How to get over beaders block

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Have you ever had a spell where your beads just lose their appeal? You pick up tutorials, but can’t seem to find the will to get started. Your beading mat seems to be calling, but you just sit staring at it. Well, there is a name for this…beaders block. We all face it at some point, but there are things you can do to help. So, I’m going to share some of my tips and hopefully show you how to get over beaders block.

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What causes beaders block?

Now, it’s important to go about fixing this in the right way. So, the cause of your beaders block may determine how you get over it.

As I’m writing this, we’re in the middle of the global Coronavirus Pandemic. I’ve been hearing about beaders all around the world who have lost their desire to bead. Now, this might sound counter-intuitive. Most of us find beading therapeutic. So, you’d expect to be beading more at at time when you’re feeling stressed.

But to find yourself in a situation where you have extra time for beading, but no will to do it, is extremely hard.

I mention this because when you suddenly stop wanting to do something you enjoy, it can be symptomatic of a more serious depression. It may not be. It may simply be that you’ve done too much beading and your mind wants a break. Or maybe you just can’t find the ‘right’ tutorial to inspire you at the moment.

But in a situation like this, I think it’s quite likely that a lot of beader’s block is coming from anxiety, loneliness and depression. So, if that is the case, your beads are really symptomatic of a different issue. Which means you might need to take some steps to try and fix that issue.

If you simply need a different challenge, then your approach to fixing the block will probably be different.

How to get over beaders block, Katie Dean, My World of Beads

What do I know about it?

Back in 2019, I was ready to give up beading, close down my website and get rid of all my beads.

Given that I’ve been obsessed with beads for more than a decade, this was pretty serious. My friends and family certainly thought so, and put a lot of energy into trying to talk me out of it. Or, at least encouraging me to give it some time before I made any big decisions.

Well, roll on a year, and my enthusiasm is back. So, what happened?

The lightbulb moment

Despite the fact that I was struggling to pick up my beading needle and hated the thought of writing another tutorial, I still had ideas floating around my head.

So, I realised that something in me still wanted to play with beads.

That made me start to analyse the problem. Was it the beads? Was it the designing? Could it be running the business? Or was it something else in me?

Gradually, I began to realise that a large part of the problem was burn out.

The solution

You may or may not know, but I have ME. So, I’m basically trying to live life with a much smaller energy supply than I should have. Now, I’ve been having treatment since 2016 and been making good progress. So, last year, I began to feel able to do significantly more. In fact, with less pain in my body, I almost forgot I was still not fully healthy.

I began 2019 with so many plans. You may recall, I set myself a silly challenge of creating one brand new beaded bead design per week (I mean, that’s crazy, even for me!). I was also trying to make new beaded boxes and other jewellery. Then, I had a huge list of blogs I wanted to publish on this website.

So, by the start of the Spring, I was literally ‘beaded out’. I kept trying to force myself to do more. In the end, I gave up on the challenge (and I hate quitting!). But none of this was enough.

I had actually over-done things so much, that I needed to stop completely and do something different. So, I took up drawing classes and I began writing and publishing children’s books.

Now, it took several months, but I did end up getting my beading mojo back. And I’ve learned enough to know not to do that again. So, I’m taking things more gently this year.

How to choose bead colours

What will solve your beaders block?

OK, so anecdotes aside, let’s get back to your problem. What do you need to do to rediscover your beading mojo?

The first thing is to work out why it’s gone away.

Anxiety or depression

Think seriously here. Could you actually be suffering from anxiety or depression? (Clues there might be a general lack of interest in all areas of life, not just beading). If you are, then do you need some professional help with that? Or, possibly, just talking to a trusted friend about the things bothering you may help.

One other thing that I would suggest there is going for walks in nature. It may be an effort to make yourself do it at first, but when you do, it will really, really help. Get into doing it regularly, and you will see a positive shift in your mood.

And, if you can shift things just enough to bring back a desire to bead, then that creativity and relaxation should help too.

Burn out

Hopefully, it’s nothing as serious as that. Or, even if you think it may be a mild form, then I have a few other things to try.

Firstly, try a distraction. Can you find relaxation and enjoyment from a different craft? Sometimes, exploring your creativity through another media actually helps bring back the joy of beading. If you’ve done a lot of beading projects recently, you may just be a little burned out and need a change.

So, do something else that you enjoy for a while. Don’t think about the beading at all. A big part of this is accepting that you need a break. So, it doesn’t work if you physically avoid your beading mat, but still mentally think about beading and guilt trip yourself for not doing it. Just embrace the change and revel in taking a break.

Lack of inspiration

Sometimes, it’s simply that you can’t find the right project. You may be trying to force yourself to complete something, but you’re not really enjoying it. Perhaps you have a pile of UFOs and you feel guilty about adding another project to that pile.

Well, the fact is, not all projects suit all people at all times. So, maybe you’re trying to make something that just doesn’t interest you. There’s no shame in admitting that.

Right project, wrong time

Or maybe you’re just doing the project at the wrong time. If you’ve got a lot of things going on in your life and you’re struggling to find time to bead, then it’s not a great idea to be doing a ‘big’ project. You want things you can pick up and put down easily, so you can enjoy a little beading fix.

If you’re trying something big or difficult, then it’s just going to get frustrating. You’re never going to have enough time to get into it and really solve the difficulties. Plus, your progress is going to feel so slow that you’re going to get demoralised because you have nothing finished to show for your efforts.

How to choose bead colours, Katie Dean, My World of Beads

You need some play-time

Sometimes, your brain just needs a break. So, you may feel a bit like beading, but when you take out a tutorial and start trying to work through it, you just can’t.

At times like this, I like to just play.

I’ve got two ways in which I do this. One is to just make a beaded rope. I find spiral staircases or Cellini spirals are brilliant techniques for me. Bizarrely, I also find I get pretty lost in CRAW. You may need a different technique. It needs to be something that you can do without really thinking much, and which grows nicely, so you can see your creation coming to life.

The second thing I like to do, is play with bead colours. So, I just take out random colours and make Peyote strips with them.

This isn’t as daft as it sounds. In fact, it’s a technique I use a lot to discover bead colour combinations that work together. So, you can actually solve two problems in one, using this idea. You get to bead in a way that will unlock your beaders block. AND you get to find some new bead colour combinations to use when you do feel like getting back to making something.

So, if you’re curious about how that works, I’ve taught the technique on this online class. It’s also perfect if you’re stuck in a bit of a colour rut. After all, that can be another form of blockage for us beaders!

Over to you…

Hopefully that will help you through your beaders block. If you’ve got more tips to share, then please leave a comment down below. And, if you want more helpful advice, just like this, delivered direct to your inbox, click here. That link will tell you all about my mailing list and how to join up. You get tons of brilliant beading advice and a free gift when you join. So, what are you waiting for?

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4 Responses

  1. Sande Gene says:

    Your blog on burn out. I miss most of all the enjoyment of sharing what I am working on with my friends. Beading or any other craft is more fun when you can sit together and share each bead added or each stitch done. And share the progress. Yes, there are FB pages where you can show pictures, but that is not the same as sharing in person. People is what I miss most. I am a people person

    • beadflowers says:

      I feel for you Sande! Yes, wonderful as online beading groups and virtual classes are, they don’t make up for real people in real life. So, I know we’re all having to try and make the best of things now, but it’s not easy. We will all get back to our real beading groups eventually, so hang in there and I hope you can find some things to help in the meantime.

  2. Gloria Thomas says:

    You’ve hit it right I can relate to Lodi g a mojo! I’ve started so many bracelets and taken them down either they are too thin or don’t look right for me.
    I even tried to do another Union Jack ( you remember Katie) and couldn’t get started.
    Do I carry on or just pack them up and put in a cupboard, perhaps I’m trying to hard. When I see what others make that sometimes make it worse I get that ‘I can’t do that’ feeling.
    But your blog has given me a little hope, to try something different.
    Thanks Katie

    • beadflowers says:

      I’m so glad that has helped, Gloria. I encourage you to keep going and also to go easy on yourself. Remember, if you’ve worked out how to do something once (the union jack pen), then you can do it again. You might need to return to a basic guide or tutorial to help you get started, but that’s ok. And also, stop comparing yourself to others – it just doesn’t help. We all judge our own work too harshly, and tend not to judge others. So, it’s never a fair comparison. Plus, I know I make the mistake (and I’m sure others do too), of thinking ‘different’ means ‘better’. It really doesn’t. Different is just different – no comparison needed. So, your work is lovely. If you enjoy it, then keep doing it and don’t worry about what others are doing – just enjoy your own thing. The pens you made were just gorgeous, so you can certainly make lovely things. Keep going!

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