attack_laurel (attack_laurel) wrote,

There should be a muse of boring work.

The creative muse is a fickle little bitch, and I am always at her mercy. I have a list of things I want to do that almost puts me in the running for the 50 things project (which, despite, my saying a long time ago that I didn't really want to do it, I think is a very good thing), and I'm having trouble writing.

No, not here. I'm writing up historical notes and instructions for my patterns. Alas, my muse is cranky, and I'm having a hard time. I'm almost done with the nightcap one, but I still have to write up most of the coif one, then I have to write construction diagrams, and I want to overhaul the coif instructions.

In the meantime, my muse is whining and tugging at my skirts, saying "I wanna make a fur lining for my green coat! I wanna start another embroidered jacket! I wanna knit another pair of socks, and mittens, and make a muff!"

I have things to sort. I have things to draw, and write, and all I want to do is lay out the next jacket, and start a pair of wool socks. I am hopeless.

I've found over the years that the muse can't be forced, but it can be coaxed into doing something it doesn't want to do. Most artists encounter this phenomenon over time - it's rarely all "brain is filled with inspiration! I am leaking art from every pore!", it's more often "I must do this because if I don't. I'll sit on the sofa all day and drink tea". It's done in small amounts; a paragraph of writing, an inch of knitting, a few brush-strokes on the canvas. You work in increments, and reward yourself for doing something, anything, as long as it's a step forward rather than work avoidance.

The things we want most in life are achieved by practice and patient work, not by sudden flashes of serendipity, but that's not a terribly popular idea in a culture that is deeply in love with instant gratification. Why write a letter when you can e-mail? Why e-mail when you can call? Y call whn yu cn txt? Trouble is, when it comes to reaching goals, the goals we really want can't be accessed overnight. Want to play the piano? Practice every day, the same stuff over and over again for ten years, and you'll be passable. Learn to fence? Drill, spar, and slog through all the boring stuff so that your muscles remember it all, and you'll do well.

There are no shortcuts to real success; the odds of winning the lottery are pretty damn small, and the odds of simply walking in off the street and being brilliant at something are smaller still. Y'all may get the impression sometimes that I sprang fully formed and perfect at everything *cough* overnight, but I've got years of art instruction and practice under my belt. I've been sewing since I was five. I've been playing piano since I was seven (and I'm still not very good at it). I've been singing since I was a baby, and I took singing lessons for years. I've still got my fair share of things that really didn't work out terribly well, and I have plenty of off days when I write.

Talent only gets you so far - it has to be backed up by practice and hard work to lead you anywhere good. So, when the muse is whining at me and scuffing her heels over having to do something "boring" when she wants to sew rabbit fur together and play with silk thread, I have to ignore her and get my butt in gear. After all, what's the use of having talent if you quit as soon as it gets dull?

So I'm writing. There will be nightcap patterns. I plan for many more. In the meantime, I'll placate my muse by writing a random list of things I want to do:

A falling band for Bob using a lace similar to this one.
A purse like this one.
Objects from the Gunnister find.
Line my green coat/gown with black fur.
Overhaul my white brocade doublet and petticoat.
Another nightcap for Bob.
A new embroidered jacket (with spangles!).
Stockings! Knitted! Cute!
Another frog purse.
Patterns: Cushions, jackets, partlets and sleeves, shifts, doublets, falling bands, and gloves.
Linen shift.
Silk and velvet gown/coat.
Ruff and supportasse.
Cutwork ruff.
Cutwork falling band and cuffs.
Blackworked ruffs.
Embroidered shift.
Embroidered partlet and sleeves.
Painted trenchers.
Drawnwork tablecloth.
Embroidered bed cover.
Painting of someone (special project).

...and more I can't remember. But first, I have to make it past Holiday Faire with all the things I need to get done before then.

...Muse? ...muse?
Tags: creativity, projects, sca, shop
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