Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Setting Goals and Dealing with Information Overload

One thing I have discovered upon getting back into beading and jewelry making, is that there is just so much out there now in regards to this hobby/art form. Its almost overwhelming really.

I decided to get back into beading about 2 years ago, when I found a couple packets of old seed beads in a craft supplies box (the things you find after moving 4 or 5 times in as many years). I remembered how much fun I had beading and decided to start up again. So of course, my first step was to find out what's new in beading, where to shop for supplies, and to find some inspiration to get me started. I turned to my computer. And boy did I find what I was looking for. And then some. I spent hours searching for sites that provided tutorials and patterns. I scoured sites selling handmade jewelry (to see what was new, and what folks were charging for their pieces). I printed out hundreds of pictures for inspiration, countless patterns and instructions for projects. I joined a number of jewelry making forums and groups. Then I promptly went to my local craft store and went nuts. I bought beads, wire, ribbon, buttons, thread, needles, organizers, more beads, findings galore, tools, a wire jig, more tools, a few more buttons, some finished pendants, polymer clay and supplies for that, and more beads. It wasn't long before I needed a bigger craft box.

It was also at my local craft store that I discovered all the beading and jewelry magazines available today. Along with all the books and pamphlets. I bought an armload and devoured each and every one. Then I took out subscriptions for most of the magazines.

Now, two years later, I have boxes and files chock full of ideas, instructions, patterns, and inspirations. I have piles of magazines and a shelf of books (though I must say, one can never have too many books, of any type). I even have half of a spare bedroom carved out just for my work table and craft boxes. Its an obsession. But a fairly healthy one I'd say (though I may be biased). But I stare at these piles of inspiration and am I inspired? No!! I'm absolutely overwhelmed! There are just too many great projects I want to try, too many gorgeous patterns and ideas I want to implement. And way too many forms of media to chose from (from simple stringing to complex stitches, crocheting with beads and wire, wire wrapping, metal smithing, polymer clay, fibers, glass, etc). I'd need at least two clones of myself in order to do all the projects I want too. That is, if I could actually decide on a project, stick to it, and see it through (lets not talk about my box of started projects, or the beads I specifically bought for a project but have yet to use over a year later....).

So last night, during my hour-and-a-half-commute, I had an epiphany (I like that word, I don't get to use it often enough). At the next red light I grabbed out my mp3 player, which has a voice recorder, and spent the next 23 minutes of my drive laying out my plans for getting projects done. I spent the remaining 67 minutes singing at the top of my lungs as I passed through the lovely industrial district that is my drive home, but that's something for another time.

What was my big idea you ask? Excellent question my friend, excellent question. Let me tell you. I decided that I needed to narrow down my choices. But how? My plan is to pull out a large bulletin board I have at home that is just collecting dust currently. I will attach the name of the month, because its an excuse to be crafty. Then I will randomly select one magazine or three printed project sheets from my collection. I will photocopy the first page of three projects from that magazine that I want to try. Then I will put all three copies up on the bulletin board. After I figure out my shopping list I can purchase supplies I may be lacking. The goal will be to finish all three projects in the month. If the projects are big and intensive, I may drop it down to two. If they're all really small and simple, and I find I finish them before the end of the month, I'll put up two or three new projects to fill out the month. This way, everyday when I walk into or past the craft room, those projects will be staring at me from their place on the bulletin board. It will help me to buckle down and get some work done. But it will also narrow down my choices. These are the only projects I can work on that month. Nothing else. All other projects are off limits, out of sight and out of mind.

Think it will work? I don't know. But I plan to set it up this coming weekend for the month of October. Wish me luck!

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