Sunday, October 27, 2013


Every once in a while, I get in a really crafty mood. Sometimes it's the result of a project that's been mulling in my head and finally spills out, demanding attention (must! buy! yarn!). Other times it's from a need to do something with my hands and be away from people. Often, it's the drive to try something new.

For the last week or two, I've been working on my Halloween costume, a Regency-style dress so I can be Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice. (Yes... book nerd...) I've never done such an involved sewing project before. I had to carefully read the instructions, troubleshoot problems, and worst of all, hand sew buttonholes. I even opted for period accuracy and hand stitched the visible seams. I usually wouldn't put in so much time for a Halloween costume, but my hope is that I can possibly use it in the future for reenactments and cosplay. (And now I can be Lizzie Bennet whenever I want.)

Making the dress started me thinking about the patience it must have taken to live in a time where people had to make their own clothes, grow their own food, and repair their own tools. Things we take for granted, even get irritated about if they take too long, were simply considered work to be done. People had to be productive in order to get to what was more important.

Except I realized that didn't have anything to do with me making the dress.

For me, doing something like sewing a dress simply because I can is a way to instantly feel accomplished. Since I'm good at doing crafty things, trying a different crafty thing feels like something new, but really it's just another exercise in things I know I can do. It doesn't take too much effort, but I still end up with a tangible manifestation of how skillful I am.
Even when I try something completely new to me, the beginning stages are often easier to grasp, so it feels like I'm making progress. I do believe it's important for a person to be able to do a wide variety of things, but in RPG terms, my weakness is a tendency to multiclass. And giving in to the excitement of trying new things can take away from working on more important things -- skills where I now need to put in a lot of effort to improve and really accomplish something.

Namely, writing.

Because I love learning, it's easy to feel satisfied when trying something new. It is much harder to get past the beginning stages and dedicate myself to becoming an expert. Writing my novel is proving difficult. It's no longer new and interesting, but if I want to excel at it, I'm only going to improve if I keep working, rather than distracting myself with easier projects.

It's funny how doing something by hand can show you how short your attention span really is.

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