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Analysis Paralysis

I am lucky to have some nice space in which to do creative work. There’s a substantial corner of a large room for my sewing and crafts and indoor projects, and there’s a two-car garage that only houses one car for my projects that are loud and dirty. Both are filled with tools and materials for future creative endeavors.

“Filled with” becomes a problem. Inside, I have boxes and piles of fabric and old clothes and half-finished projects, as well as bins and drawers of tools and supplies. Outside, the pile of scrap lumber has grown to the point that it interferes with productivity in the shop. It strikes me that I have a materials hoarding issue.

So why don’t I just start making stuff, which would entertain me, clear away the supplies, and leave me with whatever cool thing I made? Well, there’s sometimes a disconnect between the items available and the stuff I want to make – I’ll have woven fabric when I want a knit, or small pieces where I want to make something larger. Sometimes, I am frozen in action because I can think of three or four possible uses for a good item (like a large or nice piece of wood) and so I hesitate – because if I commit to making one of the items, I won’t be able to make the others. And sometimes, I am sure I know what I want to make, but I become frozen in place because I don’t quite know how to do it and I don’t want to ruin a bunch of materials doing it wrong.

All of this is irrational. Fundamentally, none of the things I want to make are essential, so there’s no harm in picking one thing to work on and delaying the rest. If I actually finished one thing, it would give me tremendous pleasure to see and use the item and know I made it. I can afford more materials and there’s even pleasure to be had in shopping for them – yes, right now I’m avoiding stores but the pandemic won’t last forever, and most of what I need can be found online. If I run out of lumber – well, lumber stores are probably safer than most, given that they tend to have high ceilings and plenty of ventilation and not many shoppers at once. Even then, I might be able to manage a phone order and delivery. And, if I try something and fail… at least I’ll have learned in the process.

So, it’s a gorgeous day outside, bright and warm, and I plan to go outside and see if I can manage to produce something cool in the garage. Wish me luck.


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