What’s Your What?

It took me all week to figure out how I wanted to finish off the binding on my Sheltered Wonder Art Journal.

I’d finished binding in the 20 pages. I’d even created a little video of the completed journal. Except for the spine, I felt it had come out really well.

But that spine…

There were lots of alternatives on how I could finish it off… the hows were limitless!

The unfinished spine.

Yesterday, the answer came to me. Paint a panel to cover up the messy threads.

So I did. And though the colours were slightly different than the cover itself I knew I could make it work.

But, how to give it a ‘finished’ look when I wouldn’t be able to fold over the panel at the top and bottom edge? (The inside pages came right up to the edge leaving no room for me to fold the page over.)

Plus the threads made a lumpy surface. How to smooth it out?

What about ribbon? The voice of the muse whispered. You have that beautiful blue ribbon with that rolled edge. What if you lay it on top first?

“But that’s not how I planned on doing it,” I hissed back.

Calmly she urged me on. “Let go of the how, Louise. Focus on what you’re trying to create.”

What am I trying to create? A beautiful finished spine for my journal.

I got the ribbon. Tried it out. I liked the look. I glued it down.

And then… well, I was still kind of attached to ‘the how’ that I’d started with. I wanted to affix my painted panel — but when I tested it, it still looked untidy and ‘blah’.

I sat and contemplated ‘the what’ of my project. And that’s when inspiration struck.

In the bottom drawer of the supplies drawer that sits beside me at my work table, I have a collection of tags I’ve made – for a rainy day, or perhaps just this occassion.

I dug through the drawer and found one I’d made a long time ago after seeing something similar at a craft fair.

It was the perfect fit.

I made a few adjustments and glued it in place.

Perfect.

The finished spine.

And here’s the thing — The finished spine is much different than what I’d started out to create. Remember the painted panel? I never did use it!

The lesson? If I had stayed focused on ‘the how’ of what I was doing, I would not have been open to the possibilities that appeared as I worked on the spine.

It’s not the ‘how’ that makes a difference. It’s the ‘what’.

In this case… A finished spine that created a visually appealing finish to the book.

If I had stayed focused on the ‘how’ of finishing off the spine, I would have been disappointed simply because the how was all about doing it the way my mind told me was ‘the right way’.

As long as I stay focused on ‘the what’, the story will always be about creating better. Always. Because the ‘what’ is about listening to my heart. The heart knows. The ‘how’ is an intellectual exercise. The ‘what’ engages the heart in taking action to create better.

Because that’s the thing. Staying attached to my first idea of how I was going to finish the spine would have kept me stuck in seeing only one path to getting to my goal, a path that would have resulted in an ‘okay’ finished product.

By focussing on my ‘what’, by letting my heart lead the way, I created something I really like. Something that pleases me. Something that reflects what the journal is all about — an expression of all I’ve learned, experienced and grown through during these months of self-isolation.

_____________________

And… if you want to see the video of the finished product (minus the completed spine) I created of the journal I’ve included it below.

For a first attempt at using Photoshop Premiere video editing software, I’m pleased with what I created. πŸ™‚ The how was easy — learn the software without pulling my hair out! πŸ™‚

12 thoughts on “What’s Your What?”

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