In some ways, quilting is a lot like writing. Most writers will get writer’s block from time to time. A study found that, among writing students, 24% always dealt with writer’s block and 70% of writers experienced writer’s block on a regular basis. There are many exercises that writers do that help them get the creative juices flowing. Let’s take a look at some of those creative techniques that writers employ and see how you can incorporate them into your quilting.
Using creative prompts
For writers, this technique gives them the opportunity to start a story from a short sentence or description. Many short story writers use this technique when they write. With a creative prompt, writers only need to spend a short amount of time developing a narrative, the characters, and other elements of the story.
When you quilt, creative prompts can be particularly helpful when thinking about color. You can jot down a short sentence about a mood that you are experiencing, a beautiful color that you encountered during your day, or a piece of art that you experienced. That way, you don’t have to spend too much time thinking about the narrative that you want to create for your quilt.
Using flash fiction
Some writers keep a certain amount of stock characters on hand that they can freely introduce into a story. These stock characters may never get used in actual published work, but will help them write flash fiction (short stories that are exercises, consisting of less than 500 words). Flash fiction helps writers develop a narrative that they can use in later stories. Flash fiction also helps develop spontaneous writing.
In quilting, you can use the flash fiction technique to improv quilt. You can easily keep a set of fabrics matching your favorite color palette on hand. When you find it hard to create a new quilt, simply sit down and create some unique designs with your color palette. This technique will help you avoid creative blocks when you sit down to quilt.
Create a fictional quilting contest to quilt for
Many writers use a technique where they create a fictitious ad for a book or story that they just read. This helps them write something shortly and quickly and can help them get motivated for the next piece that they should be working on.
This technique can also be applied to quilting. If you are feeling creative blocks to your quilting, you can create a fictitious quilting contest for your next quilt. In the future, your quilt that you made for your fictitious quilting contest can be used for quilt shows.
Write a blog about quilting
Sometimes, writers will blog about miscellaneous things to help them get the creative juices flowing. Some writers will actually blog about the various techniques that they use in their own writing, things that they have read, and about their favorite authors.
If you want to take a break from quilting, you can create a blog about your creative quilting. You can write about some of your favorite techniques, colors, and approaches. By educating others about your approach to quilting, you can inspire yourself for your next quilting project.
Enter an existing quilt into a show or a contest
Some writers will deal with creative block by entering a short story into a contest or submitting an unpublished work to a publisher. When you are experiencing creative block as a quilter, you can enter one of your past quilts into a show or contest. Not only will this engage you with your previous work, feedback that you get at the contest or show will help inspire you to create your next quilt.
Create quilting designs from another perspective
This is another technique that writers use when dealing with writer’s block. They’ll think about how they want to tell a story from a perspective other than their own. They might experiment with first, second, or third person viewpoints, include literary devices such as irony, and use other creative techniques.
From a quilting perspective, you might try to think about your quilting process from the viewpoint of a viewer, a contest judge, or even through the eyes of a famous quilter.
This is a technique where the writer will give an inanimate object or a living creature human characteristics. Personification gives the writer additional means of expression and can help them tell a story from the perspective of an animal or object.
If you are a quilter, you can use objects as inspiration for your quilting, such as stones that you find in nature. These stones often have healing and emotional powers and you can capture the essence of those powers by experimenting with different colors in your quilting designs.
Taking a meditative break
Many writers will sometimes take a break from their story to let the creative juices flow a little bit more with meditation. George R.R. Martin, creator of popular television franchise Game of Thrones, writes lengthy books. In fact, the television show concluded before he had a chance to complete his book. He says, “I have a lot of other books I’d like to write.” As a quilter, it’s okay to take a break from your current quilt and meditate on what is to come, as there are many other quilts that you’d like to create.