Thursday, February 16, 2012

too much Inspiration?

The last thing I want to convince you of is that you don't want more inspiration.  I mean, what do I as a blogger hope to offer but exactly that?  And yet, I want to think aloud today about this problem...the problem of too much inspiration.

a Little Bit Biased

Maybe you know exactly what I'm talking about, but maybe you don't.  Maybe you're thinking... How can you have too much inspiration?  How much is too much, is not the point.  That's up to you.  But haven't you ever hit a point where you wish you'd stop surfing Pinterest, stop reading about your friend's gorgeous projects and go ahead an make your own already?  Or, even... even... stop thinking of the new fabulous projects you've dreamed up and remember instead the reasons why you started what you already have going?

turquoise dresser and patchwork
by Hidden in France, via Maureen

 This happens to me.  Regularly.  And yet, on the other hand, I'm tremendously grateful for the inspiration I receive daily, freely bestowed by both friends and the unknown creators through Flickr, Pinterest and blogland.  I would never walk away from all that!  Sheesh, enjoying beauty is a reward in and of itself.  And viewing others creations influences my own in ways that are personally fulfilling.   Sometimes when I can't sew, spending time in these places is a way of "investing" in sewing moments to come.

PTS7 in progress!
Blue Elephant Stitches

I have heard of a few approaches to solving this problem...

1) Taking a break.   That is, abstaining from reading blogs, Flickr, Pinterest, etc. for an amount of time to create mental space.  Sometimes bloggers will post a little notice on their blog to let their readers know they'll be back later.  Personally, I can't imagine wanting to take a long break, like a month.  Even a week seems like a stretch.  And there lies the rub... we want it.  And we need a break.  But we want it!  It's like my relationship to leftover birthday cake.  Taking a break is not something I've really tried.  Have you?

2) Limiting the flow.  This can present itself as only being active in one or two platforms (as in... I don't "do" Facebook).  It manifests in that desire to trim down your blog reader or only follow a few boards in someone's Pinterest stream.  So far, this has been my approach.  It's really hard to do.  I'll look through my reader and try to evaluate rationally... does this artist inspire me?  what do I gain from being there?  are we friends?  do I feel good when I visit?  It's terribly hard to eliminate something because it feels like "someone".  But, it's not.  I mean, not following someone's blog is not unfriending them.  It's saying that I don't need to do this every day.  What if I visit once a month or whenever their Flickr feed calls to me?  (Sometimes that works very well for me.  And... oftentimes I end up re-subscribing.)  I simply cannot follow every blog that I would like to.  There would be no time left to live!  Which is exactly the problem of too much inspiration.  I limit the size of my wardrobe by the the size of my closet.  Maybe I should limit my reader by a particular number of blogs?

3)  Limiting time.  As in, I can only spend 30 minutes browsing and then I'm off to the sewing machine!  Does anyone do this?  That seems so rational, so simple.  Gosh, I don't do that.  I'm one of those people that likes to empty my reader every few days, regularly surf Flickr pools of interest and keep up with "recent activity" on Flickr.  Limiting time gets right to the point.  It seems like it would force you to prioritize those resources that are most valuable to you since you would know you would miss them if you dally. 

4) Cold turkey.  Every once in a while I hear of someone who has pushed back... like all the way.  They're trying not to be inspired by others, so that they can find their own voice.  They're spending time in nature or looking at non-sewing inspiration in hopes of developing more original ideas.  Or, they've just plain decided that making without social media is more fun.. without those feelings of comparison or the constant interruptions of new ideas.  Hmm.

Robert Kaufman/Kona via Katie

If reading over these ideas leaves you with a panicky feeling, you might like to know that I feel the seam fears:

*I'll miss some fabulous ideas!
*My friends will be hurt.
*I will miss my friends!
*My readers will stop visiting.
*Maybe I won't come back.

Ok, except for that last one.  I know I'll come back (um, I'll not leave in the first place).  But, I have a feeling that some folks worry they'll drop off blogging altogether if they lose their rhythm.  The thing is there are also some fears involved with giving in to too much inspiration:

*I won't make anything original.  Who am I, anyways?
*I won't finish things I've started.  There are always new, inspiring ideas.
*I will always feel "not good enough".  After all, 8 of my friends finished gorgeous projects today.
*I'll be so busy absorbing that I won't be living.  Creating is where I want to be.

Where the Orchids Grow

Anyone still listening?  I confess this stuff has been on my mind lately, especially since I've been mutlitasking between Curves Class creation and my "regular" stuff.  It's just been a lot of projects floating around in my mind.  Even though I keep finishing things, I have so many exciting ideas in my head that I cannot see my way to starting anytime soon... which is incredible frustrating.  I need to take a chill pill.  Then I came across Diana's article today at CraftyPod and knew it was time to pause and think.

How do you manage all this inspiration?  Is it good for you?  Do you feel fulfilled in your creativity as a quilter or sewist or do you feel overwhelmed most of the time?  Is your relationship to social media healthy?  And, do tell me, how (if at all) we bloggers add to the problem.  Do you wish we'd just make a quilt, instead of leading a quilt-along along with it?  Do you wish I posted less often than 5 days a week? 

I want to hear the good and the bad, just keep out the ugly (naming names) so no one gets hurt!

p.s.  these images are all from my Pinterest boards.  Don't go look if you already have too much inspiration!

94 comments:

  1. I definitely suffer from "not good enough" syndrome. I am my harshest critic. I'm trying to work on giving myself space to learn. I'm not very patient...and I'm a perfectionist. Not always the best combo. My fiance is great at reminding me what I'm good at, praising me for stretching out of my comfort zone and pulling me back to the earth when I get too hard on myself. That said, I love seeing what others are doing and giving myself something to strive for.

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  2. I definitely have a problem feeling overwhelmed by inspiration. I've got about a million ideas in my head, and I'm trying to keep a list for those times when I'm feeling stuck. But for really the first time the past year has got me caught up in multiple unfinished projects. I can't tell you how unlike me that is, so the first order of business is to get some of these half done projects done. I'm still throwing in new stuff... but trying to keep those small for those days when you just need gratification instantly.

    I'm starting to ignore my social media accounts more. As fun as Pinterest was in the beginning, now it just seems like I'm scrolling through garbage. I've definitely unfollowed several boards, but there still remain some that I think "well what if she posts something awesome and I miss it?" So now I'm pinning stuff that I want to keep track of, and spending a lot less time looking at stuff other people have pinned. Sure, I take a quick scroll through the boards I follow, but really no more than a minute or two.

    I've never been big into flickr until recently, but even so I'm trying to step back and not check all that recent activity and 8 ga-gillion groups. It's just too much. Same for Twitter and Facebook.

    It's so easy to get caught up in a mind set that you think to market yourself you have to be everywhere at once. I think I've realized in the last few weeks that I probably will never be a big time blogger (I'm not sure I was striving for that anyway, but somehow got caught up in the hoopla). I do, however, want to get away from my day job and more toward the creative stuff I enjoy so much more. So for now, I've decided to focus my efforts elsewhere. Like pattern writing, and fabric design. I think those things fit my introverted personality better anyway. Oh sure, I still blog. I'm trying for a couple of times per week, but my posts have been so bland lately. I go back and look at some stuff from 2007-8 and it's SO much more fun. Lots of humor and sarcasm. So I want to get back there instead of "I made this, and this is how I did it and I think I really like it".

    Ok, so that's a ton of rambling, but you asked. ;)

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    1. How lovely to meet the face behind your Courthouse Step blocks. Your website is very pretty. You said, "So now I'm pinning stuff that I want to keep track of, and spending a lot less time looking at stuff other people have pinned." I'm more like that as well. I think of Pinterest as a way of keeping track of things I see, more than as a social outlet. I do find lovely things there that others have pinned, but I definitely don't try to keep up with the stream!!!

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  3. Umm... YES! To everything you just said. I am completely over-inspired. I spend more time looking at other people's things than doing my own, & that stinks. I also feel not-good-enough once in a while because I can't keep up with all these amazing people, & that stinks. I LOVE LOVE seeing so many beautiful works of art out there & don't want to stop, but I have been thinking about limiting myself to reading blogs/pinterest/flickr at certain time of day, like give myself 15 minutes in the morning & an hour once my kids go to bed or something. That might work. I just get so sucked in! I would have to set a timer! :) I feel like it is really hard to find my own voice after seeing everyone else's work.

    I don't need to hear from a blogger every day to keep coming back. That can actually get a little monotonous, or overwhelming because if they have something to post about EVERY DAY, I feel like I'm failing, because there is just no way I can post everyday. However, if you have something worth posting about every day, go for it!

    I will be looking at my online habits & giving some serious thought on how I can feel better about the inspiration I'm taking in.

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    1. Thanks for sharing that hearing from a blogger every day is not important to you. If you find yourself feeling like "less" because you don't post everyday, keep in mind that there's such a difference between a hobby and a job. I prioritize posting because making Stitched in Color a success is critical to my family. It's a whole different way to approach it! Kind of apple to oranges, maybe?

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  4. I have come to this same realization lately - - I notice that I am spending so much time looking and not enough time making. I think for me, there are so many easy excuses to use to support surfing the web for inspiration and the excuses are legit ... it's when it becomes overkill. Like you said - how much is too much?? Plus, it takes a lot less physical and mental energy to look online than it does to actually get out something and sew. Reading other people's blog posts is nice b/c they are organized, finished projects ... it can be frustrating when you are in a rut/doing something hard/mundane (aka quilt binding, for me is boring!). It's not always easy to enjoy the process. Since realizing this, I have been trying to limit my time - that seems to be best for me. Sometimes I feel like if I look for more than 1/2 hour, I'm not longer getting anything positive of the experience ... it's almost becomes compulsive - must read more, must check more pictures - rather than enjoyable and inspirational. Like you said, I feel bad when I stop following blogs, so what I decided works for me is to create a list in my reader for "top daily reads" and I make sure to keep that blog list very short. I LOVE that I am taking your curves class - it was a way for me to jump in and get stuff done, connect w/people over sewing, and post to my blog again. I like QAL and all the free tutorials - heck that is how I learned to sew. But, paying for a class was nice b/c it helps me feel more committed, organized, and the time pressure helps, too. =)

    Thanks for posting Rachel.

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    1. "paying for a class was nice b/c it helps me feel more committed, organized, and the time pressure helps, too." I'll admit that as a blogger it's scary to step out from behind free content (tutorials, QAL's) to offer paid content in the way of a class. It's SO nice to hear that paying for it actually confers some benefit to you as well.

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  5. Awesome post, Rachel. I can relate to this so well and some days, I struggle to balance it all out. For all the reasons you give above. Sometimes it is all too much and can leave me feeling like I'm not doing enough, am not creative enough, etc. But I think I'm finding my way. I choose not to be a part of everything out there, because truly, there is not enough time for it all and bottom line... I want to be creating myself. I do appreciate all the inspiration out there, but I make sure I do take time to step back from time to time. To me, inspiration is important but so is being selective. Time is finite and I want to make the most of what time I have.

    Thanks for your thoughtful and insightful post.

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  6. Your posts like this are always so timely! I was just thinking about paring down the number of blogs I follow (I think the switch from Goolge Friend Connect to whatever is next might help me out...). Also, trying to only check FB once or twice a day.

    I love that you can organize and 'archive' things on Pinterest...its like a electronic filing cabinet :) However, I did notice the overload feeling when I first started looking at all the pins...now I usually just pin the things I see and like while purusing my blog list. If I need some veg-out time...I'll go surf other peoples pins! or if I'm looking for something specific.

    I wanted to comment on the quilt-along thing...it does seem a little excessive at times. I can't always keep the time line set forth, so then I feel left out, or really slow, or why does everyone else seem to have ALL kinds of time to sew...blah, blah, blah! So, I just kind of stay out of quilt-alongs and swaps so I don't feel out of the loop. I'd much prefer a tutorial that I can 'pin' and go back to when I'm ready to work on it.

    I love your post and enjoy hearing from you 5 days a week...I, however, am a little more boring, so I only subject my followers to a couple times a week ;)

    Thank you for making us think about our crafty time management...now I'm going to go work on my Clamshell project :)

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  7. And I thought I was the only one who felt this way..! Ultimately, I have come to the conclusion that as long as I do not put expectations on myself as far as the amount of projects I actually start and finish, I am free to enjoy as much inspiration as I can get my hands on daily. It is when I start feeling overwhelmed and disappointed in myself, and/or my creative work, that I need to give myself a reality check. This philosophy has been working so far. Thank you so much for this and all of your posts, quilt alongs, etc.

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  8. Love this post. I often feel like I want to abandon blogging for this reason, but I would miss the people I've become friends with. And I would miss looking back and seeing my own growth thru the blog. One thing I've done is not join Pinterest, which I'm sticking with and glad about it. Flickr is enough visual stimulation for me right now. I'm a horrible blogger right now and most of all horrible blog reader, which is the part I feel bad about.

    I am starting to ramble, so I'll just say that I'm a BIG fan of getting away from all of it, if even for a couple days. It bothers me when everything on blogs starts to look the same and then my stuff does too. I think the inspiration we give each other here would benefit greatly if everyone got away semi regularly, took inspiration from other sources, then brought it back here to make things richer.

    This makes me think of the episode of South Park (weird reference, I know) when Stan's dad becomes addicted to the Food Network and watches it like it's porn. It's like that... TURN OFF THE QUILT PORN AND GO MAKE SOME REAL QUILT LOVE YOURSELF! :)

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    1. One thing I am considering is having a social media-free weekend. Just that little habit would probably be healthy.

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  9. I so get everything you're saying. I think without realising I spend too much time online that could be spent making. Sometimes it's just easier to pin on Pinterest than it is go and make something. I also realised earlier that I pin stuff on Pinterest and I wonder if I'll ever go back and refer to half of it again. It's like I have some sort of OCD collecting via Internet mediums lol. I also find that sometimes I get overwhelmed by everyone's talent and it can feel like anything I blog about or make by comparison to my awesome blogging friends is going to be rubbish...not to mention other people seem to be a lot more prolific than me right now!

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  10. When I first started reading your post, I felt like yelling YES - because, indeed, I do feel like there can be too much inspiration. It's overwhelming at times and causes a little bit of project ADD. Having said that, I wouldn't want to "unfollow" someone's blog or limit the number of blogs I follow because 1) most people don't post every day; 2) I don't have to read every blog I follow every day; and 3) I actually do think it's mean to "unfollow" a blog and it does feel like "unfriending" in a way. I noticed my # of blog followers went down (by 1 or 2) and, silly as it sounds, I felt a bit let down. WHY would they unfollow me? Aren't my posts interesting, my projects inspiring? Of course, I know the reality - this is not supposed to be a competition for followers or to see who has the prettiest quilt; it's supposed to be a sounding board, a way to connect with like-minded people...but still...
    I think it's all about how you *choose* to spend your time. Everybody needs a break now and then. I've had to limit my time on Pinterest (and after a while it gets a bit boring anyway) and sometimes I just look at the pictures on blogs or stay away completely for a couple of days, which is not hard when I get really busy at work. Like you, I have projects that I should finish before my eyes alight on something newer and more shiny ;-)

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    1. I have to say that I'm a bit obsessive about follower numbers too but I have unfollowed a couple of people because I just wasn't getting anything from their blogs anymore, I'd been skimming over their posts for quite a long time and realised that it wasn't doing me or them any favours. So when it happened to me recently - my followers dropped by one, it still bummed me out. But you know what, the next day I posted something that got noticed and I made 22 new followers over the following couple of weeks!

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  11. I hear you loud & clear, and for a while I was beating myself up about spending too much time online looking at beautiful things instead of making them. Then I realized: I have two toddlers, who I am only away from for 2 days of 3 hour pre-school, my husband travels all week, I work out every day, I don't really watch tv, and gosh darn it, sometimes I am just tired! I gave myself a break, looking at blogs, flickr, pinterest is my way to relax a little and some evenings I am just too worn out to go make things, so I am just going with that rationale for now! If pinterest, flickr & google reader weren't there, I'd probably be playing tetris or something equally as wasteful...
    Which reminds me, I was watching Bill Maher & he was saying the same thing about Facebook - that critcs were saying it's a time suck & he pointed out that was exactly what people said about the telephone when he was a teenager, there is always something, people need a little timewaster!

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    1. Haha, great reminder! Sometimes relaxing is exactly the point, so why not do it here. In this post though I'm trying to get at that feeling of "too much" where you actually personally decide it's too much but you struggle with how to bring things back into balance. The location of "too much" differs for all of us and differs from day to day... but when you get there in what way do you "turn it off"?

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  12. About a year ago I seriously edited the list of blogs I follow and removed all the ones I didn't enjoy anymore, especially the ones that only show the good, perfect parts of life. I found that I'd come away from blog reading feeling like a total failure because my sewing/baking/house/marriage/etc. didn't live up to the (completely unrealistic!) pictures painted by some bloggers. Eliminating those blogs from my life was SUCH a good idea.

    As for Pinterest, I LOVE it, but only as a way to organize the ideas I want to remember. I've gotten SO much better about actually trying the ideas I find online (esp. recipes) now that there is a really easy, visual way to glance through them. I know several people who use Pinterest exclusively to repin things from others, and it drives me crazy - I feel like they're missing the whole point!

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  13. I certainly get inspiration overload, but I think it helps me that I am so by the book. I see a quilt and want to make that exact quilt same material and everything. I know I can't do everything (I just started quilting not that long ago, I don't have the time, 2 small children, and not enough $ to buy fabric every day. I have to edit.)

    I do use pinterest, but I'm not addicted to it like several of my friends are. I'm not the Susie homemaker type. I don't do fancy art projects for the walls or anything like that. I find myself just drawn to quilting stuff. I'm sure once both girls are in school, I may have more time to be able to work on projects, but right now, that's not happening. I don't really do much with flickr. I'd rather see things with a "this is the pattern I used" or "here's a tutorial" since if I want to make it, I pretty much need a step by step anyway. (Newbie)

    I personally like hearing from you everyday. There are blogs that I stop by and it's the same thing from November. I'll stop visiting the blog and as soon as I stop, the blogger will get back on with some great giveaway or swap and I'll totally miss it. Oh well. I set priorities for which blogs I look at. I make sure to hit the ones that I know post every day or every couple of days first. The ones that I know haven't been on a lot get put until I have extra down time.

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  14. I love reading other peoples blogs, but I do spend too many hours doing it, I check my follower numbers and my stats like its a competition and feel down because I dont blog and sew enough.
    Its all rather silly, I should pull myself together and put it all into perspective and sew instead because thats my favourite thing to do!

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  15. I have done all of the above except cold turkey, hahaha. I've taken blogging and blog reading breaks. I don't do facebook. I don't try to follow every blog out there, just my friends and a few people (like you and AMH) who really inspire me. It seems to work, though occasionally I still get bogged down with too many ideas and have to take a step back again. That's just life I guess.

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  16. Yesyesyes. I use pinterest to organize. If stopped following everyone following me...too much! As for twitter.. I have it but don't get much from it other than finding new blogs. Fb is for my friends to read my links since most don't blog. I love to blog. I would go insane if I couldn't get the ramblings in my head out! I love the back and forth with followers. I completely get intimidated by big blogs like yours. My blog is all over the place.
    I am limiting media time. It is part of a blog post I did about our family experiment! I am now limiting the time I am actually in front of a computer screen!

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  17. It is overwhelming sometimes, I hear you!
    I take breaks away from the computer regularly, if I start feeling too inadequate or not original enough (what's up with that - seriously!!) I know it is time for a break. I turn the computer off for a day and just sew.
    I skim blog posts and Flickr Groups, I keep up with the headlines but not always with all the details.
    My resolution is to plan my own blog posts ahead of time. So far I have not really managed to follow through on that exactly, but I do have more draft posts that I just need to finish.

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  18. I know what you mean. I always get lost reading other blog posts, commenting, finding new tutorials and thinking ooo yes i'll bookmark this and save it for later. I get a little distracted from what I should be doing half the time when I'm blogging.

    I'm always I must update my blog then I look in my list and see all the posts I've missed from the time I haven't been online and just settle into reading. I give myself a time limit, but it never gets followed.

    I have however made some progress with saving tutorials to word sizing the pages down so I don't end up printing too many and making a few more templates ready to go.

    Next week I've said to myself I'll cut down on blogging and won't go online when I get in from work It'll be after dinner. Which will give me more time to start and finish some projects, though i'm still waiting for certain items to arrive.

    I've told myself I can't order anymore fabrics for the rest of the month, but I can go out to the shops and buy some =D. Charity shops here I come!.

    Also I'm holding a swap on my blog. If you're interested feel free to check it out =D
    http://ibescheraldine.blogspot.com/p/swap-time.html"

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    1. I'm a person who likes to focus intently on one thing. Your post made me realize that the lack of focus is what bothers me most. When new inspirations interrupt my planned or current projects I personally feel disrupted, unstable, unfulfilled. Nice to hear that click in my head! I need to push forward and let so many great ideas just roll off my back, like water off a duck.

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  19. What a great post, you've entirely nailed the problem and in fact this is why I think I'm holding back on writing my own blog, tho' Im also kind of hoping it will make me do something

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  20. I always go with the motto...everything in moderation. There are days when I spend a lot more time reading and exploring than working on my own stuff. Then there are days when I accomplish a lot. There has to be a happy medium, or there is no happiness at all. :) I post daily on my blog right now, but that is a choice I made at the beginning of the year with a specific project in mind. I'm not posting trying to make people feel bad, and I try to keep the posts short and sweet. I sure hope I'm not making people feel bad doing these blocks, I'm actually looking for support so that I can finish this project. :)

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  21. I just discovered your blog, and can't wait to read your older posts. My issue lately has been lack of inspiration, and I have been forcing myself to explore some new blogs to see if I can get my mojo back. Typically, I have several projects going on at once, and never hold back when it comes to starting a new one when inspired by a new idea. We moved a few months ago, and all my project boxes, scraps and most of my fabric is still packed up while I await a quilting studio to be completed. I have been in such a funk not to have my materials at hand. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post for another perspective, and also managed to get out of my blah mood and start up a Granny Square project!

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  22. first of all, i totally cracked up at jessica's comment! she is so fun! And, i really agree. sometimes i just have to step back and take some time off. i think i need to focus on being more consistent with my own blogging!

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  23. Everything you do inspires me! I love seeing new posts come up. Granted, I can't keep up with you or make each one of your projects, but you keep me wanting to step outside the box and do something new and exciting! I hope that one day my blog can inspire people the way yours does.

    I do agree though that having a constant battery of new ideas can interrupt my love for my current projects, but that is when I just choose to turn the computer off. I do love being able to read what you ladies write when I am experiencing creator's block and am so thrilled that you generously share with us. Thanks!

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  24. I feel your pain! Too much time surfing and not enough time stitching is quite a danger with me. Now that I'm also making the move to working from home, I'm having to put a lot of thought and effort into how I'm managing my time and staying productive...

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  25. i used to ruthlessly limit my links of blogs to 25 blogs. period! then i went crazy this winter and added in a bunch more. i don't have to read them every day, but i have to be able to click onto them when i want to and not go wasting tons of time tracking down some blog i vaguely remember the name of. i loved what you wrote about the new inspiration sometimes making you disgruntled/unhappy etc. about the current projects--it's so true sometimes. the best thing for me is to continue to believe in and finish whatever project it is i've started on so that i can bring all i've learned to the next project. sometimes new inspiration takes me careening off into left field but if i don't neglect my older projects completely, it all comes together somehow and i can see my growth as a quilter a little clearer.

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    1. I love this quote "the best thing for me is to continue to believe in and finish whatever project it is i've started on so that i can bring all i've learned to the next project." I think that's so true and so wise.

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  26. A-MEN, sister! I've only just started my blog, so I'm not feeling burdened by the need to post, but I can certainly relate to the feeling of having way more ideas than projects (thanks, Pinterest). After reading this post, I feel validated in my desire to unplug and get down to the business of making things. That's what I love in the first place! I didn't get into quilting just so I could look at what everyone else is doing (as fun as that is).

    If I start crafting as much as I surf the web, I'll be whipping up projects left and right. Stay tuned! Or... wait... you're unplugging too :)

    Thank you!

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  27. I struggle with this issue quite a bit. I love to keep up with what is new on blogs and Flickr (I throw in a little Facebook and Pinterest too), but it does take lots of time when I could be sewing. I go thru my reader periodically and unsubscribe to some blogs. If I don't, I end up trying to whip thru 50 blog posts a day and not really reading them well or commenting on anything since there is so much volume. Since this kind of defeats the purpose of following a blog, I have to eliminate some.

    And I totally agree about the frustration of having so many new projects in your head, but knowing you have too many current projects on your plate to pursue them.

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  28. When I started to sew again after a few years I stumbled on your blog looking for crayon roll ideas. I love your blog and admit to checking it everyday since. I then started looking at the blogs you follow and now I have a regular list that I read and find very inspiring. It is interesting though that I started to only look at particular projects I wanted to make such as pillow covers or crayon rolls. Then I started to look at bags which took me weeks to settle my thoughts and actually make something. Now I read blogs and have an ever growing list of "I would like to make that" and find that I am not actually doing it. So I agree that inspiration can be overwhelming and encourages the procrastinater in me but without these blogs I would not have had the courage to try to sew things I had not tried before. So I would like to say thanks for helping me have that courage, I love to sew, and I love all your ideas.

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  29. During the week I'm fine, but I have been known to sit on a Saturday catching up on some online things and then feeling an urge to just run away from the PC and just sew there and then before I get one more idea into my mind. I usually do it too. But then I'm back in front of the blogger dashboard by dinner time lol

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    1. I have the same feeling some weekends. It's like the more time I have, the more likely I am not to sew. That's why I think going offline on the weekends might be my best bet.

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  30. I often have a love-hate relationship with social media and blogging and trying to keep up with my blogging friends. I took a two-week break in December and it honestly felt great! I am a person who tends to want to sign up for all the QALs and then realize that I can't keep up with them, because really, who COULD keep up with everything? Same thing with your class. I'm a little behind (you probably noticed....) but between being sick and some kind of pressing family matters, I had to make a choice. I'm glad I signed up for the class, and I intend to try to catch up because even though I have quilted for a really long time, there is much to be learned about curves! So don't give up on me!

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    1. I'm not giving up on anyone! Thanks for sharing your experience with taking a break.

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  31. NO! Be just who you are because I cannot get enough inspiration! Besides, as long as I have a project in mind or in progress........I won't die......inside. :)

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  32. i thought this would generate some interesting discussion - so i saved it to read it later. indeed. i have been thinking about all of this. i am not going to be big time. i do like looking and learning - all of my interest in quilting came from reading blogs - really. almost everything i've learned or tried is from reading blogs or tips that work! i am hoping to balance all of this. interestingly bloomingpoppies just talked about this earlier today, too. more along the lines of blogging vs. family time. i just started blogging, but is it just to keep up?

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  33. I definitely know what you mean! I think you just get really overwhelmed with it all and lose the initiative to just dive in and start something! I have cut back on purchasing fabric and quilt magazines, will only buy books when they pertain to a new technique I am trying to get better at, or for my current situation, ideas on how to use up all of these scraps I have around! When I start digging into what I already have, I am often pleasantly surprised to find fabrics I had forgotten about and am eager to use them. I won't stop reading blogs and magazines, but I've learned to cut my time down. Trudy

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  34. i spend a lot of time doing/creating and really limit the amount of time i spent online - blogs/pinterest/flickr. i definitely feel information/inspiration overload when i spend too much time online. it's draining to me. i currently only follow four sewing blogs (yours included) so on some level, i feel like i am missing out on the *community* that comes from being active in the blogworld. that seems to come from following lots of blogs.

    there has to be a balance somewhere... right?!

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    1. It's true that there really is a great community that happens when you follow blogs and get to know each other. But, 1. Generally speaking you have to blog to make that happen and many people don't want to and 2. It certainly takes time. Some people (myself included) only have the online community when it comes to sewing friends, so the time is something I want to give. But I know others who are blessed to have in person guilds and sewing friends. That must be cool!

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  35. It seems like a lot of us feel the same way. I think I could easily go cold turkey from blogs (I don't really do Pinterest or Facebook, although I have an account for each). But I do really enjoy looking at my Google Reader when I wake up and before bed. I am a SAHM, so reading them helps me keep my sanity and feel like I'm in touch with people who love sewing as much as I do. It's difficult to meet people like that in real life. I like to see blog updates about 3 times a week from the blogs I follow. Any less and I kind of forget about the blog; any more and I get a little burnt out. As far as quilt alongs and bees, I've only been reading blogs about 2 years, so I love both. I have done several qals, and I am in two bees this year. I also am more of a reader than commenter since I have to click through to comment, but I do enjoy reading your blog!

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  36. A very good post Rachel. Thought provoking and timely. Not only have I put myself on a fabric diet, I have also limited my time at the computer. I got so involved in working on a quilt that I didn't even log on to the computer for two straight days. The world didn't come to an end, and the quilt is almost finished. Yeah! When I do get on the computer, I give myself a half hour to look around, and when my time is up, I walk away. The time restraint wasn't as difficult after a couple of days. Of course the sewing room is now a mess with the latest two projects, but that was what this was all about in the first place! I do enjoy looking at my favorite blogs and appreciate most of what is presented, however, I am finding more satisfaction in what I am actually working on rather than just thinking about it. Life is short. Less computer time is working for me in such a pleasant way. Good for you to express yourself here, and thanks!

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    1. I love what you've shared,Diane! Sounds like a beautiful mess.

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  37. Hmmm. These things have been on my mind too...I have tried most of the limit setting ideas you stated, and sometimes those strategies work. It's a double edged sword, all this looking can be distracting, but it also connects us and inspires us so I like that part. The truth is, there really are soooo many talented people out there, and these people are all lovely! But there is no way I can follow them all. My strategy right now is to focus on the blogs of people I have relationships with -either through a bee, my guild, met personally, or "talked" with via blog comments ...and then I check in on a few "big" blogs or designers.

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  38. Good thoughts. I've got a four-month-old who needs to eat regularly, so that is my surfing time. I squeeze in sewing time when I can.

    I'm all for limiting things. I don't want to take a break from things. This is my world, the blog world. I don't have local friends who share my interests so I depend on my internet friends. It's worked out well I think.

    I do hear you on too much inspiration. There are times when I get distracted with the latest thing (hence my current spree of granny square blocks), but it makes me happy.

    I limit myself to my favorite blogs that post regularly. That's the other thing - if someone takes an extended break, I forget about them and stop looking. As for Pinterest - that is internet crack! I've cut my follow list down, and I don't follow all of someone's boards.

    Good luck figuring this out. I'm still working on it myself!

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  39. rachel, i love that you are pondering these topics. inspiration is a funny thing for creative types i think. we so enjoy seeing others work and experiencing that lightbulb click when we are inspired by someone else...but we also want to be creative in our own way and i definitely think that can be hindered when we are too "in the loop". i am constantly on overload with things i want to try and i think that is just a part of being in this crafty community. when we are surrounded by images/ideas/things that we love, we want to try them too. i am currently struggling with how "into" the sewing social media scene i want to be because of a goal i have set for myself...here is my dilemma: i want to go to sewing summit. but i don't blog. i am a sewing blogland junkie....but i don't blog. i love to create, i love to sew, i love to quilt... but i don't blog! of course i know i could go, but would everyone there be like "and who are you???" i think something about the sewing community and our need to share, our need to learn and our need to be surrounded by people who love these same things pushes us to feel like we need to be TOTALLY involved in the social media or we will be left out. and i don't want to be left out...i want to play too! but, i don't Facebook, i don't pinterest, i don't twitter and oh yeah, i don't blog. :) but i do sew-along, i do have TONS of favorite blogs i check religiously, i do flickr and most of all i do LOVE what the online sewing community contributes to my life . but, like SO many of us, i have little children who don't care that i would love to be more involved...they care that i play legos and sing songs and act silly and come out of my sewing room to feed them :) so, right now i am choosing to use my limited time to actually SEW and create and i *try* to limit my computer time. my husband and i call the computer/blogging/media monster "the blinky box"..as in "can you hand me my blinker (aka laptop)"..."what are you doing honey?"..."just looking at all the blinkies". using that silly terminology helps me remember that all this stuff just flashing past me is really fun, but time flies away when you are looking at the blinkies and i lately i would rather be sewing :) but sometimes i am so exhausted and so recovering from my days home alone with little people that all i want is my blinky box. rachel, i hope you find a happy balance..it is so hard, but i think if you are conscious of it and pondering it, you are already a step ahead! now step away from your blinker!

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  40. For me, I NEVER read my blog reader thing, I only follow people to enter giveaways (horrible, I know), but if they don't email their posts, I don't follow. I only read what comes in my email, and that's minimal (or could be a whole ton and I don't know it), but there's only you and two others. And I've chosen those very carefully over the past year or so to suit my tastes and personality.

    As for pinterest, which I adore, there are only a few that I follow all of their boards, and most of those are my sisters, because it's a social thing for us. The rest, well, it's like facebook, I don't have to be friends with the world and I'm very selective. If someone follows my boards, I'm not gonna follow them back. And I very regularly clear it all out and start over again, but I enjoy a lot of eye candy, and know that at this time in my life, I'm not going to make everything and do everything. Which is why I like pinterest, there is a visual, so someday, when I'm ready, perhaps I'll go back and make something I pinned. But I know myself and it will be years from now (when my little ones are not as demanding), and I'm okay with that. I hope that you can get your methods down combating over-inspiration :)

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  41. Too much inspiration or too much competition? That is the question I need to ask myself. It's a tough question for me too. If I were simply inspired by something, I think I wouldn't feel overwhelmed by it. I would feel uplifted, joyful, and fully of anticipation.

    But competition enters my world, creeping in at the strangest times. Insecurities pop up with the difficulty that comes from trying to relate to people only from the written word and hoping they "get" me.

    I've learned when to walk away from my computer and go work...just as I've learned when to walk away from my machine and let a project sit. I'll admit that I get overwhelmed by the number of blog hops, quilt alongs, and swaps that are out there. But that too I am learning how to handle. I don't need to be part of everything all the time.

    A friend recently reminded me, you can have everything. You just can't have it all at once. It's actually been very helpful for me.

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  42. This comment from Sister Diane really made sense to me:
    "Perhaps we’re making some big assumptions that these socially-based tools require our constant presence, when in fact we can really just swoop in and use them as tools when we actually need them."

    I've been starting to re-evaluate how much time I spend on the computer not "doing stuff" and have been trying to work out what I think the right balance is for me. I like the "swoop in and use [it]" idea and think I'll give that a shot for a month or so to see what I think.

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    1. Yes, that is a really nice point she makes. And, that's exactly how I use Pinterest. It works well for me there.

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  43. First off, I love blogs that post daily or nearly daily, because it helps keeps them fresh in my mind. Because of time limitations (job, house, hobbies, family), I ruthlessly limit the time I spend online. I don't use a blog reader - if I can't remember a blog well enough to type it into google, I can't visit it. I use pinterest as a way to keep track of things I want to do, and flickr as a way to show family what I'm doing.

    I also made a rule for myself regarding inspiration - I'm allowed to pin as many "cool things I want to do" as I want, but I'm only allowed to have 3 in-progress projects at a time. So if I catch myself longingly staring at a new project (like your Rainbow Road!) that's a sign I should hurry up and finish something!

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  44. I hear you. SOmetimes I just have to stop looking at things and let my own mind try and come up with something. Other wise I'm just reguritating other people's ideas, instead of contributing anything of my own!

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  45. I personaly don´t feel over inspired yet. I work full time. Sewing and creating is sth I that I can only do at night or on weekends (on those weekends when I didn´t take work home or when the housework is done) so there will _always_ be too many ideas and too little time. I know that when I read books or blogs one evening I can´t use this time for sewing because unfortunately I need sleep too. I consider sewing and reading/thinking about sewing or drawing/creating as equaly important for my inner balance. I try to avoid stress in this area. It´s all about choices. I don´t do facebook and pinterest either because that´s too time consuming. When I feel that reading quiltblogs (I read maybe 10 on a more or less regular basis) limits my creative time too much, I stop doing it for some days, that´s no big deal. I also don´t feel bad when I "neglect" my blog because I dont´t owe anybody regular posts and it´s not part of my everyday business. I´d rather read blogs where I see things _created_ than blogs where every post contains too much drooling over designer fabric lines because that´s sth I just don´t regard as important but that´s my personal view. Of course I share the enthusiam about fabrics in general. ;-)I love to see what other people came up with, people from different parts of the world and I love to see the enthusiam and joy. Oh- and I have a zillion WIPs and only finish about 4 quilts a year. Who cares? :-)

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  46. Thanks for sharing, Rachel. I haven't sewed for a few days now, which is unusual for me, and even the last time I did sew, it was under pressure. I usually feel like this when I've been watching numbers, likes, comments. Or when I have a custom order I don't feel like doing. :) Or if I'm motivated by prizes or views rather than expression. I regularly need to take a moment to remind myself why I'm doing it, and this year I started setting aside 'no pressure' sewing time, time to make things that might not go anywhere or sell, that I don't need to take photos of as I go, that don't need to have a purpose (as a gift or otherwise) except just to try new things and play. I can otherwise end up feeling pressure to justify my fabric purchases by the money I can make from them. And then I never cut into them in case I might want to use it for something else...

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  47. I was just trying to explain this to my man at the weekend!
    Lots of us are mums so we know what happens to an over stimulated toddler yes? I had the "grown up" version the weekend just gone! I decided not to go near my reader for a fortnight because while it's fun to read what everyone is making I had too much real life stuff to get on with...however I follow over 200 blogs now so you can imagine the number of posts waiting for me to read on Saturday morning! 786!!!
    Frankly I can't post to my blog every day because I'm just not that interesting lol
    My must reads folder was a lot more manageable with under 100 posts but I have to admit I've left most of the others unread *Sorry peeps!* & don't even get me started on the "Tutorials to follow" folder.
    I don't use FB or twitter, Pintrest I use for my own inspiration boards I really don't follow many, 4 or 5 at most. Flickr however is my porn of choice :D I can spend literally hours browsing/commenting and getting bugger all done.
    So to surmise, my relationship with social media was healthy until I took a break from it and it all went a bit over the top when I came back. It didn't make me feel good only stressed out and that made me feel like a wimp for getting stressed over what is, in the larger picture, a small issue for me.

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  48. It can be hard with so much to look at, especially if you go down the deadly road of comparisons... you end up feeling useless and wonder how you will ever have a good idea again.
    I really, really prefer blogs that post when they have something interesting to say, and not just for the sake of posting. I always get a little worried when a blog declares it will post x times a day or week, because invariably crappy filler starts to creep in just so those quotas can be met. I don't have the time for that. I prefer great info presented in a non-rambling manner, with humour and pretty pictures if possible. (That's why I hang around here!)

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  49. I was thinking about this just last weekend. Inspiration overload, yep! When I started quilting 11 short years ago, I had a clear delination of the kinds of quilts I wanted to make, the colors I liked best, etc, and I was very prolific both making quilts and finishing them. Since then, with the advent of blogging and more online resources, I've become scattered, feeling like I wanted to try every new color combo that came along, every new gadget, read every new blog I came across ... well, you get the picture. Life intervened for the past couple of years and I had no choice but to step back. Now that I'm ready to dive in again, I find I've lost my focus. I've gotten away from my core. I need to purge from my life (and my quilting room) all the things that will never be used. I don't want to think about them any more. I don't know yet if I can or will do that - but I know in my heart of hearts that I want to. That's a start, I think. My goal this year is to focus, to rediscover myself as a quilter, to look inward for inspiration, and to recapture the joy of quilting.

    Thanks for your thought-provoking post. It really hit home for me.

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  50. It sound like you have some insecurities, but who doesn't. You are a artistic and talented person with great skills!
    I think it's great to use the web to get inspiration, however if it's it's starting to make you feel insecure then I think you need to take a step back and appreciate what you have done and what better way for you to do that then look at your own blog, look at the works you have around your house and then take a look at the people that follow you. People follow you, because you are a great sewer and blog writer.
    We need inspiration and when we come across something awesome that makes us think our work is pale in comparison, we need to acknowledge their work is awesome, figure out what about it appeals to us, then ask our selves is that something we want to do? Is it something i can do? For example, I have seen quilts that are pieced to look like beautiful landscapes. I acknowledge that they are awesomely talented, and dedicated. I appreciate the hard work gone into finding the right Coloured material alone would have been difficult. Now I don't think it's something I want to do myself, but even if I wanted to I don't have the time, or the money to spend on it.
    Anyway that is what came to mind after reading your blog at 12 o'clock at night, I just hope it makes sense.

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  51. I can totally relate with what you're saying.
    I do follow a few blogs and I have some very talented friends that have been sewing and quilting for a really long time, have a sense of style and color I don't seem to be able to get.
    My friends are very encouraging and oooh and ah over what I make and with time I've become more confident with my abilities to make quilts and quilt them.
    I decided to use blogs as inspiration and that has really worked for me.
    I really enjoy your blog and think that if you enjoy writing it and sharing what you make, your inspiration and ideas, I'll keep reading it!

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  52. I am completely overwhelmed by all the input but the kids here keep me grounded. They come first and if something does not get done...it may tomorrow. I think and dream sewing and quilting all the time, I have a journal I carry with me for ideas. Sometimes they work...sometimes not so much. I remind myself it is for FUN, if it stops being fun, I know I need to break for a day or two.

    For now, I am trying to finish before I start new. I joined a bee so that I can try new without committing to an entire quilt all at once. These little things will help me keep my focus...I think :o)

    Thank you for a very great post :o)

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  53. Do I know where you're coming from! I'm trying to find that balance as well.

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  54. I realized the other day that I hadn't posted in my blog for 3 weeks. I normally post weekly. My blog was created to keep out-of-town family updated with my family (so they can see their grandchildren/nephews and neice grow) I started to feel intimidated with other peoples blogs. I don't create things as quickly as other bloggers, I am not a photographer, so my pictures aren't as nice, etc. etc. I had to revisit why I started my blog and follow who I am, not try to imitate other blogs. I love seeing what other people do and create, but I am not going to compare myself to them.Once I figured that out, I was able to feel more calm about my blog, my life and my projects.

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  55. oh, love this honest post!! read a really good article in the New York Times recently about how social media skews our perception of our "friends"... people only post what they want you to see, mostly post the good stuff that they're proud of, etc! So, I know this was only a tiny bit of your post, but I know the feeling of seeing 8 finished quilts and wondering why I can't get it together to finish a bee block :D

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  56. I enjoy seeing new projects from other bloggers. Some days I spend more time looking than others. It always depends on what is going on that specific day. I feel like the best thing to do personally is prioritize. I, like everyone else have a million things bouncing around in my head that I want to start or finish. I prioritize those things and work on what I can when I can.
    As far as pinterest- yes I love it but not for the social outlet as many. I like being able to save something I saw that I may want to make later etc. I wanna keep my pinterest a "true" pinning board for ideas and inspiration that I can come back to. It will be become overwhelming for me if I let it get over run with things that I don't truly intend on revisiting. I pin only what I have a desire to actually make.
    Your honesty is refreshing and apparently an issue for the majority of us creative types. Good luck in your quest for less inspiration!

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  57. I loved your new photos and those quilt blocks are gorgeous malorgeous!!! I don't read blogs every day - in fact not that much. But I try and read the ones I really love like your blog because it always inspires me so. I don't always leave comments though and have noticed that generally there are way less comments left on quilting blogs than on hand stitching blogs. But hey who cares just so long as one inspires or makes someone take a new leap of faith and do something they otherwise wouldn't have even tried. That goes for your blocks at the top. I love them so much that I am going to have a go. Thanks for always being a inspiration and you do what you have to do and good luck in your quest for less inspiration.

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  58. wow i'm so glad you posted on this topic! my ratio of browsing to creating is...hmm, less than my ideal. a week may go by where i don't touch the sewing machine. i have ideas in my head that i want done, i just lack the energy/focus/drive to get up and do them. on the one hand, i want to accept this about myself...this is my pace! i don't want to force myself to "work"! (i do a lot of complaining about this reality on my blog, however :o) on the other hand, i sometimes lose steam on projects because my mind has moved faster than my hands. i admire and envy quilters who can transform an idea into reality quickly so they can just move on before it gets stale. i do appreciate tutorials from bloggers, because it is often really helpful to see all the steps laid out...it feels more manageable. plus there are crazy awesome projects that i would never think of in a million!! thanks again for this thoughtful post!

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    1. "I sometimes lose steam on projects because my mind has moved faster than my hands" - that's a very precise way of putting it. The challenge lies in training our brains to be present in the moment and to focus and enjoy the now, I suppose.

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  59. yes, the internet is good and bad for me. I spend too much time there admiring other people's projects instead of doing what I want to. My list of "want to make" is always growing. So often my "that's what I want to do next" is changing so fast. And so often when I go to bed I feel so sad and frustrated because I get so little done (because of a little one, because of spending too much time at the pc, because of not being able to decide what to do next, which fabric / pattern to use... can be continued a long time). Sometimes I am able to make a cut and be patient but often I feel so rushed... I have so many ideas, want to make so much, feel so overwhelmed. But it's what I lead myself into. When making my last quilt (just finished it) I waited for my little one to fall asleep, turned off the pc and went to work. Getting a lot done in an evening feels so good. And overcome one's weaker self, too ;) But without the internet and the many blogs I wouldn't know what I know now, there would be no answer to my questions, no finished projects because I wouldn't have thought of such a cool pattern / idea. It's boon and bane at the same time.
    And now I'll cut into my fabric for my very own color brick quilt. Yes, that's what I'll do. Thank you for the inspiration.

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  60. I have definitely had inspiration overload and I do spend more time on the computer than at my sewing machine (but there are other reasons for that too.) But I thank my lucky stars for the ability to get e-mail blog posts (so I can read them when i get the time) and Pinterest because I use is as a way to store info from those blogs away for a future date (better than throwing them in the "Future Projects" folder in my e-mail. I absolutely love that you post 5 days a week and that you're teaching the Curves class (which I've only done one project but I'm excited to try more eventually) because I figure that the information is there and I can use it as I see fit. When I need it, I'll find it and when I don't have time I'll just live vicariously through you. haha Seeing all these inspiring photos and blog posts not only helps influence my design style, but it encourages me that I can make these things too. Even if mine doesn't turn out exactly like the tutorial, I'm sure it will have my own flair to it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this and for the hard work you do to keep your blog running!

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  61. You have so clearly struck a cord within me (and others, obviously), that I did not know was there. But yes... I definitely need to do a spring clean in my reader. I just find it very very hard: all of the blogs have at some time or another been fantastic and inspirational and just right for me - now they are not so much, even though they are still fabulous. But I will have a really hard time.
    Because, you know: It was because of the quilting blogworld that I was drawn back into being creative through quilting and as such I NEED the inspiration. I am confident that my choices in patterns, fabrics, quilting and gifting the items off to that special recipient I had in mind when beginning the quilt are the choices that makes the creation MINE, even if I follow a specific trend in the blogworld.
    Thank you for a VERY true, thoughtful and essentially good blogpost.
    Hello internet-reduced weekends, hello to more creative time and goodbye to too much time spend in the couch with the laptop :) (wonder if that will last more than a weekend ;))

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  62. I definitely think the blog world contributes to it's own madness. (The time wasting, make you feel less about yourself, inspiration generating -or sucking- monster.). I personally get tired of all the quilt alongs. Seems EVERYONE feels the need to host one. And they generally all start popping up at about the same time. I'll never keep up, so I'd rather just see their ideas and be done with the weeks and weeks of "process" photos. Besides, I don't feel the need to be working on the same thing as everyone else. Makes the blogs world very boring to see the same quilt done 50 different ways. In that respect it just looks like everyone is trying to appear "cool". As in, "Look I'm doing 'such and such' just like everyone else. I'm one of the cool kids." I don't think those that blog every day are as interesting as they think they are. I find photos of stacks of "inspiration" fabrics and "sneak peeks" of blurry nothings are just kind of a waste of my "surfing" time. When I have to sort throughout those kinds of posts I get a little irritated. But, give me an idea I've never considered, use fabric in a way I couldn't see before, or show me an easier way to do something and I am jumping for joy. ...Just being honest.

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  63. Wow. Looks like you hit a nerve with this post--and with all these comments, now you have more to read (sorry).

    My daughter has invited me twice to Pinterest, and I've resisted. I already struggle with keeping the internet browsing down to a minimum, and if there is too much "want that" going on in my head, whether it be via acquisition (buying) or merely coveting and admiring new ideas, I am less satisfied with what I do, and less happy with my own creations. So many of your commenters talked about pulling back.

    Thanks for this interesting post--and thanks to your readers for their interesting comments!

    Elizabeth E.
    opquilt.com

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  64. Yes, there is definitely a lot out there to inspire and sometimes hinder one's productivity. BUT I have to admit that I love that you post on your blog almost every day. I try not to bite off more than I can chew, and just catalogue things away as "good ideas for later."

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  65. I hear you loud and clear! Being a beginner quilter I'm inspired by almost everything I see. I can spend hours browsing blogs and flickr (not ventured into Pininterest yet) looking at fabrics and quilt designs. I have a list a mile long with the quilts I want to try but just don't know where to start first. I feel like I'm going to end up with a dozen half finished quilt tops and no completed quilts. On a positive note our internet was just down for two days and in that time I completed a quilt top and almost the back!

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  66. Thank you so much for this post and for "setting me free". It is more than ok to pull back. More than ok to blog less and more than ok to not be a part of everything going on the internet.

    Thank you for inspiring me to just be...me.

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  67. I seem to have OCD because I get so addicted to staying on top of my Reader and Twitter and Email and Flickr and then there's Instagram and Pinterest which I'm not so obsessive about but still like to check it in every few days. It's exhausting just thinking about it!! Yes, I feel like I don't achieve anywhere near the amount of stuff I see posted online. I often wonder how people manage to have these clean perfect homes, well fed family and still have time to make a zillion gorgeous projects AND blog about it. I just can't seem to find the time to do it all.

    This post was the kick in the pants I needed and just unsubscribed/unfollowed about 25 blogs. I still have about 90 blogs in my Reader which is huge but I'll see how I go after this little clean up. I feel like I'm in a constant state of bookmarking/pinning future projects and not making a lot of progress on the stuff I have ready to go or UFO's. I would be happy for bloggers to post only once or twice a week, it would give me a chance to catch up and make me feel better about only posting a couple of times a week.

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  68. thanks for this post Rachel - its funny cause I've been thinking about this recently as well - I think because it took me a whole week of nights last week to clear my google reader of 2000 posts ! and I'm back to 357 again tonight - saturday night and I've been sitting here for a couple of hours :) One of my problems is that if I read a post that has a link somewhere else I visit that link then another one and so on ! and an hour later I finally get back to finishing the post I started reading - its amazing how I get lost in links and keep finding projects that I think I'm going to do but I'd have to live till 325 to get them all done and that's without adding any new ones - which by the way I've just done from this post - yes, I've just visited a Little Bit Biased and bookmarked the scrap jar stars tutorial (the first photo in your post) see how easily distracted I get !

    anyway, I've decided to only spend every second night catching up with posts - so I can actually get some of these projects done otherwise I'll have nothing interesting to blog about.

    I started pinterest a while ago but I don't follow anyone else - its just really for me to look at as inspiration and I don't pin that much - but one thing I notice is the flurry of emails I get when I pin something - I can get up to 20 emails telling me that so and so pinned my recent pin - it just amazes me - how do they see what I pinned ?

    One thing I did with my reader is sort subscriptions into lists of daily reads, flickr groups I'm currently active in, and then other groups - so I make sure I check my daily reads and flickr groups every day and then I'm going to check the others at my allocated times.

    I've joined six flickr swaps and bees this year which is keeping me busy so I want to be sewing instead of being online and finding yet more projects that I won't get done :)

    anyway - thanks for another great post - and sorry for such a long comment ! but seems that everyone is feeling the same way :)

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  69. Hiya...I know it's late to post on this but... I feel the same way. I can't tell you how many times I've sat down with my coffee in my hand and my cat on my feet and start reading all my fav blogs...then...start following link after link and SUDDENLY it's TWO THIRTY. **I have to insert here I'm not married, no kids so this is possible, it really is!**
    There goes a full day almost just looking and looking at other peoples stuff and bookmarking and getting excited and making notes....and then I'm so overwhelmed that it's almost impossible for me to start because I can't gather my own thoughts. As evidenced by my Pile of UFOs...laugh.
    Anyway.
    My new system is making a list of my to dos, and:
    Coffee, Cat, Email, Close.
    I have my coffee, watch the weather channel, pet the cat, check my email, and Only My Email. If I do open google reader it's ONLY to check headlines and I make myself close the lid after that.
    (Okay so this doesn't always work but I'm trying really hard to make it so.I only fell off the wagon once this week. )

    An easy way to check myself is...when the coffee cup is empty, and I get up for more, close the lid. Done. THat works, too.

    So I guess this long rambling post is yes, we all do it. And I thnk turning off for the weekend isn't a bad idea at all; nice and refreshing. I mean, regular people with regular jobs get their two days off and waway from their jobs, right??
    Check your email but Close the Lid!
    Time management. Who knew???

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  70. i think my struggles come from seeing the same people in all of the "big, important" quilting projects across the web. there is a definite popular kids thing going on and that leads to a feeling of being passed over, creates stress, and builds resentment. and that isn't something that should come with a beloved hobby or passion. you know?

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  71. Love this post and all the comments. I feel like I now have permission to 'let go' of some of the social media which is overwhelming. It feels like the proverbial Hamster Wheel where I'm spinning about with no focus and certainly not doing much creatively - not good for anybody's soul.
    I love FlickR and am participating in some BOMs and Quilt Alongs, but will confess that recently I didn't make a particular month's block - because I didn't like it. Talk about feeling guilty - how stupid is that? And the world is still turning and probably no-one will notice or care.
    I have many favourite Bloggers, but many have become 'ho hum'. I don't need to spend an hour looking at your quilts made of squares and feeling envy for your beautiful stashes of fabric, until it was pointed out that many are gifted direct from the manufacturers. The biggest time-sucker of all is the competitions - one entry here, another if you like me there, and even more if you like me somewhere else. Hello? it is like being back in the school playground and I refuse to play those games.
    So thank you - am now going to 'de-clutter' my Reader, Facebook, Flickr lists and go off and be inspired to do something creative.

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    1. Just wanted to tell you all that I am still reading and enjoying your comments! I applaud everyone for pausing to evaluate these things. A little self-reflection does the body good.

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  72. I'm late jumping in, but I think our community is lucky to have so many talented contributors. I sometimes get overwhelmed, and I sometimes wish I didn't have a full-time job so I could sew and knit all day long. It just doesn't work that way, though, and I'm grateful for that job (it pays for my fabric and yarn addictions!). It's intimidating for those of us who aspire to bigger blogs or other ventures. I think the crafty world is big enough for all of us, though.

    I do ebb and flow with my pinterest use, but for me, flickr is daily. I used to keep up with blogs a lot better than I do now, but lately, I just do the best I can!

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  73. First, I only blog & flickr (both of which encompass EVERYTHING). I generally prefer to flickr - I am a visual person.

    As for being over-inspired (I have had UFO's from the begining of my quilting - in the 90s, so I gave up on feeling bad about starting too much & not finishing enough.) I find that once I have seen enough _________ fill in the blank pattern/QAL that I don't feel the need to make one myself.

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  74. I read this days ago, and then never got around to actually responding when I wanted to. Distraction, oh yes!

    My blog reading, and posting, goes in spurts. There are some blogs I check much more frequently than others, partly because I know they update more often. And inevitably you find some that you go back to faster than others because what the person is making aligns more with what you like.

    I think it's very important to realize and remember that time spent reading other blogs, and looking around on Pinterest isn't necessarily time you really would have been spending sewing things. Sometimes, sure, it does cut into that time, but other times, what you would likely have been doing instead of farting around online would have been reading a book, the newspaper, or watching a movie or doing some chores or something. Thinking of blog reading and various other inspiration thingamajiggers as lost sewing time is an easy way to feel guilty, but not realistic.

    I've become better at weeding out what social media has more or less value to me as well. Facebook I find least interesting and inspiring, often the signal-to-noise ratio is very low, uninteresting status updates about nothing at all, and too much overshare going on that really doesn't enrich my life in any way.

    I do think that everyone suffers from looking at other people's blogs, especially the more established bloggers, and feeling inadequate and overwhelmed. And as others have mentioned, it's worth remembering that as with most things, you see the best side of people on their social media, the side they want to present.

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  75. (I read a comment of yours over on Completely Cauchy mentioning this post so I had to search it out!)

    The internet, in general, is a wild beast I can't seem to tame. We have a love/hate relationship, the internet and I. I've tried everything you mentioned - taking a break, limiting time, limiting the amount of incoming distractions, going cold turkey. Every time I do it I feel relieved - I feel more creative, happy, and in general better about everything. But then I get sucked back in. It's like a bad drug I just can't quit.

    The problem I have is that the information overload depresses me. There are SO MANY gorgeous things out there in this world, and when all these pretty things get shoved at you day in and day out it wears on you. What starts as inspiration quickly turns into this constant sense of want - wanting a new sofa, a whole new wardrobe, or hell - a new life, even. Then I begin thinking that I'll never have those things for whatever reason be it money or time or life circumstances. And then I sink into a funk and the only way to pull myself out of it is to dump the internet addiction, if only temporarily, to regain some sense of contentedness with the things I do own/have/make/etc.

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  76. This post addresses something that has been on my mind so much lately (and I can see I am not alone!) and I confess your post has been open in one of my tabs (terrible habit!) for a few days now, for me to come back to, ruminate and chew on...
    Thank you for this post, Rachel. I must admit I know I spend far too much time online with with the blogs/pinterest/flickr social media holy trinity, and I enjoy seeing what's out there, garnering inspiration and whatno. But, I have also found that not only am I less creative, but also, when I do have a creative idea or creation that I would like to share via my blog etc, I more often than not don't because I worry that it might be something that someone somewhere else has already shared (that I haven't seen, or worse yet, actually have seen way back when and then forgotten about - at least consciously) and then people may (wrongly) regard me as a plagiarist...whereas before that concern would never have entered my mind. Okay, I appreciate that sounds very neurotic put that way (or is it a confidence issue more than an over-saturation thing?), but it really does affect my way of thinking and my interaction with social media - I still consume just as much, but I don't contribute as much as I would like to...
    (hahaha you can tell me if I'm just neurotic and over-thinking things and have had far too much caffeine and really need to go and put my big-girl knickers on and contribute to the creative space and share the ideas that are mine irrespective of whether other people have had their own version of that idea already!)

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    1. My personal take on the last issue you mentioned is that nothing is new anyways. If we all were so worried about only posting original content, I don't think we'd be posting either! If figure everyone's interpretation is unique and that we all just do our best to remember when to give credit!

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  77. My dad has a great saying for this, "you're over-thinking it" ;) I feel many of the same things that you mention at times. Then I repeat my dad's phrase from above. I do what feels right at the time. I'm just not an extreme person. I could never quit anything I enjoy as much as blogging and reading blogs. I'm waaay behind on blog reading right now (hence the late comment here), because I've been in creating/writing mode lately. When I need a break from that, I go into blog reading mode. And I don't care that I'm behind. More to read! I do try to limit my pinteresting to no more than 5 minute chunks, but it feels like it times out on me anyway. I use it more often for a bookmarking tool than a discovery tool, though I certainly have discovered some beautiful things there! I also have a Facebook habit, but that's mostly to catch up with friends and family who do not live nearby. Again, small chunks of time here and there. Though it might do me well to cut back...

    Anyway, I hope you find the balance you are looking for. You're certainly an inspiration to me :)

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  78. I really enjoy your blog because you raise issues like this - your content has substance! I'm new to quilting - only attempted it six months ago when I decided I needed something for me amid the chaos of a new (third) baby. I love it so much more than sewing kids clothes, and it's given me a creative world to immerse myself in via the iPad when I'm feeding day and night.

    The drawback of this inspiration overload for me is that in a relatively short space of time I am becoming jaded before I've even made many quilts. My time online is vast because my baby feeds so often, my time to sew is scarce. The plus quilts and star quilts I was struck by months ago now seem tired to me, and I've yet to attempt either.

    That said, my hours of pottering online means I'm always developing a clearer idea of what I want to do. And it keeps me determined to use what little time I can find for myself at the sewing machine, whereas without the online inspiration I might forget and let the fabric and machine gather dust. Goodness knows I can't do that - I've bought so much fabric in a short space of time and now I have to use it!

    Actually, I don't know if you can talk about it, given the sponsorship of fabric companies and stores, but another big issue is surely all the money people are spending on massive collections of fabric. Since having kids I've not worked outside the home so I've always been very careful about what I buy for myself (typical mother-martyr stuff), but suddenly I've spent several hundred dollars in online stores buying fabric because it's easier for me to shop than find time to sew. It's a trap! I need to go cold turkey on the fabric shopping, use all the lovely stuff I've bought, stop justifying it on the grounds that I'm home with a baby all day and haven't bought clothes or had a haircut in ages. I'm developing a bad online habit like my husband, whose relief from a stressful job is to buy records online that he hardly has time to listen to (and could get digital copies of rather than filling our house with vinyl albums).

    I guess what I'm rambling about is - sure there is inspiration overload, but there's also consumption-overload. Compulsive keeping up with the latest collection before you've even had time to do anything with the last must-have fabric.

    And now it's time I stopped feeding the baby while she's asleep and claim a bit of non-screen time for me!

    Thanks for a great blog with interesting content. Your quilts aren't bad either! ;-)

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