Monday, February 20, 2017

Giving Yourself Permission to Try...and Fail if You Must

Recently I've been trying to step out of my comfort zone creatively. And boy is it uncomfortable. I've been trying new sewing projects, on which I have no freaking clue what I'm doing. And as I mentioned last week, I'm doing some behind the scenes work and will soon be launching a new blog.

Both of these things seemed like a good idea in my head. They even seemed like great ideas when I'm daydreaming about my hobbies from the lunch room at work. But then late at night, after the kid is in bed and all the procrastinating has been done, I'm faced with the harsh reality of actually putting pen to paper and needle to thread. ;) And. it's. scary.

Let's look at the facts though. Is it really as scary as I make it out to be?

What's the worst thing that could happen if I eff'd up my sewing project? I waste about $10 in materials and have to start over. Annoying, yes. But not life altering.

What's the worst thing that could happen if I eff up my new blog and it's a total lead ballon? No one reads it and those who do read it hate it and think it's stupid. So then I scrap it like I did the old one and start over. Disheartening. But not the literal end of the world.

And in both instances, even if my projects bomb, I surely will have learned something in the process!

AND neither of those realities is all that horrible when you really think about it. It's just my perfectionist self worrying about not being perfect and then being nothing while I wait around worried about not being perfect. Make sense? If you're experiencing any of the same feelings, here are the steps I'm taking to overcome my fears of failure and to get my butt in gear!

1. Give myself time to plan, but with a deadline. For both my blog and sewing projects, I have given myself the freedom to have a little planning time but I have also set deadlines for myself. I will launch my new blog by May 1. I will start a new sewing project within 1 week of buying the materials.

2. Plan for the worst. Like I said above, I think of the worst case scenarios, realize they're not too bad, and press on. When we're talking creative endeavors, the worst case scenarios are generally not life and death. It's usually fear of people not perceiving our work well or thinking our ideas are stupid. Those are things I can live with and work past.

3. Just freaking do it. I know. This is the hardest part. But at some point if you just power through the uncomfortable parts, it will get better! Case in point, when I started writing again, every post was agony. I was quite sure I was writing the worst blog posts on the planet but I just knew that I needed to keep going to because it would get better and I need the practice. And you know what, I already feel better about what I'm writing!

Is there anything you're wanting to do or try but are holding yourself back because you're afraid of what might happen if you go out on that limb? Try thinking about my steps above and see if you're still scared to do it!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

DIY Sugar Glider Sack

Happy Sunday! It's time for a little DIY fun. ;)

If you follow me on Instagram, you may know that I made some little hanging bags recently for some adorable little animals called Sugar Gliders that were at my friend's animal rescue. How did an exotic pet end up at what is a primarily dog and cat rescue you may ask?...Well, someone dumped 29 of them in a cage on the side of the road a few years ago and left a note for the people who run the shelter in hopes that they would take care of them. When I learned about them, they only had five left but they needed few extra fun things in their cages to play with/snuggle in. So, when my friend heard about something else I was sewing, she asked if I would take on the project. And I did, because who doesn't want to help some super cute little animals? Oh, and I kind of had no idea until consulting the Google what these little things looked like. If you don't either, click here to find out! They're so cute!

I was looking for an easy project to ease my back into sewing (again) and this turned out to be just the ticket. I did the first batch of two with some scrap fabric that I had bought about 2 years ago and never really had a plan for. Or maybe I did but I forgot between then and now.

My friend told me that they were currently using Crown Royal bags for these little animals so I just modeled mine after one and went to town. I ended up making 10 all together for about $15 in materials. The reason my friend even asked me to make them in the first place is they tried buying some online and they were selling for $15+ a piece! So this was definitely much more cost effective for the shelter.

As fate would have it, two of the little guys who had been there for years actually got adopted while I was finishing their bags. However, the shelter has other little animals (like rats, who are surprisingly adorable) who would be super happy to play and snuggle in the bags so they'll still go to good use!

Have you made anything fun lately? Please share!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

On Making Decisions

I read something interesting recently about decision making. If you've been around for a while you've probably read one of my several rants and/or brain dumps as they relate to this blog itself. The focus, the purpose, whether or not it should have a purpose. I've gone 'round and 'round and 'round on the topic, to only still, 2 years later, be undecided on the blog's "purpose" and whether or not it should even have one. But as I was saying at the beginning, I read something recently about decision making when it comes to blogging ideas and concepts and it was something that made me stop and think. This writer was reinforcing the idea not to rush yourself with a creative decision. Yes, a decision needs to be made eventually, but it might be in your creative best interest to let your thoughts align on the matter before jumping into something.

This is something I did not really do before creating my now defunct My Everyday Life blog. I wanted something new and fresh and a project that had a more "professional" feel than my little personal blog here. But I didn't spend any considerable time planning or working out any details before jumping into it and I just expected it to come of age on it's own. And to probably no one's surprise but my own, it did not. It grew stale and I realized that I was trying to make it something I thought people thought it should be, not an expression of my own thoughts and creativity.

You may wonder why I'm writing about this topic yet again. Well the desire to create a better creative space for myself has never been truly satisfied. I came back to my original blog because I needed some sort of creative outlet and here it was just waiting for me. However, other than just getting some words on a page, it doesn't do much for me. My previous community of military spouses and part-time writers and general kind-of-like-me people have moved on to other things, sometimes coming back every once in a while to update but even that is a rare occurrence. Mostly I feel like my writing is pretty isolated, other than to my dad, who still reads consistently because the posts show up in his inbox. ;)

So again, why am I even talking about this? Because I still want to create a new space. I still want to make something that's more than my random ramblings about things that don't matter. I've been doing some thinking lately and it seems I want to cover about 23094 topics, which would leave me with far too many irons in the fire. And then, I keep seeing these tutorials and templates out there of how to organize your thoughts and plans, and I really want to use them but then that little friend called "self-doubt" rears her ugly head and says "well what do you even need that for?"

Then I had an idea.

Because I don't want to stop writing all together while I hammer out ideas and a plan for this new project, I'll just keep writing and chronicling that journey here. It will be a little bit of a Inception situation to write on a blog about planning for a new blog but hey, that's where I am, so that's what I'll write about.

And to come full circle, what this has to do with decision making is that I'm actually allowing myself time this time around. I will give myself deadlines, but I'm going to really take my time and thoughtfully plan out my project, rather than jumping in headfirst without teasing the water.

Wish me luck!