Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The UFO Dilemma

Blogger isn't letting me post pictures right now, so don't blame me if this post is word-heavy! I started to write this as a reply to an email message from one of the YahooGroups I’m on, but the more I wrote the more it looked like a good blog post instead. So here it is — plus more.

I think we get too many UFOs when our desires become more than our time and hands can produce. We get excited about something new. Plus if something goes awry with a current project we want to go on to something else when we can't figure out how to fix it right away. Unless you are really super-disciplined (ok, downright anal) you're going to have a bunch of UFOs no matter how hard you try to avoid them. But sometimes your pile of UFOs can be a drain on your psyche, to say nothing of your storage space. So my thought is to kind of strike a balance between the desire to start new things and the need to finish old ones. Yeah, if only it was that easy. However I do have a few strategies and I'm trying to put them into practice.

I've discovered that there are some things in the UFO pile that will never-ever-in-my-lifetime get finished. I've vowed to either take them apart in order to reuse the materials in something else or (horrors!) Chuck Them Out! I thought about passing them on to somebody else but let's face it, everybody has their own UFOs — they don't want yours too.

OK that gets rid of some of your UFOs. The next bunch are almost-but-not-quite-finished. Maybe the bloom was gone on the romance with the idea or something else came and swept you off your feet. Whatever. These will be quick to check off the list because they're almost done! So either do it -- or see the previous paragraph.

The hardest things to eliminate from the UFO pile are the ones that aren't quite working out but still have potential. Sometimes after a good long separation from it, the cure will suddenly occur to you. Or you might go in a different direction entirely from where you left off. Or you just gird your loins, buckle down, and finish the darn thing. The latter works best for those projects that aren't really bad but just boring and tedious. Tease yourself to finish by offering incentives like "If I do X-amount of this, then I can do something more exciting for X-amount of time". Repeat until it's done. Remind yourself that it's the process that really counts anyway. If all else fails, threaten it with Reduction Into Spare Parts or The Round File.

Now if only I could take my own advice, eh?

Further to the UFO list is the Desire List. It's almost as long but doesn't take up as much room because it's all in my head or at most in my Design & Inspiration Book. Have I mentioned my Book? It’s just a fat 3-ring binder (and soon becoming TWO fat 3-ring binders) full of stuff that I started in the Fall of 2004. There are two major parts: the Ideas section and the Finished Objects section. It’s obvious why it’s going to be two books — there’s an easy division and it’s getting too full. All I have to do is take the second section out and give it its own binder. I’ll have to make coordinating cover insertions for it too. This one will be for each project as I finish it. I write it up, add photos, print it out on cardstock, and attach any relevant swatches or snippets to the pages. It’s all there for reference when I plan future projects or when I think I haven’t really done anything lately.

Other Stuff

Go check out the new Spring issue of Spindlicity just up today.

And tomorrow I’ll mention some more podcasts that I’ve been listening to while beading. There are getting to be so many now: mostly knitting, some general crafts, and just for you, Susan darlin’, there’s a weaving one! There’s only one episode so far however but I'm sure there will be more coming.

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