February was a bit of a damp month, both figuratively and literally. I found myself working only on bits and pieces; whilst I enjoy working on bits and pieces, I can’t say I enjoy having only worked on bits and pieces. I also enjoy both saying and typing ‘bits and pieces’.
Last month, I spoke about writing a short series of posts on my personal blog for LGBT History Month. I started, but I didn’t finish. I’m disappointed that I didn’t manage this, but am aware that this was the result of personal and professional circumstances with higher priorities, rather than a ‘simple’ case of poor planning, or having failed to prepare the material for publication beforehand. In addition, if I’d rushed myself to make sure I was publishing content on a schedule just to meet a deadline, I’d be dissatisfied. I want to make sure that everything I publish, no matter the platform, is considered and diligent and, on occasion, this means it must sometimes be postponed. Part of me thinks that this attitude wouldn’t suit an ‘industry employment’; part of me thinks this attitude should be the standard for the industry, and is essential to dissolve/dismantle the reactionary ‘churnalism’ culture.
At the time of writing this, I still have four outstanding LGBT History Month posts to write. I’ll aim to get them up this month, something I do before I set to work writing about other ideas that have occurred to me for my personal blog. It may seem odd, but I dislike interrupting a series of posts with something that stands alone. I know that’s something for me to work through, because it’s unnecessary and impractical, but… It just makes everything look so untidy.
As for The Five to Nine, I didn’t publish anything here last month aside from my January metablog post. I’ve seven unfinished draft posts in a folder, each of them close to being finished, but lacking something that makes them feel so to me. Perhaps this desire for what I produce to be perfect – this requirement I make of it – is the problem. Should I aim for this, or settle for ‘just good enough’, so that I am putting my thoughts and feelings out there? It’s peculiar: This is something of an obsession with my personal efforts only, and I don’t have much difficulty in finishing posts for the blogs of my collaborative endeavours to a standard I consider sufficiently high. I published posts on both Croshare and The Portsmouth and Southsea Consortium in February, and wouldn’t change a word of either. That’s not to say that I consider these efforts less deserving of effort than my own; it’s simply that I find it easier to write for my collaborative projects – the ones that aren’t exclusively ‘me’.
I also find it easier to write single pieces for other people – a piece I wrote for Seeded’s Wellbeing With Wool series on how crochet and knitting enables me to become part of different communities was also published in February – I enjoyed writing that piece, as it gave me a reason to think back on all the relationships that I’d formed thanks to a couple of my creative practices; This has led me to consider the impact of current relationships with my creative practices, and I can feel other ideas brewing that go in wildly different directions.
Talking about my ‘practical’, ‘making’ projects – I didn’t finish any last month, and I didn’t work on any existing ones. I started new ones, eager for the thrill of a first stitch and using a new material. I got caught up in a couple of embroidery projects, taking a different direction to the knitting and crochet that sit in my WIP pile, and ploughed ahead with those – but, once again, I’ve come to the point where I want to start something new. There really is something about the thrill of a new project, and working with a different skill, or a skill in a different way, or a new method or tool that really gets me going, and that really enables me to enjoy the process of making – but only up to a point.
I see a parallel here with my draft posts in a folder. I know I enjoy the process more than the product, but I can’t leave a legacy (ha) of half-finished bits and pieces dotted around the place. This said, every time I try to force myself to finish something, to focus on one thing and one thing only, it backfires, and I end up pushing myself further away from the work I set out to do. I’d like to find out more about how common this is amongst creative practitioners, where it comes from and, perhaps most importantly, how to get through it.
I know I’m capable of more than a ‘simple’ review of my previous month’s creative activities and ‘update’ posts for my collaborative efforts, but this ‘more’ is something I rarely seem able to accomplish. I hope I take, at least, a step in the right direction in March.