Halfway There… AHHHH.

We are halfway through the semester, only two months away from graduation, less than two months away from the impending due date…

AKA cue the existential crisis!

This is usually the time I begin to second guess the choices I have made thus far. I spend more time thinking about ways I can scrap the “terrible” thing I have planned and make it into a new, better project and spend less time on working in a productive manner with the material I have spent the past two months collecting. I hope and guess that I am not alone in this feeling… (get your comment credit and re-assure me at the same time below!)

In reality I’ve lost inspiration. I’ve lost focus on what drew me to this project in the first place. I’ve let fear paralyze me from moving forward.

The irony: my project is all about how we can be more creative, productive, and fulfilled in our daily lives. Clearly I have not been giving the experiments my full attention. But this should reassure me, yes? I have started a puzzle, but I have all the pieces.

On the bright side, this will probably be a great story to share in my project; no one is at one hundred percent 100% of the time…

I wanted to use this blog post to jump back into my Capstone Project Process, but in writing it I’ve just realized that this being stuck is a part of the process… the process never stopped!

I imagine every tough moment, the ones we struggle with for a couple weeks, months, years, as a little badge on a Girl Scout or Boy Scout sash; once we have gotten out the other side of a rut, small or massive or any size between, we can wear that badge with pride because we powered through and are better for it. This little rut may be one of the smaller badges, but a badge it is.

Cheers to your process and your rut! May your sash triumphantly over flow.

5 thoughts to “Halfway There… AHHHH.”

  1. Hi Allie,
    I can assure you that I both understand the feeling you are enduring right now and that I will get comment credit :p But on a more serious note, I think you have already rationalized it the right way. I obviously don’t know what the content of your project will be right now, but it seems like your struggles are perfectly anecdotal and emblematic of what you hope to share about the creative process. In my own project, I have been constantly refining exactly what the topic is because it is so abstract. I often think to myself that I should have done something more concrete because it’s easier and more likely to produce a satisfying result. Remembering the purpose of my project and purpose of putting in a little extra work has been a constant that has kept me focused, though. We both picked topics that are theoretical (with some empirical elements) and it will naturally take a longer time than we hoped. Maybe this comment won’t be that helpful, but in a weird, meta kind of way I think your current struggle is actually strengthening your topic. Good luck!

    Ethan

  2. Allie –

    Unfortunately, I am more than familiar with this rut. My process is usually to procrastinate until I can no longer hold off anymore and force inspiration to come. I suppose the answer to your problem is intrinsically what your project is exploring… what do we do when we’re in a creative rut? This would be a perfect time to try out Thwarp-esque techniques. Over the course of the Sweetland program, I have realized that the best way to get out of a writing rut is to take a step back, and get a fresh perspective on your project. Throwing ideas at people who have no involvement is a great way to reshape your own opinion on your project. As scary as it is to share half finished work, sometimes new eyes are what we need to get to the end. Lucky for you, you have a great partner to help assist you out of the creative rut. But if you guys are looking to throw ideas at someone, I’m happy to take a look!

  3. Hi Allie! I don’t think you’re alone at all in feeling like you’re stuck in a rut with your capstone project. Personally, I currently feel that way too and I’ve struggled with how to proceed with my project as a result. Still, as you point out, being stuck is a critical part of the process. It shows that you are fixated on making your project the best it can be and that you’re willing to take risks to make that happen.

    From that, I think you may benefit from returning to some of your thinking from the outset of the project. What do you want out of this project, at the end of the day? What do you want your audience to feel during and after they experience your project? In an ideal world, what form do you envision your project as taking shape? I think that re-answering these questions, or reviewing your answers to them, might help you to re-center yourself and begin to get out of the rut. Good luck moving forward!

  4. Hi Allie!

    I’m glad that writing through things helped you figure some things out. I used that method to help get back my clarity for my project and it really seemed to help! In reality, we need breaks. Going 100% at something can only last so long. And with other classes and upcoming graduation and just life, its downright impossible. So yes, take deep breaths and enjoy your process!

    I think you and Micky have a really great partnership because you can sort of experience your processes together and individually at the same time. For example, she may be going through this rut right now, too. If so, you guys should just hang out and talk about literally anything BUT the project. Or if she’s totally motivated and ready to get working, take a little break and let her take the reigns. You’ve got options 🙂

    But ultimately, it’s important to remember to trust your process. The hard work you’ve already put in to your project as well as the hard work you still have to put in will make for a great project. Your process has gotten you this far in your artistic career, something must be going right!!

    Anyways, just remember that breaks are important and to trust yourself. You’ve got this 🙂

    Happy writing!
    -Alexis

  5. Hi Allie! Thanks for being so honest in this post – it is reassuring!

    There was one sentence you wrote that I really connected with: “In reality I’ve lost inspiration. I’ve lost focus on what drew me to this project in the first place.” You are certainly not alone in that; I feel that acutely. One thing that frustrates me beyond all else about attending college is the complete lack of work-life balance. You are in work and class all day and then you go to a couple of meetings and then you have five hours of homework. And repeat. I find this infuriating and harmful. I know that, in order to create something, our minds need time to just wander, unrestrained. Like we talked about in class today, sometimes we can get paralyzed by the pressure we put on ourselves to create quality writings that we shove our progress back into Twyla Tharp’s box and hide under the guise of research. I really liked what Professor Babcock said; when you retreat to your box, take all the pressure off and just free write about whatever piece of your project that you’re thinking about. So, somewhere in the midst of our awful and hectic college schedules, we need to prioritize that creative space. This is hard because, at least in my mind, I think about how it’s not a priority – I have other deadline-sensitive things I have to do and I can churn stuff out without being creative. However, that’s not producing quality material – that’s mindless busy work.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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