Unfinished Quilt: How Praise Froze My Project

We need to be careful who sees our work when it’s still in process. I’ve learned this from writing and from quilting. My quilting experience is particularly surprising, because I discovered that early praise can be as harmful as early scorn.

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Quilt Show Lesson: Every Work of Art Has Its Fans

In the world of the internet, it can be hard to understand the value of making things yourself. There is so much competition out there, so many people better at what you are doing than you are. A meme or video goes viral, and suddenly everyone you know is talking about baby Yoda. In such a world, it’s easy to feel very small and that your efforts aren’t worth much. Those focused on fame tell us that if you don’t have at least 100,000 followers, you’re wasting your time.

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Waiting for Inspiration? Spend the Time Practicing

There’s a belief that all the great artists are inspired, that what makes their work wonderful is a brilliant idea or new insight. But this is just a myth. A single moment of brilliance can be blinding to the rest of us, but there’s more to it than that. You can’t make use of inspiration if you don’t know how to use your medium. Great art comes from lots of work, which can be summed up in one word: practice.

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Keep The Channel Open: Creative Advice From Martha Graham

It’s easy to keep yourself from creating. All you have to think is “This has been done before” or “I’m not good enough.” But in a letter to Agnes de Mille, Martha Graham wrote the following:

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Doing The Thing Every Day — Gently

Creativity takes practice, which is why people say “You should write every day” (or draw or sculpt or dance or play the tuba every day). There’s an understandable emphasis on consistency, on showing up again and again to do the thing, whatever it is. On working steadily, even if it’s slowly, so that, like the tortoise, we can cross the finish line. Even creativity guru Julia Cameron says so.

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