I received a note from a beader on Facebook this week asking, "...what are you up to these days?" Boy...other than working a full-time job, fostering a loving relationship, preparing for yet another move (we bought a house!), dealing with an emptying nest as my son graduates high school and leaves home for the military and college, and then coping with the everyday drama of my teenage daughter, hmmm... not much!
I'm pretty sure the person who asked the question was wondering what I've been beading lately, though, and that's a little more difficult to answer. As a technical editor for Beadwork magazine, I bead in my head all day long, but like so many of my friends and colleagues, I find it difficult to carve out creative time in which I can get some actual beading done. That is, unless I have a deadline.
Deadlines are often the only way I get anything done, especially beading. They put a fire under my buns and get me to clear my schedule, making creativity a priority. I figure I snap to it when it comes to a deadline for a couple reasons: First, when someone asks me to do a piece, I feel I'm beholden to them; that person is counting on me to get the piece finished. It's kind of like having an exercise buddy--you exercise more when you have a friend to do it with. I envision the person who gave me the deadline and I as an artistic team. In that same "Go Team" vein is the second reason I like deadlines--it's a fun challenge! I turn this challenge into a sort of creative game, complete with a game board (my detailed to-do list); small celebrations when I cross things off the to-do list (i.e., I get to put a load of laundry in...I know, that sounds lame, but that's how I get any housework done, too!); and a big reward when I'm finished (this often includes chocolate). For me, turning the deadline into a game makes working on the piece something enjoyable that I can look forward to every day.
Luckily I've got a new deadline approaching. I've been invited to participate in the "Toho Challenge". Team Toho sent me (and several other designers) this beautiful kit of beads from which I need to make a masterpiece (no pressure). If it's any good, it'll be on display at the Bead & Button show next month. Can I do it by May 24? We'll see! I'll be sure to keep you apprised of my progress.
Do deadlines work for you like they work for me? If not, how do you manage to carve creative time into your schedule? Please share your tips and tricks below so we can all benefit.
Senior editor, Beadwork magazine