Golly gosh. There were lots of responses to my last post. Clearly we are all afflicted with craftstipation at one time or another. Thank you, I found the empathy and advice most helpful.
I thought I should collate the wisdom that was imparted in the comments and feed it back to you all. So, here's what you had to say!!
Warning: longish post. Have moved from craftstipation to bloggarrhoea it seems!
Top tips for curing craftstipation:
1. Write some lists!
It's all about the lists, baby. This seems obvious, but actually I needed the reminder that getting things out of the head and down on paper can stop those overwhelming feelings of fear and directionlessness as I approach the craft zone, or the concern that if I don't start something new NOW I'll forget it (thanks to Curlypops, and Nikki the resident schoolmarm!). Of course, writing one big long jumbled of every creative urge and project is not helpful, so I've also taken on board the suggestion to categorize. I've now separated out my various creative lists into these categories:
*'TO DO' LIST: for the things I have promised and/or should be done to a deadline.
*'ON HOLD' LIST: for things that have been started but are not essential to finish or can wait a while (thanks Dillpickle). Some of these may move up onto the 'TO DO' LIST, or they may end up being chucked (if I can be ruthless like Mim!).
*The 'PRACTICAL CRAFT' LIST: for the mending, home-decorating or home-improvement creative projects. And for me, Wardrobe Refashioning goes here.
*The 'INSPIRATION/DREAMING' LIST: for the zillion things I find in my blog/book travels and would like to try one day (but not right now).
2. Limit your main projects list.
A really long list is not very motivating. Some very helpful advice came from Cherie of willywagtail who suggested a 'mini list' of just THREE projects, which you put in order and give yourself 'all the time in the world' to do. I think this is great advice. For me, the 'perceived pressure' (rather than actual pressure) can cause me to stall. I've combined this with Ellie of petalplum's suggestion to put time frames on things.
So now, my 'TO DO' LIST has just three items on it, all broken down into a few small steps so that I know what I'm up to and can even just do a little bit next time I make the time to craft. This already feels a lot better, and I'm looking forward to getting out my sewing machine tonight, as I know what I will be doing.
Oh, and I may well join in with 'Target Tuesday' over at Woolywotnots. For the accountability.
3. Don't promise things to people.
I'm a bit of a compulsive giver, and now a compulsive maker-for-others. Sounds like a few of us are in the same boat - turning our passion into obligation, promising things to friends and family then feeling like we can't deliver!
Leonie of Raglan Guld is onto a good thing I think with her advice - just stop promising things to people. Ellie suggested the same. This doesn't mean stop making anything for others - that's what I DO! - but keeping it a surprise takes away obligation and means there is an 'out'. So I'm going to try really hard to stop piping up with the phrase 'oh, I could make you one of those' or 'hey, I'm making you a little something'.
4. Do something creative for yourself.
This must be especially difficult for those who craft for business as well as pleasure I imagine. But I'm guilty of it, as Jenaveve of August Street identified! I'm going to take on board the suggestion from Bek of Red Chocolate and alternate between my lists. Now that I've separated things out a bit, I think I might be able to do that, and have a play around with some things on my INSPIRATION LIST without feeling like I've lost my way with my TO DO LIST.
There was a great post I read a while ago (was it from you, Jenaveve?) which described crafting without judging. Giving myself permission to potter with new materials and techniques without it having to become a new full-blown 'project' might help fulfil some of those creative urges and stop the stagnation.
5. Remember it's cyclical!
This reminder from M* was helpful. We're going to fluctuate and have down times. And as Linda at two pink possums said, you can't force the mojo! Be kind to myself. Eat chocolate (strong theme there people!). Browse blogland for inspiration and encouragement.
Despite my feelings of frustration, I have actually found this craft hiatus a very good time for some of the bigger-picture decluttering/creative recluttering that I'm trying to do. The fruits of which will appear in blog posts in the near future... yep, I think bloggarrhoea might be setting in for good!