Saturday, December 5, 2009

Finding Time: An Update

Apparently I have a lot to say these days. Here comes a long photo-less post on a Saturday night. I promise I'm not trying to torture you!! (And I will have photos tomorrow!)

I want to post an update on how I'm finding time for creativity these days.

New Schedule

When we got home from vacation in October, I started a new schedule to make sure I was creative each week.

The main parts of my plan were to have 2 design sessions a week, and to work as a production assistant (to myself) for an hour first thing in the morning 5 days a week.

How has it gone?

Short Version


I'm really happy with this division of time and tasks. I'm in my studio more often. I'm producing more work. I feel like it's a good balance of cranking out work, stretching my design skills and solving tough problems.

The past two weeks have been a real test of my plan. A holiday week like Thanksgiving obviously has schedule disruptions, but I still fit in my creative time.

During the week that's just ending, there was a death in Jim's family. We traveled a bit for the wake and funeral. But I still fit in my creative time. (I didn't keep up with people very well via email or my blog, but I was able to keep my studio commitment to myself and I'm happy about that.)

I feel more confident that if this scheme can work in weeks like the past two, it has a good chance of working until spring. (And if my friends and blog buddies can stand it, hopefully I'll also be able to keep in touch with them!)

Morning Sessions as Production Assistant

The morning sessions were hardest for me to get into, but now they're my favorite part of this plan. At first, I faced the task of weaving 4 more towels on a huck warp, then hemming them. Particularly during the hemming phase, I wasn't exactly excited.

The beauty of this scheme is that I don't have to be excited. I just have to do it. I don't have to be the most efficient, the best, inspired. I just have to sit down and get to work for an hour. No thinking. No questioning. No wondering. Cranking out work. Definitely "Less thinking, more weaving!"

It's working for me. I've really come to enjoy it. The pluses of that morning time are that when I first get up, the house is quiet and my brain is still partially asleep. The hour drifts by even if I'm doing a part of a project that I don't enjoy. My rules of not questioning and just doing whatever comes next keep me focused and make the time more relaxing. If something really doesn't work, I set it aside until my next design session, and move on to something that is working.

By Monday most weeks I look forward to that hour....I do try to spend Mon - Friday mornings that way....but sometimes life gets in the way and it gets pushed off til the weekend.

Design Sessions

My design sessions are a mixture of fun, challenging and hard for me. I am in a rhythm of enjoying that focused time and working on whatever problems I'm trying to solve.

So far I've designed the scarf warp you've heard so much about. Plus I have a secret Christmas project on my other loom, and another project ready for sampling.

I also did my calculations for my two days of dyeing during the design sessions. (I did manage to wind the skeins and actually do the dyeing during other time - not impinging on my studio schedule.)

It's fitting that I'm posting this today since I just had a great design session. I started weaving the first scarf on my 1st-Time-at-WEBS scarf warp. I also figured out what was going wrong on my secret Christmas project. I can start weaving first thing Monday with both projects in good shape.

Right now designing is so new to me that I have trouble keeping my "production assistant" busy with production all of the time. On off days when both projects are stuck, tasks like cleaning the studio, sorting and cleaning all the Texsolv parts of my Toika loom, and cleaning up a gift of shuttles and books easily fill the hour.

I hope that as I get better as a designer, I'll keep my production time productive, and be able to tackle some of the odds and ends that are on the back burner for now.

I guess I'm not really sticking with my "Less Thinking, More Weaving" motto. It's more like, weave in the mornings, think twice a week.

In reality, spending this much time with weaving means that I have great ideas when I'm driving around or out list of different projects I want to do grows and grows. I love that idea phase of weaving (or of anything) the best.

Things Being Neglected

Last time I posted about finding time, a number of people talked about housework. Um, yeah. When I neglect weaving, it's definitely not because I'm doing too much housework!! We don't live in filth, but if I have to schedule time for weaving, I definitely have to schedule time for cleaning and such!

Knitting has kind of fallen off the schedule which isn't great. I have 5 projects on the needles and I need to get back to my knitting group ASAP. I'm such a social knitter! I've just had major schedule conflicts for the past month or so.

I do feel like other things that are important to me are getting short shrift....mostly keeping in touch with friends and relaxing, but hopefully as I get used to working this way, I'll get better at fitting in the things that matter most to me.

The fruits of my labor will be more apparent soon - which will boost my confidence and trust in this plan even more.

Hope you're having a creative December too!!


Theresa said...

Good for you! It will all become second nature, esp. being production asst. for yourself.
I can't wait to see the secret projects after the holidays!
I too let my knitting get behind, way behind, it always seems to hit the back burner and sometimes housecleaning, like last Monday when I needed to get flags woven instead. My best creative thinking time is
right before I fall asleep. I figure a lot of things out then too if I've gotten stuck on something. By the time I get up in the morning, my brain on autopilot during the night has gone through the steps I need to do so it seems pretty straightforward.

Synnøve. said...

Hellu Sue.
Long time no sea...
Il hope you are alright.
Here we have the second sunday of advent. I dont know if you know what it is.
Four Weeks before christmas we light a candle eat sunday. The first advent its one light and the second its to, the third its three, and the last its four.
Today its the second candle.
For three days ago we had a verry coald wheather. Down to 14 degrees cold. For to days ago, we got snow, and the temperature raisd up to 3 plus. And the rain come....
All the snow is gone. Its slippery and wetly outside know. And verry dark. Im glad i have the christmastree outside.

Im looking forward to christmas. My stepson and goddaughter is cooming.
I havent seen them for a long time.

But know I wish you a nice sunday and dont forgett to ligth to candles today.
Hugs Synne.

Sharon said...

I loved reading that and thank you. It's my virtual weaving friends that help keep me focused. Having an actual weaver here and getting her loom going was like the breaking of a dam for me. I finally have weaving on the brain. I don't know how creative I'll be, but I finally am making time for my studio. Reading and housework suffer - yup. Great post.

Restless Knitter said...

I'm glad it's working out so well for you. I did very badly on my trying to do at least something each day. Seeing your post reminds me that I need to stop slacking and get back to it.
I've practically stopped knitting. I see things that I think I'd like to knit, then I go back to lusting after another weaving project that I'd like to do. I won't be getting rid of my knitting needles any time soon though.

charlotte said...

I find it often quite hard to sit many hours and just produce, but I find that listening to the radio helps. If there's nothing on the radio I like or I can't hear the radio because of the noise when I machine knit, I listen to podcasts on my ipod. That way I forget that what I'm doing is a bit repetitive and boring.

Delighted Hands said...

I have some 'just do it' projects now but it is good to see completions, isn't it?! I like the scheduling rigidity, it works well for me, too.

Sue Schwarz said...

you inspire me. My best friend preaches that I need to do exactly what you are doing, but life always seems to get in the way, when realistically, I know you are right and I need to block time for my studio time. They say that anything you do for two weeks becomes a habit, so I think I will try to follow your fine example. Can hardly wait to see the pictures of the scarf

Life Looms Large said...

I'm glad to know that I'm not the only one who sometimes struggles with fitting weaving into my life. It's good to hear other people's tricks of the trade....whether they're technique tricks or schedule tricks!

I, too, like listening to the radio during routine tasks like cooking or painting the house. I haven't achieved routine in my studio yet!! I still have to think about what I'm doing when I'm there! So I can aspire to listening to the radio while I weave!

That actually reminds me of when I learned to drive a stick shift (standard transmission) car. It was so difficult for me at first that I had to have complete silence in the radio. Otherwise I never drive without the radio on!! (And perhaps my voice singing along loudly and badly!!)


Dorothy said...

I'm also finding that I get more done if I make structure to organise my time. If you're at home all day it's easy to drift and mooch around, not quite getting started on things. Well done for finding a system that's working for you.

Leigh said...

Sue, I admire your stick-to-it-ivness about personal creativity. I think scheduling your time like you've been is a real key to success.

It's interesting to contemplate thinking as part of the creative process. It's oh so necessary, but there's nothing to show for it. Of course, any learning curve always requires a lot of time and mental energy, but with your discipline, you will do very well with that part too.

Deanna said...

I love reading your posts about fitting creative time into a busy schedule. This fall has been strange for me - sick for several weeks, then my dad visited for Thanksgiving, then the last week has been totally focused on concerts (the last one is this afternoon.) If I had a plan like yours, I think I'd be able to get more creative things done, in spite of the chaos!
So thank you, and thank you for your blog - reading it is one of those pleasures that's very easy to fit in. :-)

Tuesday Weavers said...

I took your advice and challenged myself to one hour a day at my weaving. It had gotten too easy to say I didn't have time during the day, and I wasn't getting very much done. But, just giving yourself that hour that is just for weaving has made such a big difference. I find, too, that it has gotten my creative juices flowing again. Thank you for that wonderful suggestion. Happy Weaving!

R.L. Delight said...

Wow Sue,this is awesome and thanks for sharing. It is a general rule that when you start something that has a higher purpose ( getting organized, dieting, taking up a higher calling, etc.) life, or sometimes known as resistance, tries to block. You just have to keep on anyway. Keep putting those projects in the pipeline and the results will eventually gush out the end.
Great job! -Renee