I realized I was in trouble when the folks who run craftgawker.com and foodgawker.com rejected my first photo submissions. Somehow that ‘professional opinion’ knocked me to my creative knees, in spite of all of the lovely compliments and encouragement during the lifetime of this blog. As painful as it was to have my composition criticized and deemed unacceptable for craft- and foodgawker’s reader base, the experience has also launched my thoughts about the why’s and what for’s of my little handmade corner of the world and catapulted me into new territory. I am now convinced that I needed this shake-up, that I was drifting in complacency, not to mention low productivity.
Do you know that in-between state, somewhere before you are fully awake but still tethered to your dreams? This morning, as I was slipping into consciousness, a voice said, “You’re not spending (enough) time with your own crafting/making/creating — stop browsing (and admiring, to be honest) everyone else’s work and focus on your own!” Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. (Could the amazing Elsita do what she does while frittering away time on the ‘net? Don’t think so.)
Once again I was reminded of Julia Cameron‘s advice to suspend recreational reading (for at least a week) so as to facilitate focus on one’s own work. (Not so different than suspending access to electronic devices in the classroom, which was a discussion topic at school this week.) Now, I love to browse the web sites and flickr photostreams of other artists and crafters. I love connecting with creative types all over the world, commenting on their blogs and photos, cheering them on and feeling a zing! of inspiration and the thrill of conversation when they respond in kind. But I have to wonder if this pattern of mine has become like starting and finishing a meal with dessert, and has left scant room for the basics, that is, time with me-myself-and-I.
Finding a balance between feeding my curiosity about what everyone else is up to and tending to my own endeavors is my new priority. Funny how ‘balance’ seems to pop back up, time and again. I wrote about it four years ago, and here I am again.
Do you find your own creative juices compromised by too much time web surfing? Does your inner artist ever feel soggy, saturated, and overwhelmed? Have you considered a social media detox? I’m putting myself on a social media diet. No time constraints, but until I make progress on that list of unfinished projects.