It happens to all of us. Those periods of time when you just can't seem to get inspired to sew. This phenomenon is sometimes referred to as "losing your mojo" and it can be disconcerting for sure! There are as many causes as there are quilters, but common reasons include illness, fatigue, stress, anxiety, feeling overwhelmed, depression, family issues or just needing a new focus. These dry spells of inspiration can signal a time when we need to re-group and re-evaluate so we can move forward. Often times, they are a sign we need to change direction in our lives and move into alignment with our joy and purpose. Losing one's mojo can be a gift, if we choose to see it that way. But, when enough is enough, just how do you find your quilting mojo again?
Sometimes, a few days away from the studio is exactly what is needed but, what if our mojo is still elusive? What if we wait, and wait, and wait some more and still no mojo? Practically speaking, how do we get un-stuck? Do we just wait passively until our mojo reappears? Are we powerless in the face of it's absence? Of course not! There are steps we can take to help ourselves get un-stuck and back in the studio, happily piecing and quilting and doing all the things quilters love to do!
The following list is a starting point. It's a place to focus your attention, which will in turn help your creativity flow again. Sometimes, it will be hard because you won't feel inspired to take these steps. However, if you've decided its time to try and do something to get your mojo back, you have already taken the first step. You don't need to do all these things. Choose one and focus on completing it. If you don't feel like it, "Fake it 'till you make it", meaning, by going through the motions, you will be shifting your energy and creating a new space in which to move forward...and a space for your mojo to return. It's all about shifting the energy, changing your focus and creating a new "place" for your mojo to emerge...
Clean and Simplify
Clean your sewing space/room. (No groaning!) This is a good starting point. It's a physical action that clears out the old to make room for the new. It takes no creativity or special inspiration. It is something you can physically do to help you move from being stagnant, to being productive again. Start with the simple tasks like dusting, emptying the wastebasket, vacuuming or mopping the floor. Cleaning is cathartic. Don't underestimate the effect having a clean space can have on your attitude, mood and sense of well being.
While you are cleaning, take some extra time to clear out any cluttered areas. Get rid of any items you don't use any longer. Some options are to donate them to a local guild, gift them to a friend, or sell them on-line. Be ruthless! Less is more. By simplifying your sewing space, you will find it easier to focus and direct your creative energy.
Organize Your Space
Choose one area (or the whole room!) and organize it to be less cluttered and more accessible. Don't let yourself get too overwhelmed at the thought of organizing your whole room. If it's too much at the moment, you can choose just one drawer, one closet, one bookcase. Take everything out, discard what no longer serves you and put everything back in an organized way. This simple act can help you shift your outlook and help make room for that mojo to re-appear. For ideas on how to organize and create more space, see my blog post Sewing Room Organization - Ideas for Creating More Space.
Clean out your Stash
Depending on the size of your stash, this can be a daunting thought! You may choose to go at it in stages. First, clear out any fabrics that you no longer like (what was I thinking when I bought this?). Again, a few options are to donate them to a local guild, gift them to a friend, or sell them on-line. The next step is to look at your scraps and decide which ones you will realistically use and discard the rest. See my blog post Sewing Room Organization for ideas on scrap organization and storage. Lastly, fold and stack the remainder of your stash fabrics. Having a newly organized fabric stash goes a long way to restoring your creative juices. You may run across some fabric you had forgotten about and that may be all it takes to kick your mojo into high gear!
This seems like a no-brainer, but it's so hard to do! Life gets busy. We all have too many irons in the fire. Sometimes, its this very issue that causes our mojo to retreat as we shut down everything within ourselves in an attempt to find balance once again. Choose to make time for your quilting. Choose to make time for yourself. Re-center yourself by setting boundaries and asserting your priorities. Making time to do what you love is therapy! For a look at how quilting boosts our endorphin levels, improves our mood and increases our sense of well-being, see my blog post Quilting is Therapy - Its all About the Endorphins!
Chances are, if your mojo has been missing for any length of time, you are feeling heavy, like a wet blanket is over you, suppressing your mood and spirit. Taking steps to "lighten-up" can help you break out from under the heaviness, so you can access your mojo again. One of the easiest ways to lighten up is to listen to music! Put on something you love, something that gets your feet tapping and your spirit moving. Dance around the house (dance like no one is watching...singing along is optional!). Another way to lighten up is to spend time in nature, just soaking up the beauty and simplicity. Pack a picnic and go to your local park, or just eat lunch on the patio! Prayer or mediation can help lighten your mood as well, especially when you are trying to reconnect with your creative inspiration.
Start a New Project
If you just can't get back into the groove enough to "pick up where you left off", start a new project! Don't worry about not finishing your previous project (we all have UFO piles!). What's important right now is to feel inspired enough to want to quilt again. Don't worry if or when you will finish all, some, or any of your UFO's (unfinished objects). If a new project will get your creative juices flowing again, go for it!
Treat Yourself to Something New
There is nothing like perusing a well stocked quilt store (brick and mortar or on-line) to get some inspiration flowing. If your budget allows, treat yourself to a new notion, tool, ruler, or charm pack. Buy a yard of fabric to complement something already in your stash, a new pattern, or even an entire quilt project! New scenery can bring inspiration and add new interest, so don't be shy about treating yourself to something new.
Learn Something New
Making the effort to learn a new skill can go a long way to helping you get your mojo back. Maybe you have always wanted to learn English Paper Piecing? How about curved piecing? Learn how to use that new specialty ruler. Have you always wanted to try art quilting, or perfect your applique skills? You get the idea. Most brick and mortar quilt shops have in-person classes available. If that doesn't appeal to you or work with your schedule, there are many on-line options for learning new quilting skills. Delve into something new and through your new focus, create a path for your mojo to return.
I hope I have provided some inspiration to help you find your quilting mojo. As in all things, balance is key. DO NOT beat yourself up if you are feeling uninspired. Inspiration is always in flux. Honor the ebbs and flows in your own creative process and don't be paralyzed if you feel void of creativity or inspiration. These practical steps can help you shift the energy to get things moving in the right direction again. By taking action, we move from passively waiting for our mojo to return (inactive) to creating our own mojo (proactive).
Until next time, Happy Quilting!