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Creative Energy

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.

Coffee and a Magazine


Comments

Do NOT lose that joy... because then it's "just a job." ((hugs)) You inspire me with what you do.

Janet,

I know how you feel...or at least I think I do. Although I can't call myself a process knitter and honestly enjoy my FOs way more than having 6 things on the needles, I still feel more enjoyment in the knitting part than in the sharing part, and often feel "left out" when I have no new pictures to share, even though I know I have learned new things done interesting things that aren't necessarily documented.

I think I use Flickr & blogs for entertainment and inspiration and research, and simply to enjoy other peoples work, share in their experiences and to help out where I can. But when it gets overwhelming I just go back to my SnB and simple knitting to keep me grounded. I have never been one to follow trends though, and generally just look at patterns as a suggestion towards a certain project outcome, so I've never found the abundance of styles out there incredibly overwhelming.

I hope your JOY returns tenfold!

Tho seemingly unrelated, this reminds me of Joel Maner's latest blog entry. It's easy to get caught up in the surface issues and be so "busy" with all the surface seems to have to offer... and never get around to going a level deeper. It takes less effort, but in the end, isn't nearly as rewarding.

Judging by this post, I think you already have ;-)

Knowing what you want is the 1st step, and somehow I doubt that now that you have defined the goal you will be at a loss to embrace it!

I've always found the whole process vs. product knitter discussion rather interesting, because personally? I think I am both. Or neither. I love the process of learning a new stitch, or knitting something familiar and soothing. At the same time, I love the feeling when a project is completed - the satisfaction at finishing, of course, and knowing I created that object, but also in picturing it being a tangible piece of me, either given to someone with love, or around my own home. I guess what I am struggling to say is I don't see knitting as a sum of it's parts - I don't see it as having parts at all - the whole thing from planning to yarn selection to binding off and blocking IS knitting to me. What it means to me day to day may change, and I may enjoy some moments more than others - but isn't the same true of life?

And after all that deep thought, I think I need to go knit *s*

I have always been personally inspired by "all" your creative talents... from ART, Rubberstamping to Knitting. You are absolutely one to encourage others in what you do, say and share. I love to see "what you have done" - especially when you post your progress along the way... it is a part of the visual learning process for me - watching you create. I love reading your blogs because it gives more glimpses in your life - besides just "one thing"... and that is what makes you real and approachable. xxx

That was a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing your thoughts - and for articulating something I've been feeling myself lately. I love blogging - the writing and the reading. But I'm starting to feel stretched too thin, too feel scattered and a little twitchy - and I think part of it is from the blogging. I haven't figured out what to do about it yet.

I believe that you will find the joy again.

Vaughn and I were talking about blogs the other day. He said "I never have even read one of those, have you?? I talk of your blog all the time!! How could he not know this?? Anyway, you are one of the few I do read, and you inspire me all the time. Look at me making socks!! I got that from all the beautiful ones you have made, and not just the pictures you share (however they are wonderful!) but the process you went through when doing them. Thats what your blog is all about for me. The process of life's lessons. Thank You Janet!!

I completely identify with this post sooo much. I feel totally overstimulated and in a way... overinspired??... by others at times that I can't see myself through it all.
Thanks for sharing this!

I hear you, Janet! When I'm in school, I try not to look too much at what the others are doing. We all have such varied styles and tastes that one can get overwhelmed. I try to "siphon" out what may pertain to my taste and REALLY inspire me, but it's a hard task sometimes. There is just so much out there!

I cant agree with you more. My boyfriend yells softly that I havent finished very much, yet I have tons of yarn, and just got some new used needles (118 of dpns) form Ebay. I seperated them, and had to explain that I like the process too. I like having them in case I need them someday. I slowly knit, but I like to. Its a stress relief for me, and lately, I have needed it. I have been doing it since Nov or Dec last year. So, I am total newbie. But I love it, and so glad I found the blogs frm everyone around the world. Just like yours. I started one recently, and I also talk about life, not just knitting. Althugh it comes up alot :)

Feel free to stop by, its just me, nothing fancy.

http://sanityknitter.blogspot.com/

I will bookmark you (already did actually last week) and will continue to follow your inspirations and your wonderful thoughts of love for all things passionate.

:)

Gia

Thanks for the good post. I enjoy creativity and the process vicariously through you.

Hi! I'm a new knitter and have been pretty much learning on my own, which has its downside but also - there's no one telling me that I *can't* do something. I've learned that I LOVE stranded knitting and I LOVE knitting socks and I LOVE following charts, so lace is definitely in my future. I'm slowly learning that no matter how beautiful a knitted object is, or how talented the knitter who created it, my admiration for their skill doesn't mean that I have to knit the very same thing, or even something similar. I'm learning what projects I'm good at, what I want to hold off on until I get better, and (like the Harlot says in the latest Knitty) to really WANT yarn for 20 consecutive minutes before buying it! The only thing I'm envious of is how quickly some knitters produce FOs. Maybe that will come with time, but if not, it's okay because most of all, I LOVE knitting.

And I really like your blog. :o)

There is so much out "there" competing for our time and attention. I understand completely the need to pull back at times and put on blinders in order to focus on what is really important or meaningful...which may be very different from someone else's important or meaningful. Well said, Janet. (And thanks for comment on my blog about my important and meaningful new granddaughter. :)