As a creative who also happens to have combined-type ADHD, OCD, perfectionism and rejection sensitivity, amongst other things, life can be pretty tough at times, and the creative process is no exception.
Truth be told, I've been experiencing a bit of a work block, at least in terms of my HollyPCrafts work, I have thankfully been able to get some work done on my book (which isn't craft related). Part of the reason has been due to some aspects of having ADHD (time blindness; organisation and motivation difficulties; needing to try to get not just back into a routine, but into a new routine at that, when so much has been changing etc.), and so trying to actually find time to get work done has been challenging, along with the fact that mentally and physically I've also felt worse at times. The other reasons, however, have been due to the perfectionist side of me, who also has diagnosed rejection sensitivity linked to my ADHD, meaning that I'm highly sensitive to actual or perceived criticism, and am basically phobic of getting anything wrong, failing etc., which is never very helpful, particularly as a creative person.
I've felt scared to actually post any work photos because I worry that my work's not good enough, that my photos aren't good enough, and that I work at too slow a pace compared to everyone else (I really have to limit my time looking at my work social media accounts as, much as I love seeing what other people are doing and want/need to network, seeing what everyone else is accomplishing, especially if they seem to balance way more than I do, tips me very easily into playing the comparison game, which can make me struggle even more).
At the moment I'm working on a new skill and project (although it does combine two things that I already do). I've wanted to try macraweaving for almost as long as I've wanted to try macramé, as it looks really cool and combines two textile skills that I enjoy. The problem is, though, that I have to learn how to successfully combine the two skills (macramé and weaving) in a way that works well, and I'm still stuck on my first piece, which at least in my opinion doesn't look very good. I don't like not being good at things and having to practice and hone my beginner's skills (I still need to build up the confidence to retry making sourdough starter after my first attempt went mouldy last summer).
I think an additional problem for me is that whilst I'm a creative person and very much enjoy that, I have a fairly non-existent visual imagination/memory, and so can't picture things very well (blank spaces, for instance, can make me feel very anxious), meaning that imagining how things will look and what colours may complement one another can be extremely difficult.
Also, if I "fail at something" aka try something which doesn't quite work so have to retry it until it does, I feel like I've wasted valuable time and so will then beat myself up over that for the next few hours or so, which isn't very conducive to the creative process or getting work done, or life in general really. I also feel that each item I make with the intention of selling it needs to be completed ready to be bought, rather than allowing myself to try things out and then maybe say, "You know what, let's just call this a trial piece, practice your skills and try out some ideas, ready until you're happy with it and can make something else for the shop; it's absolutely fine, don't worry".
I'm trying to allow God to use my craft projects (especially the macramé) to teach me that it's ok to not be perfect, I and my work are never going to be this side of eternity, but I can learn, have fun and start to challenge my need for control whilst doing the work that I love and believe He's called me to do. Things being asymmetrical, uneven, not how I'd imagined etc. can cause me a lot of anxiety, but I'm trying to do some CBT on myself and learn to accept things not being just right (at least in my craft work, other things like odd socks, definitely not!).
I'm hoping that writing this blog post and then completing some other hopefully more straight forward pieces will help to shift the work/creative block (and actually photographing and listing my current outstanding pieces; that may involve having to reward myself at various stages (ADHD, amongst other things, is an interest-based disorder, and those of us with ADHD brains have lower dopamine levels so don't get the same satisfaction/dopamine hit from completing tasks, particularly more mundane or challenging ones as those without ADHD)).
Many thanks for reading this blog post. Please feel free to share or comment if you've found it helpful or think that someone else may. If you have any questions, then please feel free to ask.
God Bless and see you next time,
Hi! I'm Holly. I'm a Christian and a textile crafter, cardmaker and writer based in Stoke-on-Trent (UK). I hope my products and content inspire you to give crafting and homemaking a try, or indeed any new skill or hobby that you're interested in. Thank you for visiting!