Fear is something as quilters, as artist types, as people that we get to live with. At least some of us do. I do.
Fear of rejection.
Will they like it or hate it?
Will they use it, or let the critters use it? Will it end up in a charity shop?
Will this work be received by the quilters walking through that show?
What if they hate it?
What if the line of fabric I’ve poured my heart into doesn’t sell at all?
What if the book I’ve poured my heart and resources into fails miserably?
As I teacher I wonder if you’ll like me.
What if they HATE it?
I’ve been so freaked out recently wondering if y’all will like the book. Seriously, like wanting to stay in bed and eat bon bons, and gallons of ice cream freaked out. While I do my best to instill, and bring out confidence in other quilters, there is a serious lack of same on my part. I’ve shared more of that on A Quilters Heart. The last few weeks have brought something of a shift in my innermost being as I’ve realized, understood, embraced, absorbed, accepted a few things.
I have kind of a truthful, somewhat smart ass answer to how long did it take you to write this book. Twenty-six years. In all reality it took about five or six total weeks of my time and quilt making to complete it. Why the other answer though? Here’s the thing, I needed, we all need, to build up the experience to do what I do,to do what any of us do. In order to learn to machine quilt I needed to sit at the machine and put into practice all the things I was learning. To slow down, to breathe, to adjust tension, to change the needle with great regularity and with the thread weight. I *needed* experience. The experience needed to become part of who I am, meaning that it’s something of a second nature. I live and breathe machine quilting.
I also needed to let it sink in that I’m actually good at this quilting stuff, and that what I do isn’t what everyone else does. I didn’t quite get that until I heard Sophie from C&T talk about my quilts. Seriously friends watching that shifted my perspective, allowing me to acknowledge the amount of work that’s gone into each one of the quilts I’ve had the privilege of making. Even the one made in the middle of a really tough time, giving up the first book I was supposed to write. I cried y’all, it was ugly.
When I submitted the most recent proposal, and worked with C&T to refine it I wasn’t entirely sure what they were seeing. However something deep inside said to trust them, they know what they’re doing. If they see this then I can simply go with it and write the stuff I know, and do. I am truly thankful to my development editor for asking the questions that allowed me to “see” what some of the images in the book should look like. I seriously did not see it.
Writing a book on something that I considered outside my comfort zone took a lot of effort. Including ugly crying here and there. My Sweetie shoving me to finish the work. My friends cheering me on. I sometimes wonder if I scarred for life one of my friends in a video chat where kind of sobbed wondering if I knew what I was doing. Oh heck it was an ugly cry.
Muddling through the fear is part of the process. Fear is a thin layer screaming loudly, “hey what if this really sucks!” and “hey this might not work so why even try it” or “hey someone might not like this or not even get it” and “hey! Hey!! HEY!!! are you even listening to me? don’t go there! seriously! You might skin your knees!”
By the way I have a scar on one of my knees because I fell while roller skating when I was 9. I’d still roller skate if, well, I didn’t have the fear of breaking a hip. HA!
Some fear helps keep us physically safe. A healthy fear of the machine needle stitching through my finger helps me to remain cognizant of the fact that my sewing machine is indeed a power tool and has the potential of stitching through my finger if it’s too close to the needle. Oh wait, that’s an experience I’ve had too. And even shown one time on social media because, isn’t that what we all do?
While I don’t think I’ll ever fully break up with fear, because fear has a purpose, I think Ill shift how I look at it, and dance with it. I’m going to make that 108” wide whole cloth quilt for our bed, that I’ll take with me to show at guild because that’s what I do with all the other quilts too. And I’ll write the articles, and blog, and get a video camera, and…actually go zip lining with my Sweetie. He mentioned this to me one day and I’m ready to go. Why? Because working through the fear, and seeing the cool stuff that happens on the other side is well worth it.