Wednesday, January 6, 2010

This speaks to

the root of my problem with prop building. I have noticed that I have become more and more hesitant to try building something unless I know that I can make it perfect. I see failure as the final outcome rather than just a bump in the road. When did this happen? I have made crap props before....and managed to learn from the experience and move on, but in the past few years, not so much so.

Lately, when wanting to try new things I have spent too much time soliciting advice (or more aptly, validation) from my friends and fellow prop builders to make sure that I will do it "right the first time" rather than just giving it a try and possibly learning something on my own rather than blaming/relying on the advice of someone else for the outcome of the final product.

The more I rely on others to validate my own path...the less I seem to move.

Don't get me wrong. I relish all the help and feedback from my friends and fellow yard haunters....the problem is with me not taking the momentum and moving forward.

Honestly, I am just afraid. That takes many forms, fear of them thinking I copied them, fear of not being original, fear of criticism, fear of failure - it is all the same. A complete waste of time. All, some or none of those things might come to pass - I never know, because I don't seem to try.

Then there is the endless, and I do mean endless, conditions that I put in my way...I need to have this, I need to work in this space, or I need to be in this mood, or I need the workspace clean.....I convince myself I have to wait until all these conditions are met, which almost never happens :D

Believe it or not, I do have a point here :D I was recently inspired by:

A Word of Advice by Anne Bogart

Do not assume that you have to have some prescribed conditions to do your best work.


Do not wait for enough time or money to accomplish what you think you have in mind.

Work with what you have right now.

Work with the people around you right now.

Work with the architecture you see around you right now.

Do not wait till you are sure that you know what you are doing.

Do not wait for what you assume is the appropriate, stress-free environment in which to generate expression.

Do not wait for maturity or insight or wisdom.

Do not wait until you have enough technique.

What you do now, what you make of your present circumstances will determine the quality and scope of your future endeavors.

And at the same time, be patient.

Thanks to my friend Mead Hunter for sharing these words of wisdom.

This was all driven home to me when I remembered back on the Christmas present I made husband. Without really thinking about it and the project as my main focus, I was able to create it despite, all these factors that would normally have stopped me:

· The shop is a frickin' mess after Halloween
· It was freezing in the shop, literally, I just came indoors every hour before frost bite set in :)
· I was able to create it in a small 24x24 inch space I cleared off the work bench -I did not need the "whole bench cleared" as I would have said I did if you asked me before I started the project :)
· I was trying a completely made up technique for part of the project
· It was too cold and wet to paint, but I drug out a heater and managed to dry primer and several coats of different color paint.
· My inability to measure the trim and use the chop saw correctly - husband is now the proud owner of a hand miter :)
· The fact that I could not find many of the wood working tools I needed and could not ask husband, lest I give the game away.
· It was meant to be surprise, but since husband works at home, I could not find time to do this without him knowing I was up to something....oh well, I changed gears and told myself that it would be fun knowing he has got to be wondering "what the hell is she doing out there?"
· Since it was the holidays, there were lots of unplanned events and visits (all very fun) that put the project way behind schedule

Even with all those things that would normally hinder me, I just kept going and finding solutions, never really stopping to think about what was going wrong and how things were not going as planned, I just focused on how to finish the project before Christmas Eve. And I did, not perfect, not exactly as I saw it in my mind, but nothing I cannot fix with a little more time and paint. And I happen to have both of those :D

For that project, it did not occur to me to "wait until...." and it still happened. Let's hope I can keep thinking this way.....just in case, I think I am going to print those words out and keep them in my pocket. :)

Thanks for reading (or skimming :D ) such a long post - I think we can call that one a Frog Queen Folly :D


  1. I vow to help you venture back into a "Care-Free"(ish) prop maker next season! (PS. Hubby's present was fantastic. I think it turned out amazing!)

  2. A great post and so true. I admit I struggle with some of the same problems.

    Sounds like you are overcoming many of your hesitations already. Try not to put too much pressure on yourself, like many of us do.(not my intention to sound like a shrink either) We all have our little hangups now and then. Keep those props coming!

  3. Some really fabulous advice for something I'm sure hits MANY of us... thank you for such a useful read.

  4. Good for you for figuring out that your time is better spent creating, than making sure your creations will work out 100%! No one likes to make mistakes, but they are part of the journey, and sometimes a mistake leads to to an even better creation than the thing you were trying to plan perfectly!

    I liked your "long" post. Ramble on!

  5. that was not such a 'downer' post--you had some wonderful we get older (as I certainly am), I think we tend to view possible future experiences the way you described them and before we even begin, we think: "oh, no, man, I'm not even going to try that! I know how that will turn out...". So, while with age comes wisdom, so too do we lose some of that adventurous spirit, that 'come hell or high water' attitude from which great discoveries and innovations are born. thanks for reminding us all to just DO IT!

  6. I don't think this post was too serious but rather very we develop a collection of successful achievements it becomes increasingly difficult to "just create."

    I relate to your feelings and continually strive to create just for the sake of creating without the burden of "thinking too much."

    Here's to moving forward with no inhibitions!

  7. Very insightful, very helpful. I sometimes worry about the same things; what if someone thinks I ripped them off? what if I'm not The Davis Graveyard caliper? I don't have this or that, when I get the shop cleaned...bla bla bla. All this does is paralyze me into doing nothing.

    Great post, not downer at all!

  8. Wise advice. I think I may have to copy some of those out for myself :)

  9. Every Halloween I create something I've never done before. Used to scare the dickens out of me. Well, actually, it STILL scares me, but it also exhilarates me.

    And somewhere along the way, my mindset switched from "I SHOULD try and make something new" to "It's pointless if I DON'T do something new". Because Halloween is our time of year to be bold and get out all of that pent up ghoulish creativity.

    You are definitely at the point where you have a solid base of knowledge. Enough that you can make logical deductions on what the next step of a project should be, however unfamiliar. And though it may surprise you, you know more than many of the people you look to for answers. I often forget how much I actually know, and I'm only reminded when I meet people who DON'T know these things. I think you're like me, and are always looking at people who seem to know more than you as you try to improve.

    And I'll tell you a secret: you know how to do something they don't know how to do. Something that would impress them.

    Finally, if you mess it up, you mess it up. But you learn from it. And that's priceless.

  10. Wise advice. I shall take them in consideration. First resolution of the year for PumpkinBrain: "Do not wait until spring to start repairing your old props and build new one".

    Happy new year Frog Queen!

  11. I'll draw it on cocktail napkins- you run with it. I can personally guarantee that it'll (sorta)work (for a given value of 'work)... at least, occasionally(just not right this minute).
    My word (mumbled and incomprehensible) on it.

  12. I finally got a chance to sit down and absorb all that you shared. .for some reason, I felt that I should just read it "on the run", and I thank you SO much for posting it!

    I copied it to remind myself to not wait. .I'm guilty of that through and through.

    Here, I've been admiring all that you do, not knowing your own obstacles! lol

    Thanks so much for sharing this encouraging post!

  13. Thanks everyone. I have to say, as soon as I saw that is was up there and I read it took everything I had in me at that moment not to delete this post :D

    Thanks for making me glad I didn't - now back to prop building!!



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