We all need it, unstuckness. Its the opposite of  stuck. We all need unstuckness because at some time or another we are all going to experience being stuck. Its that dreaded feeling of building pressure that says ‘you have a deadline! Get working!” Its the sinking feeling of the blank page, the empty bobbin, the undyed fiber when you don’t know what to fill it all with or what colours to use. Stuck is the full mug of coffee with the fly landed in it and youre wondering if you can possibly drink it after you have fished out the offending beast, it’s the dark side of the force holding you back from being a real Jedi, it’s the flat tire on the road to glory. It’s just something none of us need. Or at least, thats what we ‘think’ at the time (I know I do). However, without stuckness we wouldn’t experience the elation of unstuckness! So here we are, a page dedicated to finding your unstuckness in the inevitable time of need. May your journey be an interesting one 🙂

Tips and Tricks for Getting Unstuck

Tip # 1 – Mind Mapping

My first port of call in any stuckness situation is to use a MindMap. Why? Firstly, it breaks up your thinking into small chunks or ‘baby steps’. Sometimes we get stuck because we are too caught up in the big picture, the end result, the pressure to think of something ‘big’, so much so that we actually don’t even know where to start anymore. Making a mind map is an essential planning tool, you need only start with a single word, expand on it a bit, brainstorm it, write down all the related words. Then choose some of those as your next ‘heading’, work on that word for a while doing the same kind of brainstorming. You will find that as you do this, your thoughts become clearer, the fuzzy images in your head will take a more solid form, and your Mind Map becomes your road map, telling you what materials to choose, which colours to combine, and the technique you are going to use to achieve your dream yarn! Here is the video I made on the MindMapping, along with a link to the Email with the details of using your Mind Mapping for creative projects: Watch the Video and Read the Tutorial You need to both watch and read to get a really in depth knowledge of how to use mind mapping as a creative design tool, but I think its really worthwhile, your Mind Map becomes the plan that tells you what you need to do to get unstuckness.

Tip # 2 – Inspiration Notebook

Pre-make yourself a list of yarns you would like to create, make a notebook, print and glue in colour pallets, add images that inspire you, its like a mini, real-life Pinterest board. Why not just make a Pinterest board, you might ask. Well there is something about the way our hands and brains work together, the physical act of creating this notebook is important to your designing brain, you process the ideas better, at a speed you can really develop them fully at, rather than as fleeting impressions. Come back to this notebook when you need inspiration, you will already be starting at a place that is YOU and unique, because you have created this notebook yourself. You might kind it gives you the creative inspiration you need to get unstuck about your spinning, and if it doesn’t, you can at least spend a bit of happy-time adding to it and expressing your creativity in this way.

Tip # 3 – Talk to Someone

Sometimes it just helps to talk to another human being about our stuckness. On the Journey to the Golden Fleece course, if you get stuck at any time, your first port if call is Suzy or Arlene, describe your problem, what you have (or havent) done so far, and we will do our best to help you find your unstuckness again. We can offer you specific ideas and things to try out, point you in a direction we think will be helpful to you, and generally be there to support your journey, stuckness will always be a part of any travels at some point along the road, so expect it at some point and contact us when it happens if you feel a bit overwhelmed with the whole thing.

Tip # 4 – Just do it

Sometimes the best way to get unstuck is to just do it – in fact, just do anything! Rather than agonizing over stuckness, get stuck in instead! If you are stuck with spinning, go wash some fiber instead, or do some dyeing, or carding,  or combing, or get into your journal and paint each page a different colour, weed the garden, scrub the kitchen.. in the end it doesn’t matter so much, just give yourself the feeling of achievement. We can’t force creativity, if inspiration is missing, divert yourself into something else and accept that it will come when its ready! In the meantime you can still feel productive and positive about your activities, trust yourself to find a good path around your stuckness when the time is right.

Tip # 5 – Change your Brain

Ok I know this sounds weird, but think about it, you are facing a mental block about your creative project, what can you do? Why is it there? Perhaps you are really stuck in the same way of thinking that you always have, in a rut, falling back on the same old techniques, colours, ideas. They are familiar and safe, but you desperately want to break out of that and do something new! Sticking point, right there. How do you find that new thing? Your brain keeps slipping back to the same old ideas . Its time to go somewhere new! Experience a new place, a new food, new people, take a workshop, read a new book.. find someone who you are sure will disagree with you! Anything to stimulate those brain cells into new patterns. This is also where our Yarn Randomizer is invaluable! Take a risk, follow the first ‘recipe’ that comes up even if you ‘know’ it won’t work, somewhere along the way you are sure to learn something from the process.

Tip # 6 – Say No

Maybe you are feeling very inspired and creative, you have a bunch of exciting ideas rolling around in your head, but  you just don’t have the time to get to them. Thats frustrating,  and leads to stuckness as well. There is only one solution, start saying ‘no’ to some of the things that are taking up your time, prioritise, plan ahead, schedule in some creative time for yourself, knowing that you will be able to use it productively. If you really can’t do this, maybe you are in the middle of some major life events, for example, then at the very least, keep your design notebook or your journal going, write or draw your ideas as they come to you, and keep the faith that eventually you WILL be able to get to them. Once they are written down you have no fear of forgetting then, and you can even plan how you will approach them. Use your thinking time while busy with other tasks, to create your project at least in your head! You will feel the same sense of inspiration and excitement about creating your ‘virtual’ project as you will when you start the real thing, and in the meantime if keeps your brain working in a positive and creative way.


5 thoughts on “Unstuckness

  • February 9, 2014 at 3:03 pm

    Very helpful tips! I’m printing this entire post out to keep in my Fiberygoodness binder.

  • February 9, 2014 at 4:08 pm

    Thanks Suzy, these are great! #4 reminds me of a painting teacher I once had, he saw people get frozen because of the big white sheet of watercolor paper so he would come over a splatter on the sheet and say, “Oh look, it already has a mistake on it so you might as well begin”. A bit drastic maybe but sometimes we just have to dive in. I get stuck sometimes with spinning because I feel like I don’t know what I’m doing, just making it up–that’s one of my big hopes for this Journey, is to just try some new things and know you are all the safety net!

  • February 9, 2014 at 5:29 pm

    Thank you. Also am printing this out. It makes me also feel I have permission to be stuck and time to work things out. Thank you.

  • February 9, 2014 at 5:45 pm

    These are great tips! The mind mapping is something I will be using with writing projects as well.

  • February 10, 2014 at 12:45 pm

    Love this post, Suzy! It made me think of something, from many years back, when I was part of a local Writer’s group. We formed after being part of an evening adult education class [Creative Writing], and met once a month thereafter. Writer’s Block takes many forms, and each writer has their way of dealing with, avoiding, or skirting the issue. For me it was easy to step away from a certain scene [upon getting STUCK], and move on to another chapter or character profile, anything to change the subject and keep moving forward. It never failed that— while working on another aspect of the story, I eventually had an Ah Ha! moment and was able to then go back and unstick the scene. But not everyone in our writing group could do this; jump around from plot point to plot point. One writer was so linear in her thinking that no matter the suggestion any one of us could offer she remained stuck ‘in the moment’ and her process simply stopped; leaving a plane load of passengers in mid air.

    I tried one month, “Could we at least get the plane to land? I mean they’ve been circling the tarmac for months, now. M-a-y-b-e once the passengers are back on the ground— and disembark— maybe something in a subsequent conversation will help to spark a solution….” but she just couldn’t see herself doing that. She remained stuck, and frustrated, for another two months or so before she finally worked things through in the only way she knew. A straight line. No deviating from the path.


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