I am currently focusing on finally finishing my novel, thus other projects have to wait in line until it’s their turn again. In German you can say: I pushed everything non-urgent on the long bench. I always imagine a long bench with different projects in boxes like they have them at airport security checks, pushing one in after the other. Every now and then I sort through the boxes, but more often than not it’s a LIFO system, which results in some projects sitting in boxes for a VERY long time, sometimes quite literally.
Now the thing with benches, imagined or real, long or short, is that when you push too much on it, eventually things will start to fall off on the other side. Which is a good thing. Some things will just never get finished that way but that’s o.k. However, my bench is a bit too long for my own good. Meaning: I don’t forget easily about all those project sitting there. For example I am aware that I still owe you a blogpost on rapidograph pens. You probably forgot, but years ago, I bought rapidograph pens, and ruling pens and all kinds of traditional drafting equipment, and I was making different experiments (that book also needs to get finished) and I wrote some blogposts, 2 I think, about the ruling pens and compasses I got for myself, and I promised a third blogpost on rapidograph pens which I never finished. And it keeps on bugging me. I usually finish work at 9pm and then watch tv with DH for an hour before going to bed, and every night I sit down and call it a day, I have this nagging voice at the back of my head that I really *should* finally write that blogpost.
While writing, what I like to do is meditative tasks. Like folding and cutting paper, or printing small prints, or – probably – ironing (I must admit that I have not tried it; no ironing is done in this household). My favourite meditative task to prepare for a writing session is to walk. Somehow my thinking seems to change when I am moving my feet. I know I am not alone with this, but I find it rather startling and wonderous, really.
I start on my computer, and see what problem next needs to be solved. Then I start for a walk, pondering the problem. Often my thoughts will drift, on the landscape I see, or maybe I’ll concentrate on discovering graffiti or whatever. That’s part of the plan, and I let them drift. Eventually they’ll come back to the problem with fresh ideas.
Sometimes I can find it hard to give myself the time and room to do that. When I am on the brink of going out, it can seem like wasted time. More often than not, I am hard pressed for time. I am thinking about my time in slots. When one opens up, I think about what task needs doing most urgently. Let’s say a generous two hour slot opens up, then dismissing all waiting orders, ignoring emails that need to be answered, let projects that want to be photographed or finished rest, and go for a walk instead feels luxurious.
Sometimes it is.
And because it can be so hard, that’s why I closed my shops for a week when I went to Sheffield last month. But this one week was so successful that I now to schedule time for walks. It’s still hard though. I was planing to be on a walk right now, instead I am at my desk, blogging.
Well, despite this difficulty, writing is coming along well. But don’t be fooled, I won’t finish any time soon. If I am ever finally done, or at least when I decide that the time for concentrating writing is over for the time being, I will probably have a huge stack of paper to bind, as I spend much more time on the meditative task of cutting them than finding time to actually bind books. – Athough, thinking about it, Once I have enough of them, I suppose I could add sewing as one of those tasks that can be done almost on autopilot…
The small prints I am making, don’t pile up. They are distributed with the thread I am selling, and I frequently run out. Currently I am painting backgrounds with watercolours generously splashed over large sheets of watercolour paper. I then cut it down to A4, feed them through my printer to add business information on the back, and then cut it down further to business card size. Then I assemble my stamps, try out different colours and combine them here or there.
I started with some of my “women with hat” stamps, some of them decorated with snowflakes – it’s getting comparably cold here by now, after all.
Then I decided to print some of my bottles again, to then “fill” the bottle with different stuff. Some do have the fish that I had in there before, but then I decided to cut a little robot. And I thought it came out rather cute. Then I cut another tiny stamp to give him a heart shaped balloon…
I am wondering whether I should engage on a robot sketching (and printing) challenge. I regret to have failed to maintain a steady pace with inktober, and gave up completely in the first week. But maybe I could make it a six weeks, twelve robots challenge. – It’s six weeks until I’ll close shops for the Holidays. Mhm, anybody wants to join me? We could maybe make it a robot picture/print swap, too!