This month seems to be all about motivation: how to stick with a project through thick and thin and make small progress every day.
It just so happens that I picked up another great audio book on this subject: Focus: Use Different Ways of Seeing the World for Success and Influence. While the book can often wind around in lengthy (a.k.a boring) ways, it's certainly been eye opening to learn about the two dominate forms of motivation: promotion and prevention.
It's no surprise that I've found myself answering a lot of questions that indicate a promotion mindset. I like setting goals, I love being creative and thinking outside the box. I constantly ask "what if" and have the end result of every project in mind.
But that also means I don't always plan for how long things will take and often overestimate my ability to finish quick projects quickly. I tend to be messy and disorganized, even though I work on that issue nearly every day.
Reading this book has been illuminating because I started this month with a clear focus to work steadily on Duchess Reigns. I expected it would take the entire month to finish up the center medallion. Turns out, it only took 12 days.
Seeing this huge section finished and knowing that I'm about 1/2 way through with the quilt definitely gave me a great feeling of accomplishment. I knew this quilt would be difficult and time consuming from the beginning, but seeing this section finished is really exciting.
But...as soon as it was finished I had no desire to work on her further. I clearly have a lot left to do, but at this moment I have absolutely no desire to work on this project.
Digging into this feeling, I find that I just need a break on this project. She's big and overwhelming and I need to honor how I feel about it. I want to work on something lighter and easier for awhile.
Please understand I'm not unhappy with Duchess Reigns by any means. This isn't at all the same feeling I had with the black wholecloth version of Express Your Love. I'm not putting her away to avoid some issue. In actuality I'm going to hang her up in the dining room just so I can live with her on the wall for a bit before stitching out the next section.
From what I'm learning about motivation, part of feeling the drive to finish something for a promotion-focused person is in imagining it done. In the past I've been so focused on finishing, finishing, finishing and grinding a quilt out that I didn't enjoy the process of actually making the quilt at all. And I ended up hating the end result.
So I think taking this time to hang her up, to live with her on the wall every day when I eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner, will give me the time to look at every angle and to fall in love with her yet again.
Taking this break will enable me to stop feeling so pushed to finish her quickly and allow me to savor the experience. I will know it's time to take her off the wall when my pleasure at looking at her will feel diminished by her unfinished state. It's also usually around the time when Josh starts asking "When are you going to actually finish that project?!" He's very patient, but definitely prefers finished quilts hanging on the wall.
So as I roll up this quilt and move her upstairs to hang, what will I be working on in the meantime?
Of course there's never a lack for projects to work on in my sewing room, but for right now I'm feeling an intense urge to piece, to hand stitch, and to make clothes. I want to work with many different techniques and feel pushed and stretched to learn new things. I don't necessarily want to get loads of stuff done, I just want a little vacation, a little break from the intensity of Duchess Reigns.
So here's to honoring your motivation! Whatever you feel driven to do, do it. If you're feeling bogged down with a project, instead of grinding it out, ask the simple question Why? What needs to change in order for this to feel good again?
You might need a break, you might need to change a fabric color, you might just need to find a sunny spot on your deck to relax in with a different project completely. Give yourself a hug and honor your feelings and motivation. After all, you can't do what you don't want to do!
Let's go quilt,