Thursday, October 16, 2008


Above is one of my first pieces.....
and below is one of my latest...
you can see the amazing results of practice!
or....can you?

Oh how I resonated with today’s Empty Easel article by Lori Simons about Motivation.

Like her, I continually tell myself “do something every day even if it’s just one stitch”. And actually that does work..if I do one stitch, or move one item on the design wall then more times than not I’ll do a second and a third. I am better about hand stitching than machine stitching …because I’ve not yet learned how to machine stitch while sitting with my feet up relaxing with a glass of wine in front of the telly!!

So often, though, there are continual interruptions: the phone, email, the spouse, the children, the cat, the plants suddenly droop, I go into the kitchen and forget to take my glasses off and actually see the fingerprints and crumbs!!

You really need to be a strongly self motivated person to be a free lancer – whether it’s in visual arts, literature or any individual business endeavour. I used to work for Them and They would say: “Thou shalt be at work by 8am; thou shalt see one person per hour for 6 hours per day and complete all electronic paperwork by 6pm and then thou shalt leave because thou won’t get paid for working overtime”!!! and I did…well more or less! It was lovely to leave that and think never again will I have to get up in the dark..never again will I be cooped up in an sealed tight over air conditioned building when it’s a totally brilliant exhilarating day outside, never again will I have to sit through interminable meetings while people misunderstand each other, ask the same questions over and over or argue over the placement of a comma!

But now I find that I have to have a new boss: if one wants to progress in any art, or any sport or any anything – it doesn’t happen because you’re a nice person thinking “good thoughts” about art, it only happens if you apply yourself to the task. Every book I read about improving in art says practice practice practice. The secret to attaining one's goals is Doing It – over and over…

Lori Simons states that she uses her earlier experience in motivating others to motivate herself. She has found Fear to be a great motivator: if I don’t do this then bad things will happen. However, as an ex-psychologist (is that possible? Maybe I’m just a lapsed psychologist!!), I know that positive consequences upon a behaviour are far more likely to increase its occurrence than negative consequences upon the absence of such a behaviour.

So instead I write out my To Do list daily, then assign a little reward to each item – well sometimes a fairly Big Reward actually! But the principle is the same! So now I’d better go and earn all my chocolates, cups of tea, chapters in the latest novel, sudoku games and email checks!!!

And if you have been, thanks for reading! Elizabeth

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