30 December 2014

Project Goals: A Check-In

Last September, I posted this about some changes I felt I needed to make in my project-ing habits (mostly for SCA, but also applicable to my mundane projects).

To wit:

  1. Limit the number of projects I take on at a time, so that I don't overload myself. 
  2. Establish expected delivery date before committing to a project.  Ditto project parameters. 
  3. Procrastination issues: 
    1. Work on each project for at least two hours per week - no putting things off til the last week. 
    2. Stop putting off things for myself, or mundane projects, until I "get my work done." It just stresses me out. 
  4. Clean up and put away my toys when I'm done with a project. 

How have I done? 

You know, I was paging back through my blog, and I came across that post, and I laughed out loud.  Sort of a barking sound, really.  But then I read it through, and really thought about it, and I think I've done pretty darned well in the past four months! 

All of 2014, really, has been an exercise in learning not to take on too much work at a time.  I've had a hard time learning to say "no" and "not right now," but I've done it.  I've learned to do that.  And it's done me a world of good. 

I think going into a project with clear expectations on my part and the part of my clients is doing us all a LOT of good.  My first question is, "When do you need it?", and then we get right down to drawing up some designs, setting expectations, and going over what's feasible and what's not - and THEN I accept, or I can I say that a project is more than I can take on right now; and there are always options at that point (check with me in a month, or, I'll let you know when I'm finished with X, or "Maybe you could ask Lady Whosit, she does this kind of thing far better than I").   I think this process is making me easier to work with. :) 

I'm no longer separating "fun" from "work" - it's all fun, that's why I do it! And I've found that having more than one project gives me relief when I need it.  Something's frustrating me to no end and I'm banging my head against the sewing machine aimlessly?  Switch projects to clear my head and lift my mood! It's great! 

And I AM cleaning up my toys at the end of a project.  My sewing room is usually pretty clean nowadays - no more walking in, throwing up my hands in disgust, and walking out again simply because I just cannot work in there the way it is.  Ditto my workshop in the garage.  It's come in extremely handy in the last couple of months as I've prepared my house in various ways for the addition of a roommate, too, and even in the moving and unpacking process.  

So, what's next? 

For right now, I'm 100% focused on getting ready for Candlemas in February.  After that, it's all about Gulf Wars in March (technically, I should have started that like three months ago, but that's another blog post for another day).  

Now that the Room of Requirement (i.e. having converted my gigantic master bedroom into a craft room for my roommate and I to share) is complete and functioning REALLY WELL, I find I'm actually working more quickly than I was before, and I have a lot more workspace in which to organize the various stages of project completion. Yay! 

A New Frontier

*deeeep breath before I up and say this out loud*

So I'm branching out into actual A&S competition.  For my whole, whopping five years in the SCA I've been perfectly content to work in the background, not calling attention to myself.  I had my reasons, and some of them still stand, to be honest.  Earlier this year a good friend convinced me to display at an A&S table - not compete, but display, which took the fear-of-judgment out of the equation.  A little, anyway.  And I discovered that it was TOTALLY FUN.  I discovered I actually want to start entering competitions, which, to be honest, freaks me out a little, LOL.  I've been lurking around A&S tables at events ever since, examining the process and expectations as well as the staggering and gorgeous array of talent this kingdom has to offer, and I find, I want to join in.  
So here goes nothin'. 

On Project Delivery

One thing I've noticed - I've always noticed, really, but it's been on my mind ever since BAM in November - is that I am absolute pants at delivering any sort of project closure on this blog, and it's driving me NUTS.  I'm only posting "after" or finished pictures of projects on this blog, seriously, like maybe thirty percent of the time, and that's not okay.  This blog is supposed to be a record, a reference for myself on future projects, and a way to show people what I do; and yet it's mostly a slapdash assortment of plans that look unfulfilled.  I HATE THAT SO MUCH.  I do so much more than what you see here! 

So my "New Year's resolution", if it's that, is to get serious about posting finished pictures and project wrap-up posts here, on  every project.
  • One problem is that I really don't have a good space in my home in which to photograph myself in my finished outfits.    
  • Another issue is that I'm in the habit of thinking, "Oh, it's okay - I'll get pictures at the event coming up" - and then I don't, because I'm too busy or I'm having too much fun to remember.  I ran around BAM with a camera in my hand and never once did it occur to me to hand it to someone and ask them to photograph me!  DERP. 
A friend of mine and I have ben discussing this issue, because we both do it, and have decided to get together at some point in the next few weeks for a joint fashion show and photo shoot, hehe.  That'll catch me up on projects for myself that I've already finished.  From there on out, though, I'll have to really stick to the concept of photography and blogging as the final stage of a project - not an afterthought. 

Oh, and one more thing. 

The other major point in that September post was a commitment to really doing a job on every project - no more working my butt off for other people and then half-assing the work I do for myself.  I'm proud to say that not only have I stuck to that, the ripple effects from that commitment have been a pleasant surprise. 

When you've been sewing for twenty-eight years, things get a little old hat.  And you start cutting corners just to get things DONE.  At least, I did. For a long time. And I was mad at myself for doing it - but I was so overloaded that, well, you know.  

So now I'm not doing that any more.  I'm paying way more attention to detail.  I'm feeling really proud of everything I do.  I'm really feeling that every project IS better than the last.  I'm suddenly excited about refining my current skills and making them even better, and turning out higher-quality work.  

I'm getting really interested in expanding my skill set as well.  I've been reading up on all sorts of new styles of historical dress, new embroidery methods, various types of weaving (I'll be inkle looming by the end of this week, in fact).  I'm also learning a bit about tailoring techniques from a that same A&S friend, and from some online reading I've been doing, and it's really exciting!  (I've always been a seamstress and a dressmaker; but until now I've never even understood that *tailoring* is a completely different discipline, and it's fascinating).  

The moral of the story:  

Never do anything half-assed. ALWAYS USE YOUR WHOLE ASS. 

And, of course: 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Hooray, comments! Be nice to each other, and to me. Or I shall boot your ass and then mail you a dead fish. :D