run run as fast as you can

I’ve been thinking about about starts and finishes a lot since our last podcast episode. On Monday, I wrote a post over on my personal blog, trying to pick apart exactly how and why my process changed from chronic procrastinator to enthusiastic finisher. I thought I’d gotten it nailed down. Then I shared it to my stories, and Car slid on into my DMs. “I know why you finish things now. You’re trying to outrun the plague.”

Boom.

All the analysis and introspection comes down to one thing. I work best under pressure, be it time pressure or emotional pressure. Give me a deadline and I’ll smash out a project. Give me a spiral of emotional overload and I will craft myself silly in the pursuit of calm. To say the last two years have been unsettled would be an understatement. Of course I turn to creative projects to ground myself, to keep the days ticking forward, to have some sense of progress when everything else around me feels like Groundhog Day.

This week has been a burst of manic energy as I nurse sick children, stuck at home. I’ve read three books, stitched a gnome and a half, sewn a project bag, blogged, vlogged, podcasted. Run run after fast as you can, the plague can’t catch me I’m the obsessive crafter… that’s how the fairytale goes, isn’t it?

In the first year of the pandemic, after everything shut down, there were lots of meme about how if you didn’t get XYZ you’d always dreamed of done, you didn’t have a time problem, you had a work ethic problem. There was a push, in certain quarters, to make lockdown “productive”. Maybe I internalised some of that discourse, and that’s what kickstarted the change?

In 2022, I’ve started slipping into bad habits again. I’ve found myself with projects hovering in various stages and minimal progress. Slowly, though, I’ve managed to rein it in, and bring back those lessons and changes of the last two years, and consolidate my new habits and processes. Like any change, it’s messy and a constant process. It says how much I’ve grown though, that I get more of a kick from being able to plan and work towards a finish, than ignoring my to-do list in favour of yet another start. Today, it’s yet another gnome…pass the embroidery hoop.

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