Earlier this week, Blaze was writing on her blog about how she often feels torn about whether to work on something creative, like a new set of illustrations, or something crafty that she can put to use in her home. I have been feeling this same tension between creative and crafty for the past couple weeks, with an added element that wins out more often than it should: loafing.
I’m generally really good at multi-tasking (which is good, because my job kind of depends on it), but I’ve found that with projects, whether creative or crafty, I become incredibly one-track-minded. I think this is because I hate to start something and then leave it unfinished. It just doesn’t sit well with me. So instead of working on a project here and there for a few weeks until I finish it, I work on it non-stop and don’t leave room for anything else. For example, I’m working on reupholstering this amazing chair and my entire weekend became enslaved to the completion of this chair: I primed the chair on Friday night, I primed it again on Saturday morning and applied the first coat of paint on Saturday night, and did the second coat of paint and the first layer of polyurethane today. Let’s just say I put The O.C. on as background noise while I was painting, and I made it through the entire second season just in the past 48 hours. Yikes.
While I was painting, I was thinking about how I should be sewing things for my shop, and I even tried to take a break from painting to do a little sewing, but I just couldn’t mentally detach myself from the chair. And I have a feeling I won’t be able to be mentally present in my sewing until this chair is done. I’m kind of justifying the whole thing by looking at the duality of this project: not only is it something that will have a practical use in my apartment, but it’s also something that allows me to create something new from something old. I wish my focus could be a little more spread out when it comes to things like this though, instead of being so intensely focused in one spot that I can only do one thing at a time. My brain compartmentalizes, which can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on how you look at it. Most of the time I think that it’s good to put everything into one thing at a time instead of spreading yourself too thin and not giving a project the care and attention it deserves. But my brain also tends to police my intentions, and make me feel guilty for not putting wholly creative work first all the time.
It’s easy to get a lot of work done on these projects on the weekends when I have nothing else going on, but more often than not during the week, I’m endlessly tempted to just sit in front of the TV when I get home from work or bop around on Facebook for hours until my mind turns to mush. After an eight-hour workday and more than an hour of commuting, sometimes I just want to go into a vegetative state. I know I should be doing something productive, but then my body just says “no dice” and it’s a very lethargic evening. And then I feel guilty.
I feel this drive to always be doing something productive and creative in my free time, but sometimes I just really can’t avoid being a couch potato. I guess the key is balance: I don’t need to be sewing something new every night of the week, but I also shouldn’t fall into a lazy do-nothing mood every night of the week either. Productivity is good, but rest is also good, and both are essential to a happy Kendall.