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The Advantages of Being a Beginner

Episode 140: How tapping into a beginner's mindset can reveal even more creative possibilities.

Posted in: Seamwork Radio Podcast, Creativity & Mindset • May 3, 2023 • Episode 140

Do you remember when you were brand new to sewing? There’s power in being a beginner. Beginners are alive to all the opportunities in front of them. They see things with fresh eyes. They see creative possibilities, whereas an expert might take a more pragmatic view.

In his book called Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind, Shunryū Suzuki says, “In the beginner's mind, there are many possibilities, but in the experts, there are few.”

In this episode, Sarai and Haley explore the benefits of being a beginner, and how to tap into that mindset if you could use a little sparkle in your sewing.

Below are the show notes for this podcast episode, and a brief summary of what's covered, followed by a full transcript.

5 benefits of being a beginner

  • Beginners often have an open, curious mindset. They are more likely to take an explorative approach to their sewing, trying out different methods.

  • Beginners aren’t limited by “shoulds.” Their creative opportunities are more vast, because they aren’t limited by what they should do.

  • They aren’t afraid to ask questions. Learning from other people is such a great way to embrace a new skill, and when you’re a beginner, you’re more likely to ask those tough questions without fear of judgment.

  • They don’t beat themselves up over mistakes as much. This might not be true for everyone, but beginners might not have as many expectations from their sewing while they are learning. When you’re a beginner, you might be more forgiving of mistakes or give yourself more grace, because, hey, you’re new at this.

If you are a beginner, you are in this wonderful place where you have so many possibilities ahead of you and really a different way of seeing things. And even if you're not a beginner at sewing, maybe you're a beginner at something else too. Or, here are 5 ways to tap into the beginner’s mindset with your sewing.

5 ways to tap into the beginner’s mindset

  • Set up some sewing experiments (or go on a sewing exploration). Try a different way of doing a familiar technique. Google it and see if someone has found a hack.

  • Get feedback from someone more advanced than you. Sewing is a never-ending universe, and there’s likely someone more ahead on their journey than you, or traveling parallel but with a fresh perspective. Look for them, follow them on social media or in the Seamwork Community, or strike up a conversation. If you’re not feeling social, browse some vintage sewing books and experiment with the techniques.

  • Try not to be afraid of mistakes. Every mistake is an opportunity to learn something new, and who knows, that new way might be your favorite.

  • Get out of your comfort zone and try something challenging. You can find plenty of ideas in the Seamwork archives about niche sewing.

  • Practice staying present. If you’ve been sewing for a while, it can be easy to jump ahead a few steps or even start thinking about your next project before you finish your current one. Try to remain in the moment and you’ll find those little sparks of joy that brought you into this craft in the first place.

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