Given a chance to plan out a new spinning project, I often look through my stash to be inspired, find something I’ve forgotten about and allow the creative juices to flow. I think about the wheel or spindle I want to use for the project. I dream about the finished yarn and knitted fabric. Usually, I start searching patterns on Ravelry to match my thoughts to the yarn, which informs what fibre I will ultimately choose. But sometimes fear sets in. Sometimes I’m afraid of the process. Sometimes I worry about the yarn and knitted project. It’s a natural, normal response to embarking on something new or unknown.
What if the project fails? What if the yarn is terrible? What if I don’t like the knitted object and never wear it? What if it’s so ugly, I don’t want to share it with you guys?
This is usually how I know that I am on to something.
This is how I know that a project is going to be something new. Inspired. Different. These thoughts and ideas that run through my head are really important because it means there are warning signs flashing, saying Uh-oh! This is new! I don’t like this! We should run away! To which I am able to say, Yes. This is new. I hear you.
By acknowledging the thoughts and inherent fear, I am able to move on. Move into the project, fear and all. How else do we move forward? How else do we know we are going somewhere new?
I don’t love this uncomfortable feeling that comes with being truly inspired by a new project. It’s scary and uncomfortable! But the more I am able to ease into it – be okay with not feeling particularly comfortable all the time – the more I am able to see that there are really cool things happening out there in our community. Some really inspiring people are doing some really inspiring things that in turn get me thinking and chatting which in turn (hopefully) gets you thinking and chatting. And we aren’t necessarily talking to each other. We might be talking to new people, which draws in more new ideas and inspiration. And so, our community grows. Isn’t that neat? I think so.
The fear that I’m talking about isn’t a fear of failure per se. I am aware that many of the things I try might not work out and may be fit for the compost pile. And funnily enough, I’m actually totally okay with that – more than okay with that – but I didn’t used to be. In the past, I was very worried about the possibility that something might be ruined or wrecked. I worried that it might reflect badly on me as a person but in fact, there is no other way to learn and grow but through my mistakes or failures. That unintentional thick and thin starts to become more consistent. The uneven, clunky long draw begins to become rhythmic and meditative. Those little, indeed tiny, failures that happen along the way are profound learning experiences. I just have to be okay with the fear of the fear of failure – that the fear in and of itself is uncomfortable when in reality, there’s nothing to be afraid of when I embark on a new project. The reality (that my brain doesn’t take into consideration because of the pre-historic amygdala, the part of the brain responsible for saving us from saber toothed tigers) is that the project will work out because it is not over until it works out. There is no true failure. Ever. And that has revolutionized my creating these past two years.
How do you deal or cope with fear in your creative journey?