Years ago when I was involved with building databases and developing software, one of my mentors told me to avoid throwing the innocent users into "symbol-shock" -- giving them too much interactive stimuli in one screenview. Good software design allows the user to approach the experience feeling in control and not immediately overstimulated.
That's how I've been feeling . . . overstimulated.
Recently, my blog-hopping and Flickr-hopping has created that dreaded "symbol-shock" experience for me. I feel that some of own creative energy has been sucked from me (and I take total responsibility for choosing to keep clicking). Even though I focus primarily on knitting blogs and photos posted by fellow knitters, there's now this bit of cacophony that prevents me from generating my own thoughts. I already know that I don't want to always be knitting the thing that everybody else is knitting or knit the thing the same way everybody else does, so why I am exposing myself to it? (This isn't a judgment of those who knit the latest and the coolest designs -- I do that too; rather, it's just that I don't get a particular charge out of doing this unless it's something I would want to knit anyway). I've become more of an observer than an active participant in the thing that brings me joy and fulfillment -- my own creativity and my own ideas.
I don't produce ANYTHING commercially viable nor do I use this blog as forum to market my thoughts to anybody, but I've been feeling that tiny bit of discontent and dissatisfaction with myself that indicates that I'm no longer on track. I'm not talking about extreme self-consciousness but that feeling that I'm being dishonest with myself by not doing what I enjoy. There . . . do you see it? It's the absence of JOY. It reminds me of what I felt when I worked for people who felt it necessary to micromanage and contain everything I did (incidentally, those are the jobs for which I was paid the least . . . but I digress). Contrast that with my most fulfilling and successful jobs -- the ones in which I was given the mandate to achieve a particular goal and given the FREEDOM to use the resources at my disposal to achieve the objectives. I had the authority to make choices and decisions using my mind, my creativity.
Knitting and blogging is enjoyable for me whether or not I actually produce a single finished object. It really *is* about the process for me. I have all the resources at my disposal (excellent knitters and knitblogs, visual resources, reading material, search engines), but I've stopped using them to my own ultimate goal of pure knitting enjoyment and instead have focused more on the "look what I did" aspect of knitblogging. And . . . that is really just not ME. What I intended to share here is my enthusiasm, my energy and offer encouragement to others. I really appreciate those of you who read me here and recognize what I am all about and what I have to offer.
I was so sure when I started knitting that I would hit a wall in knitting -- that is, find something I simply could NOT do. But I had some encouraging mentors and friends who told me that yes, I could actually learn how to purl and yes, I could knit whatever I wanted if I tried and wanted to learn. (Guess what? They were right). So yeah, you can too. Don't ever come to this blog and say, "I could never do that." All I possess is a desire and enthusiasm -- I wasn't born knowing how to knit. For what it's worth -- i's not a compliment to the blogger to type in the comments box, "I can't do that." I'm not here to show off, yet that's the implication when somebody leaves a comment like that.
I will find JOY in my knitting again.