Right now I've committed myself to 4 projects with various due dates and requests not to post pictures until ____. I've been trying to discover my overall view of these swaps and challenges.
Oh, I could list (I am a listoholic...making, not necessarily following) the pros and cons. There's an original concept.
1. Deadlines. These force me to get busy and do something.
2. Rules. These simplify the decision making process. I'm a debater, delayer, evader, avoider, distracter, procrastinator, ditherer..."should I do this or that?" I waste a lot of energy!
3. I love some of the ideas. The Simple Still Life challenge, for example, gives the opportunity to see the varied interpretations and techniques inspired by one photograph. One point of take off, but journeys and destinations all different. Can't wait to see the finished products from all of the participants. Anticipation is good. Lots of leeway in this project, but still a unifying element.
4. Requirements such as a given theme, size, or technique force me to expand my thinking about not only that particular project, but other works, as well. How to approach a given theme in a creative way (I need some of your techniques here, Thomas) that emphasizes elements of the theme that may not be readily apparent... the new twist. Trying projects that are out of your normal "size range" - working larger or smaller. Experimenting with new techniques that you might not get around to without some instigation is also a lasting benefit. Whether the technique is a fit or not, it helps keep you flexible.
5. In swaps, I love the idea of having the opportunity to own someone else's work. The postcards, ATC's, ATP's, art quilts, etc.
6. Communication with others who have the same interests.
1. Deadlines. Hate 'em.
2. Rules, regulations, requirements. I want to do things my way!
3. Stress of having the projects hanging over my head.
4. If the swap commitments aren't done, I can't play with my other projects. Or if I do, I can't enjoy them as much.
Conclusion: Like everything else I enjoy, there are aspects that are annoying, rules to be followed, deadlines to meet, decisions to be made. Rules and deadlines also apply to things I despise. What else is new? For me, right now at least, these swaps and challenges provide stimulation and creative inspirations that are fun and rewarding. *Note that some of the con's are the same as the pro's.
I've just signed up for the 4th swap, and I'm afraid of getting snowed under - which is what let to this post.
I've take Rayna's advice on the quilt swap project and removed it from the wall, placing all possible embellishments, threads, etc. with it in a box. In a few days, I'll take it out again and make some decisions -- right or wrong. This is one I wish I could post and get advice on, but that is against the rules.