The older I get, the more I rely on routines to get me through the day. Families are busier than they used to be, and ours is no exception. In order to remember where I need to be, or what’s to do during any given week, I make lists, and I still keep a paper appointment book. The structure of the list gets things done. Menus get planned for the entire week, and shopping only happens once/week. Nothing takes longer than half an hour to prepare, so I know that at 5 pm I can check the menu on the fridge, all my ingredients will be on hand, and dinner will be on the table at a reasonable hour. Chores like laundry or cleaning the bathroom happen on regular predictable days, so I don’t have to think about them. (My brain is full enough these days that I don’t want to have to think about the little stuff.)
Now, when it comes to quilting, my routines are a bit more tenuous. When I’m under a deadline, I’m happy to get up at 4:30 or 5:00 am to sew (and I never miss a deadline, even when it means losing a bit of sleep.) The rest of the time, quilting fits into the corners of the day – cutting patterns during my son’s swimming lesson, trimming threads while I wait to pick him up after school, etc. For the last five years, I’ve been selling my work at local craft fairs during the summer/fall. This year, my plans are in flux and I need to develop a new routine. My energy is shifting toward entering more contests and finding galleries to host my work. I want to start new series, tackle some larger pieces, and be done with the small items that I only do for fairs. Much as I love the craft fairs, they are not my most lucrative venue.
My routine is out of sync, and I don’t have much creative momentum going at the moment. (Spending part of the month on Halloween costumes has put a dent in my quilting time too, but it’s fun, so that’s ok.) And, by not much creative momentum, I mean that I have five small quilts laid out and ready to stitch, another large piece half done, and fifteen ideas in my head. But, none of them particularly motivate me at the moment. I’m curious to see how my art will change over the next few months. When the time is right, a new routine will emerge. In the mean time, I don’t mind sitting through a period of change. Sometimes, the best creative work emerges when I don’t overthink but turn my brain off for a while and spend time enjoying the season, spending time with family, and witnessing the world.