Have you ever zoned out while reading a book, and you kept reading the same paragraph over and over again? Where did your mind go, and why couldn’t you stay focused on the words? The book was in your hands. The words were right in front of you. So why didn't your mind stay present?
Creativity demands a lot of us, and it can sometimes feel relentless (listen to this episode of Seamwork Radio to learn how to escape the cult of efficiency). Whether you’re trying to curl up with your favorite book or finish the hem on your latest project, the most rewarding activities can require a surprising amount of energy. You have to work to stay focused.
The theme for this month’s issue is Presence, and we encourage you to be in the moment when you sew this month. This doesn’t mean your mind can’t drift—it is vital to wander into the kitchen for snacks when you are sewing—but when it does, try to bring it back to your machine. You can even use your machine’s purr as a helpful sound cue for when you start to feel distracted.
Here are three ways to stay present while you sew this month.
01. Find momentum
Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi describes flow as “being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved, and you’re using your skills to the utmost.”
You can’t be idle to achieve this awesome state in sewing—you need momentum. When you get to the momentum phase, sewing becomes so rewarding and enjoyable that you never want to stop. But before you reach that place, you can encounter a lot of frustration if you don't have a process to follow.
In episode 63 of the Seamwork Radio podcast, Sarai and Haley explore how to build your sewing skills intentionally so you can find that momentum. First, you need to build up the right set of component skills to get you to that phase the quickest. When you do this, you save tons of time on wasted projects, and have a clear path to that momentum phase.
Sarai and Haley talk about:
Sarai and Haley talk about:
- How sewing is like a tree.
- How to build that strong foundation for your skills.
- When to tackle the fun specialty projects you might dream about.
Listen to episode 63 of Seamwork Radio .
02. Befriend time
Is time your biggest excuse for not sewing? You can’t really blame your calendar for not having enough time to sew. If you want sewing to be a priority, treat it like one. Block off time for your creativity each and every day. Here are a bunch of different sewing-related tasks you can do in any amount of time—from 10 minutes to an hour, to a whole afternoon.
03. Follow a path
You don’t always have to be a leader. Every creative person will follow trends and borrow ideas every now and then. If the endless possibilities of your sewing plans are making you feel dizzy, visit the Classroom for three new learning paths. Start with the first lesson or class in the path, and just keep going. We organized and numbered them for you, so all you have to do is trust us and follow along. At the end of each path, you’ll have new skills and some new clothes to add to your closet.
If you are truly stuck in the planning phase and need a little help even to consider following a path, here are 5 tips to just get started.
I hope this issue of Seamwork gives you some ideas for your creative practice this month. If you discover something that works, find me on the Community, and let’s talk about it!