My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #1537: Learning from Mistakes

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 04-15-2015 10:12 AM 1455 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1536: #1536 Making Progress Part 1537 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 1538: The Cast of Characters »

I always find it amazing how quickly things can go from uncertainty to progress.

Only a few short hours ago, I was somewhat stuck – paralyzed and afraid to move forward with things for fear of mucking things up and failing. I was thinking about several things at once on this project, as there are many things that need to be worked out. Not only the design of it, but also the construction. I had been looking at the big picture all at once, and by doing so, it appeared to be very complicated. Overwhelming even. But as I broke things down into smaller, palatable steps, each one in itself was not so intimidating. Going through things systematically and solving issues one at a time was not nearly as daunting. Things began to fall into place.The ball slowly started rolling in the other direction. Chaos gently and quietly shifted to advancement. Now I am more excite than ever.

Why is it that I keep forgetting that the key to most of these complex issues is 'patience'?

Time and time again I have had this experience. I get an idea. The idea grows. The variables multiply. Soon in my mind I have created a monster. Something large and complex and intimidating. Something "impossible". I have walked away from several potential projects because of that. I think that is a shame.

It just goes to show that we are sometimes able to think ourselves out of some good ideas. We create these bigger than life things in our minds that become so complicated that only a fool would attempt them. We may give them a half-hearted try, but as soon as we reach our first obstacle, it is as if the scales tip to the negative side and most of the time we abandon things altogether. That small stumble is enough to derail the whole thing and we feel we are foolish for ever trying it in the first place. I did not want this to happen this time. 

As I mentioned the other day, this project that I am working on has been almost two year in the making. And that is before I even drew a stroke with my pen. I knew what I wanted to accomplish with it, but there was a heavy fog that I was seeing it through. The concept was vague and the logistics of things were non-existent. When I thought about starting it, I truly didn't know where to begin. Usually at that point I would become overwhelmed or busy with other things and turn my attention elsewhere. The idea would be once again tucked in the back of my mind for another time – perhaps when I was 'less busy.' 

But this time around, I wanted it to happen. It is an autumn-themed project – Halloween to be exact – and if I want to pull it off for the upcoming season, now is the time to begin. Otherwise, another year will pass and the likelihood of me ever doing it will diminish. I just came to a point in my head of "just do it!" and I began. 

I started thinking in earnest about it at the end of last week. It may sound silly, but it took quite a bit out of me to just pick up my pen and begin to draw. After hundreds of variations and ideas of what to include and what not to include, I decided that I would have to make a firm decision to start somewhere. Otherwise I would keep going in circles for who knows how long. 

I chose to begin with the simplest of elements. Not only did that make things less intimidating for me, but it started things in motion. By doing what I felt clearly about, it helped me take those first anxious steps. I knew that once I began this journey, there would be no turning back. I am on my way.

This may sound a bit ridiculous to you all. I don't intend it to be so 'cloak and dagger.' But the fog has not lifted completely yet, and while I have a much clearer picture in my mind of how I want this project to be, many of the elements are still forming in my mind and I am not quite envisioning the end result yet. What I do see however, it pretty cool. 

I have a piece to show you of what I worked on yesterday:

I will tell you right now, that I am pleased with it. 

I will also tell you that this piece will wind up in the trash can. Seriously. I encountered one of those small stumbling blocks that I mentioned above and it simply will not work. So it is destined for the garbage. 

I am not upset though, as I realize that it is part of the process. If this had occurred a week ago, I may have been discouraged and given up before I had even begun. But since then, I have thought through many other parts of this project and I know that they will work. So I am forging ahead and looking at this 'hiccup' as part of the process. I learned something from the error so the time and energy was not wasted. I never had any expectations of getting through this process flawlessly. I am proud of that attitude. 

"Mistakes are the portals of discovery." – James Joyce

That is about all I have to show you today. I arose early because I couldn't stop thinking about things. I couldn't wait to get at it and try again. 

I know this project will probably take several weeks to create. In between working on it, I will probably devote my time and attention to some other things. But just for now, since the ball seems to be rolling, I don't want to stop the momentum and I will probably spend the next couple of days working on it. I am too excited not to do so.

I realize this may not be very exciting to some of you who read every day. But I hope that you do stop by from time to time to see where I am in the process. As I progress, I will document not only what successes I achieve, but also my mistakes. Perhaps we can all learn together. 

I wish you all a wonderful Wednesday!


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

5 comments so far

View Druid's profile


2165 posts in 3406 days

#1 posted 04-16-2015 02:23 AM

Ok, I’m certainly curious, and waiting in eager anticipation to see what’s coming.

-- John, British Columbia, Canada

View Celticscroller's profile


1286 posts in 2683 days

#2 posted 04-16-2015 03:18 AM

I’m with John – very curious and looking forward to seeing the next stage.

-- Anna, Richmond BC

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9239 posts in 3530 days

#3 posted 04-16-2015 10:59 AM

Hi, Anna and John:
I am skipping posting today to continue working on some things. Hopefully, I will show more tomorrow. Thanks as always for your support and friendship. I really appreciate it a lot. :)


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View Roger's profile


21030 posts in 3414 days

#4 posted 04-17-2015 06:43 PM

I know it’ll be good.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9239 posts in 3530 days

#5 posted 04-18-2015 02:10 PM

Thank you, Roger. :) I certainly hope so. I will continue to do updates.


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics