Monday, December 9, 2013

18 Ways To Motivate Yourself in Quilting

First, here's my work so far on Bonnie Hunter's mystery quilt, Clue #2:
One chevron piece made, 243 to go!

I get emails from Pastor Rick Warren (of Purpose Driven Life fame) and read a recent article he wrote about 18 ways to Motivate Yourself in Ministry.  I thought his list could be easily adapted to quilters, and here's his list, shamelessly plagiarized and adapted for quilters by me:

1. Put your plans on paper (or screen).  If you write it down, it becomes clear, and not so vague.  Make a list of what your projects are and plan how you are going to complete them. 

2.  Break big tasks into smaller tasks to remove excuses for not starting.  Can you imagine how many of us would do Bonnie Hunter's quilts if she gave us all the instructions at once?  Remember, eating an elephant is done one bite at a time.  And Bonnie Hunter's mystery quilts are done one clue at a time!

3.  Decide how you want to start.  Decide what your simple first step will be.  When I break a quilt down into simple steps, it becomes more real to me.

4.  Establish checkpoints in your progress.  Bonnie Hunter's mystery quilts are so much fun because she has checkpoints built in for us with the Monday link ups.  It motivates me to get something done, so I can join in with the linkup.

5.  Know the difference between "I can't" and "I don't want to."  Most of what's done in the world is done by people who don't feel like doing what they're doing, but they do it anyway.  A lot of quilters don't like part of the process, be it finishing the binding, or cutting the fabric.  Successful quilters have developed the habit of doing things unsuccessful quilters don't feel like doing.

6.  Remind yourself of the benefits of completing the job.  There is nothing like the joyful happy dance I feel like doing when a quilt is completely finished!  It helps sometimes to remind myself of what I will feel like when the quilt is done.

7.  Do a small part of it right now.  Even if you don't want to start it, just give it five minutes.  Often the "just five minutes" turns into a good amount of a project completed, as I lose track of time, and become immersed in a quilt.  Sometime if you don't feel like starting, you just have to start, and the momentum will happen.  I have an old sand timer that I turn over, and often quilt for just the time it takes for the sand to run through it, but often look up and the sand has long been settled into the bottom end, and I'm still going strong.

8.  Be optimistic.  The old saying is so true:  The person who says "I can't" and the person who says "I can" are both correct.

9.  Establish an action environment.  If you work better in a tidy quilt room, clean it up before and after your quilting session.  I work better in a "nesting" environment, with a lot of fabric and books around me, and it is best if I leave the work area just as I like it, and close the door behind me when I leave it.  

10.  Avoid places where distractions occur. I can't quilt while watching TV, so I have a radio and CD player, and a stack of old CDs to listen to.  When I go to a retreat, I take a simple project with little chances of error, because I am an "accountant type", who likes to concentrate on the work at hand.  This last retreat I attended, I worked on nine patches, and that was plenty for my little brain.  

11.  Know your energy patterns and take advantage of your peak times.  I'm a morning person generally, but occasionally I'll come home from an evening event where I've had too much caffeine, and I will have a late night sewing session.  You know when you are most productive, and it helps to quilt when the energy and brain are functioning best.

12.  Use the stimulation of good news to do extra work.  Sometimes someone will comment on my blog, or say something to me in person that will make me think in a new way about a project, and it stimulates me even more.  I try to give comments on other people's blogs when I see their work because I want to see more great things from them.

13.  Recognize when indecision is causing inertia. A lot of procrastination is not really procrastination - it's indecision.  Pastor Rick Warren is so right on this one!  He says identify your choices and choose one.  Don't let it sit around.  In quilting, I have to remember to make a fabric choice decision and move on.  

14.  Use visible reminders. I'm a very visual person, and my design wall motivates me to finish the project I'm working on.   If you are a visual person, put a note up in your quilt room to help you forge on to the finish line.  Here's a sticker I got from Brenda Padadikus, which is going up in my quilt room:

15.  Give yourself room to make mistakes.  Perfectionism produces procrastination.  Pastor Rick Warren says, If it's worth doing, do it!  As the Dear Jane motto above says, "Finished is Better than Perfect."  I fight perfectionism constantly.

16.  Don't set goals you don't expect to reach.  That's because there's no motivation in them.  This is one that I'm pondering.  I need to analyze at the start of a quilt (at purchase point in the store) whether there is really motivation within me to complete it.  

17.  Enlist a partner. The Dear Jane group I just joined in Virginia is a great motivator for me.  I complete some squares each month before we meet again.  It is fun to meet with the group and see what the other's squares look like, and talk with them about the problems we encounter on the journey.

18.  Keep reading to increase your skill.  This is one that really motivates me.  I read and study quilt books and look online at blogs to increase my skill set.  I love to learn new quilting skills, and I thank everyone that blogs for sharing their knowledge with me.

Does this list help you?  I am going to concentrate on 13, 15 and 16.  I printed out the entire list, and have it pinned up in my quilt room. 

I'm linking up with Design Wall Mondays over at Patchwork Times, Judy Laquidara's blog, (Here) and the Week 2 linkup over at Bonnie Hunter's blog for the Celtic Solstice mystery (Here)  I will be taking breaks from quilting today to look at everyone's pictures of their progress this week.  Happy quilting ladies!


kelltrek said...

Great ideas! Good luck on the mystery!

JoAnne said...

Great post! On a semi-related note, I was at a party last night and in the conversation, one of the people said he had eaten elephant. Okay, it isn't related much at all, I just thought of it when you used the expression about eating an elephant one bite at a time, lol.

Julierose said...

I think your 18 ways are terrific. I totally agreewith the "indecision" especially; right or wrong--jump in I guess--after all, it's only fabric and you CAN rip it out (LOL) hugs, Julierose

Pieces of Time said...

Thanks for the inspirations.
Jane in KS

slrquilts said...

This is the best blog post ever. I am going to print it out and post it in my sewing room. Thanks!

whimsical mama said...

I think I need to establish an action environment lol! Great little list! :)

Sandy said...

Oh, that #13 is a devil, isn't it? I can't tell you how many times I've chosen the wrong fabric, only to rip it out and replace it. I even replaced the back of a quilt once, after I'd quilted it!

Great list, I will definitely be printing it out. Thanks!

traditional_quilter said...

Great list Judy!I like your fabrics you are using. Have a great day. I have to get back to sewing. I have 77 more chevrons left to sew. I am doing the small quilt and will link up before Thursday. Have a great day.

Alycia~Quiltygirl said...

That is a GREAT list - and yes - it did help. I am good at writing things down.... but then I forget to look at the list... hmmm Love your colors too!

Unknown said...

What a really enlightening list...I will definitely print it out.....for me I would have to say the perfectionism is my bugbear, but I am working through it :) Thank you for sharing

Dar said...

Great reminders. I am going to print it out so I can visually refer to it and not rely on my memory. lol So many of these hit home with me. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. Your colors are great and those 2" strips are diminishing in the drawers. Back to clue2

Unknown said...

Love your motivation speech. especially the Dear Jane. I have been needing this. Have been quilting for 50 years and never had any trouble figuring out patterns. Never Bonnies . But these chevrons got me. I think my 83 year old mind is going before the rest of me. The Facebook section for us has been a big help. Eileen in Western Maryland

Anonymous said...

I like this and read several of them to my 13 (going on 40) year old daughter. Those teen hormones really get the better of her some days....

Anonymous said...

I love your list. Good points all around. I, too, love reading quilt books and blogs and honing my skills! Thanks for sharing. June

Lori said...

Love Pastor Rick Warren but never would have translated anything he said to quilting. LOL

Wilma said...

Thank you for this list, I need to work on a lot of these.

jessica ross said...

This is too good article about motivation.
"Discover You"