Patience is often in short supply as an artist, especially if we are focused on the outcome and not the journey. Think of the process: waiting for something to dry, cure, set. Or what about your inventory; waiting for supplies to arrive, to hear from a potential company or learn the particulars of a contract. What follows in this post was my discovery and groanings of what I believe to be a lesson on how to be patient with yourself as an artist.
As an artist, you might also have those longings to fulfill a project that is just for you. Like one that doesn’t require a deadline. I am almost positive that as you read this, you are thinking of what you would love to create. But what is intended to be a break from the regular creative projects, can actually turn out to be a lesson in and of itself. Creativity never takes a break.
What do you long to create?
For me, I get an itch to sew. Specifically, I love to sew wearable fashion for myself. I love the hunt for rare and bold fabric at an exceptionally low price. This is often found at a thrift store. To me, the more inexpensive it is, the higher value it has.
My favorite project over the last few years, has been to create a one of a kind blouse. One with a bit of vintage appeal in a stunning bold yet feminine print. So, the blouse design I picked was one I had done twice previously. I had made alterations to the original pattern to make it fit to my shape.
What would have taken me three days to finish, actually took about twelve. It was one mistake after another with the blouse. The seam ripper became a good friend and we visited often. It was almost as if I could hear a voice inside saying, “how are you going to respond to this one?”
The lessons I gleaned from this project are under the headings that follow. I hope you can gain encouragement and maybe a laugh from my “mistakes”.
1. Be Open to Change
You may have an end goal in mind, even if it is just a “you” project. My end goal was nowhere near to the time I ended up spending on the project. I really wanted to get back to an IG project and work on my Christmas pattern collection but I just had to get this project done.
My advice is when you start a project, be clear with yourself that you are not going to berate or talk down to your (perfectionistic self) if you do not complete the creative in the allotted time.
2. Enjoy the Process
When I first started sewing almost forty years ago, all I wanted was the result. And so I hurried through the process to get to that end. Well, I’ll tell you, not much was success. I didn’t learn how much I loved the process until I slowed down. Stop and ask yourself what you like about your creative process. Is it the time alone, a particular skill or the rhythm of a technique?
3. Be Open to an Alternate Outcome
When I started pitching my collection to fabric companies, I explored the two possible outcomes; my response to a yes and my response to a no. When I was given my first no (of many), I was prepared and I didn’t dwell on the why or the negatives about myself.
With this blouse, I didn’t predict that I would use twice the amount of fabric or end up making two blouses. I made my peace with it early on. The decision to quite or accomplish my goal was in front of me. I chose to continue and finish the project.
4. Celebrate Small Joys
Through all of the undoing and redoing, I was reminded of how much I loved hand stitching. It is a slow methodical process that takes time to do properly. I had to slip stitch the collar and the cuffs, twice! After it is finished it looks seamless (literally). I celebrated the joy the process as well as the outcome.
As a creative, do you struggle with confidence?
Even though I share a lot of freebies, tutorials and “how to___”, I held back for years sharing because I feared failure. As creatives, you and I can be held back due to negative thinking. It might look like comparing your ability to others or not having the confidence to pursue your creative talent or putting your creations out into the world.
Is that you? Have you ever found it difficult to cope with imposter syndrome, your inner critic, fear of failure, perfectionistic tendencies, and being hesitant to share your work?
If your answer is yes, I have a Free resource for you. It’s just a click away!
5. Practice Gratitude
Thankfulness is a habit so it needs to be tended to grow. It can help you focus on what is working rather than what is not. Gratitude pushes you forward towards goals and more creative ideas. Your mind will spiral if you focus on the negative. Throughout my sewing project, I chose to be thankful for the following:
- peace and quiet when I was sewing
- the skill to sew that my mom gave me
- the growth I have experienced as I sew more
- the enjoyment of each stage
Patience is all about slowing down and getting immersed in the process all the while learning and growing. This is exactly what happened for me.
6. Be Kind to Yourself
Being kind to oneself is a choice believe it or not. The more you choose to speak affirming words, the more you can appreciate where you are at and enjoy the journey. And you can only start to be affirming once you recognize the inner critic’s voice that is holding you back.
I encourage you to get a start right now on recognizing your inner critic so you can learn to be consistently affirming as you journey on your creative path. Grab your FREE step by step guide called, “How to Make Over Your Inner Critic: Recognize Fear & Step Into Confidence”
I trust that you have gained some helpful tips on how to be patient with yourself as an artist.
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