Tuesday, March 6, 2012

When the Answer to 'Stress' Is 'Make'

I only just now realized something about myself.

That something is the fact that when I feel absolutely swamped by worky sorts of things, I don't so much respond myself as let my inner crafter self bellow MAKE ALL THE THINGS! and start going a little crazy. Decorating projects, for instance, usually happen on deadline. Half done sewing suddenly grates on me when client work comes due. Pinterest is my favorite distraction.

Notable examples of this peccadillo (not to be confused with picadillo) include my sewing a bow headband for the P. and myself on the eve of her third birthday party... deciding this is the perfect week to think about finally having curtains in the bedroom... finally getting around to making my Mr. and Mrs. pillows during my lunch hour...


mr and mrs pillows


making vegan whoopie pies from scratch at 9 p.m. last week...


vegan whoopie pies


and deciding today to buy the stain for the kitchen table top and the paint for the kitchen chairs, as if I have nothing else going on in my life.

My theory? Is that I wish I had nothing else going on in my life. Besides, of course, my family. What a cozy life that would be - taking care of the P. and DIYing and writing when the mood struck.

It has been, by my count, more than five years since the last time I wrote a piece of fiction. Now, I'm not saying I was ever particularly spectacular at it, but I made it into a couple of small literary magazines back in the day. But as much as I'd love to be inspired to create people and worlds, the notion of coming home from the office (where I write) and knocking out the day's freelance work (writing) and then, after hours, sitting down for a little more writing? That's mighty exhausting. And feels a little depressing.

So instead, I make all the things. Usually after 9 p.m.

Now that I got that off my chest, I'm curious to hear how you deal with your unfulfilled creative potential/drive!

14 comments:

  1. I find that I have the opposite problem. I get so stressed about the amount of work I have to do (at home, on the blog, for my practice, for my sister's wedding) that I get panicky and then nothing gets done. I get stress sick. So instead of MAKING ALL THE THINGS, I SIT ON THE COUCH!

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  2. I know my way ends with more items crossed off the to-do list, but I envy your ability to just sit on the couch. It's like the only thing I can't do when I get stressed out is relax. Or even try to relax.

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  3. I am totally a stress baker. I don't know if you remember me posting on Manolo, but I baked six dozen cupcakes and six dozen cookies the night before and day of my wedding. Everyone kept telling me to "stop worrying about baking" but it was the only thing keeping me calm. I am currently one day shy of 38 weeks pregnant, and my nesting instinct is taking itself out on baked goods. My last day of work was yesterday, and my coworkers joked about going on the "Toni diet" while I'm out on maternity leave.

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    1. Oh my gosh, yes, I do remember that! Hey, at least with baking you end up with something you and other people can enjoy. And a little hit of sweet never hurts when you're feeling stressed. But nesting baking? That must be awesome!

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  4. I took a few months off from writing and just started up again last night. The Milk Man said, "we're the type of people who are like 'I've got nothing to read-- I'll just write something'" :)

    I'm currently trying to stick by a rule though: If I'm not done with project #1, I can't buy anything for project #2. It's HARD, I tend to move on and get bored. But it's helping me get things done :)

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    1. I'm dealing with that same thing - and I am also trying to finish what I start. I'm actually notoriously bad about that with writing projects...

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  5. I turn into a cranky pants when I'm stressed so that motivates me to get things done. I actually work better under pressure and find myself being more creative as a necessity

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    1. I am also like, give me a deadline! Knowing I only have so much time puts my tush in gear!

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  6. I love those pillows! I'm very lucky in that my 2 "vocations" (baking and gardening) mesh with my livelihood. There are no easy answers and I SO admire the fact that, after a long and tiring day, you manage to find (or MAKE) time for your own personal pursuits. :)

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  7. Oh - I love the new site design - so clean and much quicker to navigate!

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  8. Also love the new design! You sound like me...or I sound like you! I do the same exact thing...start creating when I get overwhelmed. We were renovating our house and I had a 2 year old and 6 month old when I decided it'd be a good idea to start an online resale shop. What?! My husband thought I was nuts, but I insisted. I needed an "outlet"...as if I didn't/don't have enough going on. We're crazy!

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  9. I DO THE SAME THING. Why else would my kitchen be freshly painted when I'm chest-deep in 18 credits of business degree, two kids, and a small business?

    But the thing is, the craft stuff, the painting, whatever... that's not, to me, work - it's stress relief, it's just that my stress relief is making things. I do take a nice relaxing bath now and then, or sit on the internet and yell at people, or watch a hockey game, but even if my kitchen is a mess of bicycles and dishes and food flung on the floor, I can be like "DAMN GIRL, THEM WALLS LOOK NICE." And that's why stress projects work.

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