Today's guest post is very special to me. It's from my real life bff and college roomie Elizabeth. Elizabeth isn't a mom (yet!), but she definitely understands self-imposed pressure and the challenges of finding balance in the blogging world. You can find her lovely craft-ish blog over at shelikesstripes.com.
When story asked me to write, I was nervous, because I'm not a mom (although I am not-so-patiently awaiting that day...), so I wasn't sure what I would have to say that would be fun or interesting, especially since I have been letting real life get in the way of my own blogging lately.
And the reason for that? My own self-imposed rules get in the way. I have a bad habit of getting myself into really involved blogging, photography, and craft projects, and then jumping through hoops to live up to the rules of these projects. I suppose part of me find the rules of a project to be very, very motivating... until they start to become sort of overwhelming. Here's a short run-down of the projects I've undertaken in the last few years:
--Project 365 (a photo a day for a year straight, undertaken FOUR SEPARATE times now. I'm currently almost at 100 days in year four)
--Scavenger Hunt 101 (a photo scavenger hunt)
--27 Things to do While I'm 27
--28 Things to do While I'm 28
--30 Before 30
and my current project: Handmade52, where I'm attempting to make a craft or cook something (I lived by myself up until mid-July of this year, when I moved in with my boyfriend, and I do NOT cook) each week for a whole year.
The problem, of course, is that I don't seem to be able to stop myself once I get into a project like this. I took a personality test once at a work training session that basically told me that I was an order-loving, rule-following person who loved things to be organized and as they should be and predictable. At first, I was sort of horrified, as I've always imagined myself as an easygoing creative type, a writer who then got into photography, who always secretly pictured herself as a novelist in a sunny attic room, writing the days away. And then the reality dawned on me, that I spent years as a librarian and I'm now an accountant, and when I was a kid? I collected business cards. BUSINESS CARDS, people. So I guess... I do like the rules.
And once I get myself into a project with numbers and/or deadlines, I really can't conceptualize just stopping. I got to day 92/365! I can't just... stop. I have completed 38 weeks of creativity, how can I just... abandon it now? It does not compute.
I suppose the conclusion should be that there has to be some middle ground, that if I finish 52 weeks of handmade things but they aren't consecutive weeks, that would be okay, too. And that if it's no longer fun but more like work or an obligation, that the spirit of the original project doesn't really work anymore. And when I'm feeling reasonable, sometimes that makes perfect sense. Maybe I should give myself a break, since photography and crafts and cooking are supposed to be things I enjoy and look forward to. Maybe I'm too hard on myself. Every. single. time. I have been 2/3 of the way through a Project365 year, I start whining and complaining about the rules and how HAVING to take a photo that day takes the fun out of it. I even wrote on my 30 Before 30 list that I was not allowed to start another daily photo project.
So what did I do?
Started a daily photo project on my 30th birthday. I think I have a ways to go yet.