Motivational Difficulties

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I’ve been trying to get back into the swing of things here, with very little success. Ever since I got off the plane on Tuesday morning, I’ve been trying to “get it together” and “get back to normal” and I can’t figure out why I’m not getting there. I just don’t feel like doing anything. Except reading. That’s about it, truly; I just feel like reading books. Which makes me feel like a total slacker…

Perhaps it’s because I’ve spent the last year and a half or two years being horribly busy all.the.time., with never enough time to do all the stuff that had to be done, much less all the stuff I wanted to do. So even though I now have some breathing room, I can’t for the life of me figure out what to do with it.

Maybe it’s because I know that there are still so many things I need to be doing right now that I just can’t even figure out which one I should start on. And that’s not taking Christmas or the impending house move into account either. None of these things I need to do have looming deadlines (“looming” meaning within the next week or three), and since I do seem to work well under a deadline, that may also be part of the problem.

Or possibly this completely overwhelming, insane and quite astonishing array of “stuff” that I brought back with me from my trip is causing some ambivalent feelings:

Quilt Market and Des Moines Quilt Expo loot

That’s my 24″ x 36″ cutting mat that’s completely covered under there! Fabrics, threads, fibers, charms, beads, sequins, ribbons, silk petals, wire lace, grommets and brads, needles, etc., etc., etc. It’s mostly new stuff that I either hadn’t seen before, or hadn’t been able to get my hands on. And then there’s the imaginary pile of stuff that I didn’t buy, but brought home literature about so that I can track it down later when I need it.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s some really awesome and totally cool stuff in this pile, and on the one hand I can’t wait to play with it all. But on the other hand, I still have awesome and totally cool stuff from last year’s Quilt Market as well as last year’s Des Moines Quilt Expo that I haven’t played with very much because I just haven’t had the time, so maybe I just feel like I’ve been run over and flattened by the great idea/good intentions truck, and the implementation/completion truck isn’t following as closely behind as it ought. 😐

So despite the fact that I spent a lot of time during my trip to the States thinking about how great it was going to be to get home and relax a little bit after being so busy for so long, I still feel like a slacker, and I’m left almost wondering if the creative energy will all come back at some point or if it’s on a permanent burn out vacation and has left no forwarding address. I suppose I’ll get there; yes, I’m sure I will eventually. It just may take a while to figure out exactly where “there” is after the last year and a half of totally crazy roller coaster rides…and right now I’m off to read a book, or work a puzzle with LittleOne, or watch a movie perhaps, but nothing that will make me think too hard. I’ll worry about the rest of it tomorrow…or the next day…or the day after…

Nadine Quilting smiley from

20 thoughts on “Motivational Difficulties

  1. I nearly always have a week or two of paralysis after I come home from a long trip. The only time I don’t is if I have an urgent deadline and have to get back into a project. I just give it some time and then everything is back to normal.
    Sorry I missed you at Houston, never seemed to be in the building when I knew you were. Hope we will both be somewhere at the same time another time!

    • “Paralysis” is the perfect word for it, Ann! And it probably wouldn’t be so bad if I had some major project that I needed to work on right now, as opposed to being a bit at loose ends.

      Sorry we missed each other in Houston, but I did see your quilt in the Burgoyne Surrounded exhibit at the Des Moines show, and it was truly lovely. Photos just never do these works of art justice, do they? I’m so glad I got to see it!

  2. Welcome to my world. One of the most difficult things about traveling, or just taking a trip, is getting back in the groove when you return. It’s like you are a stranger in your own studio. Here’s what I do: I dust. I dust, and the process seems to open up the pathways to clarity. You got some nice booty there (and by that I mean the pile of stuff); Organize it and put it away (and be sure to dust, I’m not kidding), and the muse will come back. Trust me. Report back.

    • Heh, I did do a bit of dusting and straightening, though I didn’t put all the booty away; there is now a “booty box” sitting on the floor by the cutting table, since I needed the cutting mat for something else on Sunday (more about that in a day or two). The muse is coming back…slowly, but surely… 🙂

  3. Allow yourself some time. Don’t push things, the inspiration will return when your mind and body have had time to refresh.
    Spend time with your favourite books, family and don’t feel guilty about it.
    Rian has some excellent ideas there too.

    • Hi Mandy! I spent an awful lot of time with a book last night, until after 3 a.m. in fact, and then tried not to feel too guilty when I didn’t wake up until after 11 a.m. this morning. Oops. Good book though! 😉

        • 🙂 Right now I’m finishing up the romances I bought to take on my trip with me (the last one is one of Mary Balogh’s, but not one of her best it must be said). I’m in a total rush to be done with it though, because after that I’m going to start on the new Robert Jordan/Brandon Sanderson book, The Gathering Storm and I hope I don’t end up having to go back and read the 11 prior books in the series first. If you like fantasy/Tolkien-type stuff you might like this, but be prepared to invest major amounts of time to read them all from the beginning, in addition to two more years for the conclusion of the series. This will be a 23 year odyssey for me by the time it’s done!

  4. I think this is totally normal. It took me weeks to get back into the groove after Spring Market. It wasn’t until I did a major overhaul of my sewing area, found homes for all the goodies I brought back, that I really felt back in the swing of things.

    Enjoy the downtime. Your creative spirit will nip you in the butt soon enough when it’s ready.

    • Hey Michele! I guess I didn’t go through this last year because almost as soon as I arrived home, I started working on the manuscript for the book to the exclusion of almost everything else. I guess I’d forgotten how hard it is to get back to normal after a trip, since before last year’s October shows, I hadn’t been away for at least a couple of years. You’re probably right that this is completely normal!

  5. You need to listen to your mental, emotional and physical state. If what you feel like doing is NOTHING, then that’s probably a good thing to follow through on….


    • Well at the moment, I can’t be accused of not doing what I feel like doing (except when it comes to making dinner, which I don’t feel like doing, but must do anyway…)!

  6. I have read that most of our creative processing and ideas come when we are in down time. It is important to respect this and let yourself be idle. Plus – jet lag is no easy thing to toss aside. The body clock is a strong force. So, I say read. And DO NOTHING.

    • Kelly, I think you must have the right of it. I’ve been doing as much of nothing as I ever do really, and I’m starting to feel the pull of creativity. I think some new projects and ideas are starting to take shape in my mind, and I’m feeling more “normal!”

  7. I call it a “slump”. It used to happen to me about once every year . . . thankfully now it happens less than that, but I can totally relate . . . and YES! your creativity WILL come back, probably stronger than ever — it just needs a vacation, too!

  8. I’m glad to see the “Booty” made it back in one piece….How did the book do? Enjoy the down time to rejuvenate. Christmas markets are just around the corner! I’m busy today are you busy tomorrow or Thurs? Ready for a chat?

    • The book arrived with only one slightly crinked corner, which is still in much better shape than it would have been had I ordered it from Amazon! Thanks again for schlepping all that stuff across the country for me and mailing it!

  9. You put into words exactly how I’ve been feeling since I got back from Houston, but you have reason to be exhausted after the busy past couple of years.

    I spent the weekend cleaning up my sewing room as, like you, I had everything stacked on my table and I just didn’t want to spend any time in there as I felt it overwhelmed me. I must admit after cleaning the whole room up, I’m anxious to get creative again.

    • Hi Irene! Too bad we didn’t get together in Houston, but you were busy with friends, and I was busy with work! Maybe next time.

      I saw what you did in your sewing room, and all I could say was WOW! I didn’t go to those great lengths yet in my studio, though I probably should… 🙂

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