A Creative Slump

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A funny thing has been happening recently… I’m feeling simultaneously eager to create and burnt out by everything I’m doing. I’ve long had a bad habit of being unable to let myself out of my own commitments to creative projects, and I’m in a bad cycle now. I feel like I’m half assing everything. Right now, I’m still slogging through my daily photos, trying to write here more, planning Project Life pages, printing photos for Ben’s baby album and updating a private blog for family with photos of Ben. I’m taking photos all the time, but I’m not happy with many of them. And then I’m using those half-assed photos over and over and over again – on instagram, in Project 365, on Ben’s blog, here, and in Project Life. I’m keeping up with it all, barely, but I’m not happy with much of it.

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I want to make time to take “real” photos again. I want to sit in my craft room and actually make some scrapbook pages with all these photos I’ve been printing. I want to finish crocheting the blanket I’ve been making for our newest nephew. I want to try NEW things. I want to make stuff to decorate our house. Oh, and I don’t ACTUALLY want to abandon any of these creative endeavors, either. I’m frustrated and I don’t know how to climb out of this rut.

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Obviously, I’m attempting to do too much (or feeling obligated to keep up with too much, for no reason other than that I started these projects and it makes me twitchy to think about abandoning them). I know that a lot of this frustration comes from the fact that any of this creating happens in ten minute bursts during Ben’s naps, or when he’s happily kicking in his bouncy seat next to me. Finding time for the “fun stuff” is still so hard, because there’s always laundry and dishes and bottles to make or clean when I have some time because Ben’s either sleeping or happy to chill for a bit.

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I don’t often allow for the fact that I’m still so new to all of this… still trying to fit the old Elizabeth in with this new one.

I know that a lot of this comes back to needing to define myself in this new role. Somehow, my brain is like “well you’re home so much now, there should be lots of time to do some crafts here and there!”. Except taking care of a little baby is a full time job, too. I wouldn’t expect to be fitting in crafts in the afternoon if I was still working in an office. So there’s obviously some sort of mental adjustment that needs to be made. And sure, I could use time in the evenings to do some of these things, but when Ben’s finally asleep, I want to flop on the couch (with a beer or two or three) and hang out with Dan.

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I’m not writing this because I want someone to tell me that my photos are still good, or anything like that. Mostly I’m just not sure how to figure this out. I debate giving up Project 365 fairly often, but I’ve got less than 100 days to go, and I’m taking photos all the time anyway. I waffle about giving up blogging (while also wanting to recommit to it). Ben’s sleeping and I’m typing when I could be putting Project Life pages together or making that fall wreath or editing photos or or or. I don’t know what the answer is. Am I looking for someone to give me permission to abandon some of these projects? Do I just need to give all of this a little more time, and be a little easier on myself? Would a weekend afternoon in the craft room while Ben hangs out with Dan help? Will it take me three days’ worth of naps to even finish writing this post? Your guess is as good as mine.

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11 thoughts on “A Creative Slump

  1. This is one of the biggest challenges when you have a kid: how can I make my old life and new life work at the same time? Unfortunately it’s going to take time, patience, and willingness from both of you to carve out time for the things you like to do. As Ben gets on a “normal” sleep schedule you should find more time for these things. It definitely helps to have Dan take care of him so you can have time for yourself. I’d like to say it gets easier as they hit toddlerhood, but not so. Miss O is constantly wanting to be in and around everything Jodi is doing, which means she doesn’t get much done. Oh, and you have to deal with your kiddo wanting to have their hands all over your stuff, and figuring out how to deal with that. Don’t stress too much over it and give it more time. Some of it you’ll get back, some you might not. The beauty of parenthood 🙂

    • dude. thank you so much for this. i think it’s so easy to forget that this is still so new (to all of us) and that time, patience, and teamwork are going to be needed in high supply to figure out how our lives fit into.. our lives, now. and it’s awesome to hear from a more seasoned veteran that you figure it out, and sometimes you don’t, and it’s all okay either way.

  2. Chris said it so well! You have to decide–and own–what you want to do with your precious free time. Maybe you can mentally schedule different crafts for different weeks or months–work on crochet for a week, then the next week work on Project Life. Or just pick what you want to work on each day and let go of the pressure (why is there so much pressure?!) of Doing Everything Always Perfectly and Pinterest Worthy. Blergh. Do what you want–and if that’s sitting on the couch with a beer, well damn, you’ve earned it! 🙂

    • i like the idea of doing weeks of individual creative tasks. and really? i think my biggest take away from all of this is that all of this (self-created!!!) pressure is the problem, really. because sometimes, when he’s taking a nap (like right now?) i just want to vegetate, not Do Something Valuable.

  3. I find that my list of what I want to do (PL, photos, clean my messy office) versus what I need to do (dishes, vaccuum, mop, clean out the closet) causes me so much anxiety that I just put it all off. My office is a huge mess. The dishes are still in the dishwasher. And there are dust bunnies behind the closet door. But someday, it’ll get done so I am learning not to stress. You’ll get there. I keep telling myself that I’ll get there too!

    • that’s where i’m at a lot of days lately, honestly. there’s so much (both “fun” and not fun) and i just don’t want to do anything half the time. haha. it’s good to know i’m not alone in that!

  4. I loved reading your post! We don’t have kids yet but I can see myself with those exact struggles. You want to get so much done but wind up being so beat from your job (my case) or raising a baby (your case, hopefully my future case) that you get nothing done. For me, making lists of things I want or need to do helps me a lot and it feels great to cross off what is done. I make jewelry as a hobby and haven’t made anything new between engagement and our wedding because I know that when it feels like a chore to me I get “half ass results” just like you feel. So I think the key is to take the pressure off and work on whatever project you actually feel like doing. And right now I feel like doing project life – just not on a weekly basis – because that itself sounds like a chore to me again. 🙂

    • Thank you so much! I think it’s easy to blame this kind of thing on having no time because of having a baby now, but you’re SO right, in that this totally happened to me before I ever got pregnant, too. I love the idea of listing things, and even more I totally love the idea of freeing yourself to just do what you WANT to do. I get so caught up in all these projects that have dates or numbers attached, that I often don’t let myself just do what I want to. Which is kinda silly 😉

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