The Middle is the Worst!

Hi friends! I have a confession to make. I am procrastinating.  I am in the middle of a large freelance project. Actually, I am about 70% done. I am past all the good fun juicy creative parts and I am now slogging away at the minutiae. The editing, the writing, the fussing. In any long-term project we hit the plateau stage. Here are some examples:

  • Getting ready for a craft fair, the products are made (that’s the fun juicy stuff) but then you need to price and package everything and figure out your displays (that’s the slog aka plateau) then you have the craft fair (that’s the payoff for all of your hard work.)
  • Getting a project published in a magazine: You make something and it gets accepted to a magazine (yay!) you have to write and edit the article and wait for it to be published (slog) magazine arrives on newsstands (Payoff!)
  • You are repainting your house: You pick colors (yay!) priming, taping, edging (slog) rolling on that juicy color (yay!) painting the trim, replacing outlet covers and hardware, cleaning up and putting supplies away (slog) awesome pretty new house (payoff!)
  • Getting in shape….do you need me to explain this? sloggidy slog slog slog.

You are probably saying, “Great Lindsay, tell me something I don’t know, like how to get through it!” OK, then, here is my solution: quick wins! This blog post that I am writing isn’t just me procrastinating. I know taking a 30 minute break from my project will help me return refreshed to it and I will have completed something in the process.  It’s a quick win. It’s like taking 15 minutes to paint a small watercolor on a greeting card or jogging around the blog. It changes your perspective and gives you the satisfaction of completing something. When I used to “work for the man” I would do my workout on my lunch break or run an errand so I would feel like I got something done, the quick win.  Maybe you are decluttering your home and you feel like it is never going to be finished but hit that nightstand drawer, get that in ship-shape and you have completed something! The great thing about your “quick win” being art related is that it won’t get undone. I remember when my kids were small (I have 3 kids less than 2 years apart) I felt that nothing stayed done. My job of caring for them was the most important job I’d ever do but it was hard to feel good about myself when the cleaning, cooking and feeding was never done. Wash a load of laundry and there was another one waiting BUT if I made a scrapbook page it stayed done and could be enjoyed for years and years. It also gave me perspective if I was feeling irritable. Looking at the sweet photos of your precious children you forget about all the work and you appreciate the reward.

We all have long projects. We can either break them down into smaller tasks or plow ahead until we hit a wall and look for a quick win project to revive us. This is why I like to have several projects going at one time so I am constantly starting something new or enjoying the finishing payoff. It makes the middle feel like less of a slog.

What big projects are you in the middle of? Let me know in the comments below. I hope this helps you get unstuck with whatever you are in the middle of right now.  Happy crafting!

38 thoughts on “The Middle is the Worst!

  1. hi Lindsay,

    What a blog post you have put up today! You have hit the nail on the head about long projects and how to deal with them. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. :o)

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  2. Hi

    Thank you for sending me this email with the link to your latest blog post – The Middle is the Worst!

    It is an amazing post with lots of insight into how to get through a long project.

    Till next time

    Keep crafting!

    Lorraine

    :o)

    >

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m a paper crafter, quilter, painter, mixed media, beading person. Card making, scrapbooking and quilting are the ones I do the most. Lots of UFO’s to finish! Because I post a completed project on my blog three times a week it helps motivate me to get something completed. When I get brain fog from working on one project I know it’s time for a break. It took me awhile to learn that it is okay to have a few projects on the go at one time and also it was nit only okay but advisable to take a break. Crafty Violet

    Liked by 2 people

  4. good info Lindsay…
    I’ve spent the last month (weekends) and any day off revamping my craft room. what a disaster. i feel like a pilot… first i pile it here, then i pile it there…
    i suppose i should Kon Mari the snot out of that room.. I’ve found i can do that about 2 hours of removing things and then i start feeling the pull of “if i didn’t want it i wouldn’t have bought it.”
    but there’s the dumb stuff too… toys i played with as a kid… my kids are 24 and 17! they’re not going to play with them…. and none of them (at this time) have any interest of having kids… and even if they did, will they want 50 year old toys? no probably not.
    now if i could just throw out garbage. i keep trying to convince myself i will repurpose it or use it for multimedia projects…. riiiiiiiiight
    lol

    Liked by 2 people

    1. “pilot” Love it! When I konmaried my craft room I had to work in short bursts because I would get decision fatigue and could not even decide what I liked and didn’t. It is a slow process, take lots of breaks and if you are not sure box stuff up and put it aside and if you don’t need to get into the boxes in a few months donate them.

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    2. I can relate … six months ago, I started a project to inventory my craft supplies. They were so scattered, I really didn’t know what I had. For example, I decided I needed an embossing machine so I bought one. Not long after, In a box unmarked and long forgotten, I discovered I had a Big Shot! And I also understand how hard it is to get rid of old toys – Is it old enough to be an antique and possibly valuable and, if not, does it have so many precious memories attached to it that it’s impossible to part with it? Good luck!

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  5. I too am always working on multiple projects.
    Currently I am crocheting a blanket, painting an acrylic and have a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle littering my dining room table.
    I always have at least three projects going at once.
    Now I see why I do it.
    Gratification.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great post and a great tip to have more than one “something” going! One of my projects that I am now procrastinating on is a watercolor. I tend to procrastinate when I mess up or don’t know very well how to do something. In this case it’s both. I set out to paint a bluejay on a tree branch. I also decided, unfortunately to try using 300 lb paper for the first time ever! Whoa…..what a different animal that is! Well, I started with the branches and none of the paint was flowing…….not at all!! The branches turned out looking very juvenile, in my opinion……so, even though I have a nice plump jay sketched and ready to paint, I’ve stalled now…..for over a week….because the rest looks awful and the paper has totally buckled like crazy!! I know I just need to get back in there and finish it! Thanks for sharing this! 🙂

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  7. This was a great post. A very good reminder to use your time to your advantage by diversifying projects. This not only gets multiple little things done but maintains your momentum and enthusiasm.

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  8. Welcome to my world — I am a self-proclaimed Queen of Procrastination. Been that way all my life, in both personal and business life. I think it’s because the middle (slog) is so anathema to me, I race through it to get from the start (creative stuff) to the finish (payoff). My work never suffered from it; I’ve always done my best work under pressure; however, as life goes on, I find myself needing more of the little breaks in order to re-tackle those longer projects. Good thinking – quick wins. 🙂

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  9. I hand paint glassware, have a vinyl business on Etsy as well, am a scrapbooker (waaay behind on Project Life), card maker, knitter, crocheter and could open my own Michael’s store within my craft room with all the supplies I have. We spend every weekend visiting one or the other of our two kids in the US (school and a pro hockey career),so I feel like I never get anything accomplished at home. I have never commented before, but enjoy all your posts. Today’s really hit home. Thank you! I really needed that! Have a great day.

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  10. Loved your blog and agree having more than one project working at a time helps keep things fresh and moving forward. i made a BIG 2018 project list and so far have completed some of it, but try not to beat myself up if I take a day off to do the juicy things too.
    As always Lindsay, I really enjoy your insight on things.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I totally get where you are coming from. I was doing this yesterday myself. I have a couple of boxes I have to go thru. Except I don’t know where I will out the stuff in the boxes. Anyways. They are looming over my head making me crazy. I have been doing the 30 day coloring challenge. It has been one of the ways I felt I could do something small everyday and post a picture of my coloring to the challenge each day. Well yesterday it got to me because I haven’t done any layouts lately. So instead I ended up working on a stack of envelopes I was making instead. I told my friend I need to do these because I will have a finished project in the end and I need to see something finished

    I haven’t cleaned up my craft space. I haven’t been able to put away the boxes. I haven’t used any of my coloring to make any completed cards. I haven’t been able to make any lay outs lately. And my house is a never ending job with six kids. So yesterday I just needed some success. A box of homemade envelopes did the trick!!

    I hope you get some of your details slogged thru today. Oh yeah and for me I was working on our business taxes yesterday. And it still awaits me today after I make dinner for a few friends from out of town my husband has coming over. More yucky slog.

    If I lived close to you I sure would love to Rey and help you. Good luck today!!

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  12. Inspired by you, I am decluttering my studio. And I am definitely in the slog. Can’t believe I can achieve my vision at this stage. I’ll use today’s advice to get myself going.

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  13. Hi Lindsay
    I feel your Blog!! I moved from a big house into a Condo and I have too much stuff. I don’t want to just give away all my stuff so I have been pricing stuff for a yard sale to be held soon. Also been throwing out and shredding for the end of year purge and tax time. Seems hard to get to crafting with all that has to done, but when I do it centers me. Enjoyed your thoughts.

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  14. My friend had issues when she was shoveling due to COPD and when I suggested she wear a scarf she said she didn’t have one. So off to the store I went. I made her one in colors she loves and it only took 3 days working on it off and on. It’s a diagonal crochet stitch. It was so much fun to get back on that old familiar horse and make something that wasn’t complicated and made someone else happy. She loves it!
    My many crafts still need organizing and I’ve got dust groundhogs instead of bunnies, but seeing your advice sure makes a lot of sense. And I know once I accomplish a task and can move on to something else it takes a big weight off, too. Thanks so much for this timely post. What can we conquer next!

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  15. Right now, I’m working on two huge design projects for college and I feel the same way! I have nine weeks of editing projects and making sure they’re 100% done for my portfolio. I’m doing a window display for another class and it’s in the research and ideation stage so not even putting anything together yet which is the fun, juicy part! Back to the portfolio, I’m also coding a whole website for it. So. Much. Work.

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  16. I’m a writer, and sometimes when I get to the middle, I’m in a hurry to get to a certain scene (or the ending). Sooo, I write that scene to get it off my plate, then go on with the rest. What keeps me going though are my readers nagging me for the next chapter. I work well under pressure, lol.

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  17. Lindsay: i too am in big project of painting walls (liv rm, dining room, and finishing backsplash in kitchen). I am 65 & single and tend to do it myself instead of hire out. Mind you i still have to lay tile in my bedroom a lingering 5.5yr project when did my fixer-upper. My quickie is caulking open gaps like around door frames, etc. I can look at those little completions and it gets me motivated to paint the wall it’s on. Doing 1 wall at a time with days in between after my body recupes is doing wonders. Prior i would tackle the whole room in a day, not a motivating procedure. After the painting done i will probably tackle tile with 2 rows at a time as i am the only one who will see it :-).

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  18. Lindsey… YOU are not only an amazingly talented artist and teacher, but you are also very WISE…. thanks for all you do!!!.. pamela

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  19. I am Konmari cleaning out my house. It takes me longer due to medical issues.
    Every ba of stuff that leaves my house is a win. I did sell some of my papercrafting supplies at a garage sale last summer to buy artist grade watercolor paints, but now I am just donating to good causes (my kids 2 schools, hospital, local non profit, gorl scouts, etc.).

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  20. Breaking into smaller tasks works so much better for me. I’m trying to clean out my house and it gets overwhelming at times. Concentrating on one drawer or one shelf at a time helps a lot. I’m also trying to get back to doing art several times a week. Your blog is so inspiring! Thank you!!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. I’m moving into a new house. I have enough unpacked to survive, but I need to finish so I can organize and decorate to make it nice. Definitely stuck in the middle right now! I take lots of breaks and try to break the process into mini projects.

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  22. My hubby and I started a business last year and we’re attending a trade show this month with 3 booths of space. Lots to do to get ready. Displays ordered, shirts made, flyers, business cards, raffle, video displays to set up, social media promotion, and prep for follow up marketing. I’m very overwhelmed at the moment but I know it will all come together in time. We’re 95% ready but that last 5%… slog.

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  23. I “Yeah but” myself too darned much! I moved the headboard at last
    ‘ yeah but’ I still need to…I don’t need a critic outside of me, she is built in. Time to put her in the clutter drawer and enjoy accomplishing a goal. Thank you to the moon and back!

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  24. Funny, I’ve been having a LOT of the same thoughts lately, especially with the breaks and small wins. I’m in the process of trying to write my PhD and my anxious brain makes me feel guilty about doing anything not related to that. I’m trying to fight that and still make time for the things that keep me sane, including learning to paint and using my (many, many) coloring books. It’s a tough process in which I usually take one step forward and two steps back, but I keep walking. Thank you 🙂

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  25. I’m in the middle of preparing for a demonstration….have all the kits done, and several of the faux quilting base cards done…now to make up samples with these faux quilted bases!!!! For some reason, I have been putting this step off????? Guess this is the ‘slog’ part for me.
    Good advice Lindsay!!!!
    Hugs,
    Jan

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  26. Past time for garage sale, waiting for right time, not wanting to let go..
    I admire you i love waterpainting videos but i only watch them. I say to myself i can do that but i dont.

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  27. Getting started !!!! My craft room looks so much like a hoarders room right now, I can’t even turn around in it. I have boxes and bags everywhere. Many , many , many stamp sets that have no place to go. I feel that if I just could tackle that first I would be able to breathe better. I heard that those totes that fit under your bed is a good place to put the stamps when your stamps runneth over. Possibly I’ll start there. Just needed to get it off my chest and out of my mind!

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