like to trust my own judgment, I actually was able to focus and concentrate.

Now that Necklace Number One is done, I'm ready for some sleep. It's been a long day.

Let me know if you have advice for getting over designer's block. Really. What's on your soundtrack?


Jean said...

I try not to have a list of things I need to do in order. If I decide it's time to make a bracelet that's been floating around in my head, I do that. If I have five (at least!) projects I could potentially start up at hand, I see if I feel like doing any of them. Then If I feel like it, I have the materials, am set, and ready to go!

I had the same problem you just described last year at this time, when I was trying to come up with my book presentation. I was burned out from making a large group of projects for a different publisher. It was like--Oh no--can I do this again, right now? The answer was yes, but it did take a while to get the energy going to break through to my regular style, maybe a bit longer than it did, with you!!! Glad you have a new book coming up--can't wait to see it!!!

Jean said...

Thank you for adding me to your blog log! Jean!