Organizing Creativity

Some things I try with varying degrees of success.

Wistfully thinking about the day I have it together.

I try REALLY hard to organize my thoughts. The operative word is try. I haven’t been able to find a usable catchall solution for all the creative ideas I have. Brain dump notebooks from my 20s came close: part diary, part fictional chaos, my homework assignments, and the odd grocery list thrown in. But no discernible rhyme or reason, no table of contents, no index. Usually illegible. Now that I’m older, I use some other techniques to manage my creative ideas. With varying degrees of success

By nature, I’m a list maker. I love MAKING lists. Then I lose them before I can actually cross off all the items. Oops. I have lists tucked everywhere. On my bulletin board, on slips of paper in purses and wallets, in my phone, in apps, in my physical planner, in my project planing notebook. I’ve started (and abandoned) more project notebooks than I can remember in the last 18 years. My latest attempt is 18 months old and 3/4 full. Its my best attempt so far. Its morphed from a catch-all list of current and future projects to a somewhat more categorized list of crafting that needs my attention. At least I haven’t accidentally thrown it out, yet. (My project planning notebook has been effective for managing my pipeline, I haven’t missed a deadline in 18 months)

I’ve also started using Ravelry for my active/new projects again. Here is where I plug Ravelry (I receive no compensation, I just really love the site/service). I love being able to see at a glance what I’m working on. What needles/hooks I used, the yarn and the colorway (because I threw out the ball band), the number of pattern repeats! If I used a pattern written by some one else, the PATTERN! Now that I discovered I can use Google Photos to add pictures of my work, I’m more inclined than ever to use Ravelry to manage my WIPS/FOs! (This method has been most effective, when I put in the time to manage it.)

“The shawl under my desk” AKA Afetos. Started May 2017

For whatever reason, I stopped logging projects between 2013 and 2018. I think I can blame the kids? What I missed out on was 5 years of organized project notes! There are some projects created during this time that I think would make fantastic patterns to share. Instead of using my project notes to draft the patterns, I will need to use the project itself to recreate the pattern which I will then REWORK to make certain that I got it right. Not the end of the world, I have no shortage of ideas for new patterns. The only impact is to my turn-around time, my lost notes make every release like a new idea. Additionally, there are patterns I’ve started by other designers that are unfinished and I have NO idea where I am or even what pattern they are.

My major organization weakness is design notes. Most are on random pieces of paper, with cryptic instructions. I find them everywhere! Some make sense at least. But I don’t have a system for organizing them. Perhaps I need a scrapbook of all the random design/pattern notes I find.

Random Index card with a pattern on it. Its a blanket.

Yarn? That is just barely managed chaos. Organizing my yarn is a 2020 project, so stay tuned!

What systems keep you organized? Do you use Ravelry to manage your current and finished objects? A notebook? Spreadsheets? What about the projects in your personal pipeline? I would love to hear about your project/idea organization systems!

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