Crafting Variety

Creative Improvement Through Practice

I’ll admit that creative improvement has not been high on my priority list. 

A tote bag from my Etsy shop
These tote bags keep getting better the more I make.

Whenever I sit down to sew, there’s the voice that reminds me that I need to get more done for my Etsy site. I don’t have nearly enough products up. My pictures need improvement. Have I looked over my descriptions? What about tags? What about engaging in social media? The list is endless.

So every chance I get, I construct a tote bag, stitch a quilt together, or design journal covers. I have limited time, and I need to use every moment I can to make my Etsy shop better.

However, by skipping the practice, even with the quilting and sewing experience I have, I am doing myself a disservice. I do spend a lot of time watching videos and taking classes to learn new techniques. What I don’t do is set aside time to practice them.

‘But you don’t have time.’ I hear that inner voice whine.

Perhaps not. I need to make time. To achieve that creative improvement goal I have a few ideas…

Schedule time. This is a counter intuitive option for me. As soon as I declare I’m going to sew at a specific time, I don’t. I think my mind rebels at the thought of being restricted, and I will find anything else to do but what I had intended to. Laundry, cleaning, reading…doesn’t matter what the distraction is, I find it. When I say schedule, what I prefer to do is fit in a couple half hour blocks dedicated to practice. Sometimes fifteen minutes. Sometimes five. Depending on how crazy life is that week. By being flexible, I am free to practice more. Instead of saying ‘I must’, change the view ‘I get to’.

Prep ahead of time. This is even more important than scheduling. If I make it easy, I’ll do it. Setting up a practice quilt sandwich (top, batting, backing) to try out a free motion quilt design works well. I’ll tell myself just to do a corner or a line and usually end up finishing the entire piece.

Remember it’s just practice. I have a challenging time when things aren’t just so, especially with my quilting. Which is why it’s even more important to practice. I have to remember that the more I practice, the better my Etsy items are going to be. It’s worth the time.

Immediately try new techniques. I’m great at needing to replay things in my head to get them right before I do them. Which means I don’t do them because I end up psyching myself out before I even start. My new attempt will be watching a new skill and trying it out shortly thereafter.

Will these new techniques assist me with creative improvement and becoming a better artist? I have no idea, but I hope so. I’ll certainly report back. What about you? Are there techniques you use to practice your art? Tell me about them by commenting below or posting on social media. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

New to Heart of Autumn? Sign up for my email newsletter (right hand navigation) where you can get discounts, previews of Etsy products, and sneak peeks of works in progress.