In need of a little restUsually I come back from travels with all sorts of new ideas rustling inside my brain, itching to spring out from my finger tips.  This last trip to Ecuador, lovely as it was, didn’t so much inspire me as much as it broke my stride.  I had been an uber-efficient. well-oiled, sweater-making juggernaut for so many months that the change in pace ended up being more like a wrench in my Katwise machine.  Now all I actually feel like doing is futzing around the house in a fog. Several days ago a rogue tentacle of my wistfulness reached out to my computer keyboard and naughtily bought me a plane ticket to Kathmandu (see last post). Ack!

With new travels looming just a few days in the future, and a new hole burned in my credit card, I have really no excuse to not get back to work.

I hauled in 8 giant bags of sweaters, fresh from the laundromat. One of my favorite moments in the sweater making process is when I get to pour out my newest batch of material into a mountain on my floor and see the colors jump out and conspire.Exhausted  I cranked up the music and commenced dumping out my sweaters, anticipating this full on “Eye of the Tiger” empowerment moment. And then my heart sank.

I don’t know what went wrong at the laundromat, but i found myself staring at $1200 worth of mostly ruined sweaters. Instead of the usual fluffy piles of colorful wonderment, these sweaters were shrunken and contorted and linty and…just super lame. I will spare you my theories of why they got destroyed, but, in my already not-too-keen-to-sew mood, this made me feel crestfallen.  Many of the sweaters were pronounced dead, and even the ones that survived are going to be a challenge to work with.

GahSigh.

I just wanted to go watch Netflix and pretend this didn’t happen.

BUT. I have to work. If there is one thing I have learned in this journey of “being myself for a living” it is that you just have to power through. Just turn the music up higher and keep moving forward.

When you do Art for a hobby you have the luxury of waiting for moments that you feel inspired.

When you do Art it for a living, *inspiration* is more of a charismatic Frenemy.

I see a lot of artists rely so heavily on inspiration that it becomes an obstacle that keeps them from doing anything at all.

*Inspiration* is a tide that comes in and out unpredictably, and if you wait for it, you are wasting your time.  You just have to work work work work work, and then you will be so much better prepared when inspiration drops in to say hello. THEN you can grab onto its fin and go for a little rainbow dolphin ride through the sparkling sea mist.

YawnBut if you sit around deferring your work until inspiration appears, you are losing the opportunity to make good art.

Other times we lucky enough to get a visit from inspiration, but then we use that as a distraction. We get tangled in ideas of all the awesome things we are going to do, so that we can’t manage even the first step toward actually doing any of it. We can get so intoxicated on the potential of things that we  pass out before actually even starting.
I have entire novels in my head that have fallen victim to the Inspiration Hangover.

So, here I am, trying to practice what I preach. I am just typing this now not  because I am inspired, but because I want to be a writer. I don’t have any illusions that these ideas are original or beautifully stated.  I can’t imagine anyone is gonna read this and discover anything they’ve not already thought before.  If there is anything to be gained from sharing these silly words it’s perhaps that we can feel some companionship in our struggles to stay motivated.

So TiredNow that I have spent my 20 minutes writing, it is back to my pile of sweaters. I have made some headway.  I have carved some respectable hoodies out of the mess. This would be a nicer story to read if it ended with me realizing that the lame sweaters were actually perfect for some other amazing new design I have been dreaming up. I’d love to impress you with how I managed to pull a rabbit out of the hat and sew something that was EVEN COOLER because it was such a struggle.  That magic does happen sometimes. That hasn’t happened today….so far.

Which is why I am putting my headphones back on (Rock en Espanol at high volumes!) and headed back to my sweaters….

Does anyone have any special secrets for staying motivated? Gimme tips!
( For me it is usually a combination of music, chocolate, and stubbornness.)

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