When Mojo Gets Up and Goes

Cathy ZielskeCZ Life53 Comments

I’m having a dry spell of creativity.

Last weekend, I spent a lovely weekend around amazing, creative women at a retreat in the glorious state of Ohio. While I created precisely nothing at this retreat, it was cool to look over the shoulders of artists and makers and all-around good human beings, as they did a bit of this and a bit of that. I knew before I left I probably wouldn’t make anything. It wasn’t a self-fulfilling prophecy. I just don’t craft on the go. I’m a make-it-in-your-dining-room kind of girl.

This morning, after a horrible night of dreams that included singularly awful haircuts and tardiness, I sat down to plan out my day and realized that I got nothing. Nothing.

For me, nothing means is I feel like I’m floating and ungrounded.

Self-employment is nothing if not being anchored to a daily purpose. A purpose to make a living and get as much done as possible to that end. Floating above your planner? Staring at your computer screen and not knowing what the next step needs to be at 7 a.m.? Not so great in terms of making things happen.

This has always been cycle for me, and thankfully, not a particularly frequent one. Normally, I chug along and even on the days when I feel less creative, I can still find things I need to work on for the most part.

But today just feels like mama needs to really buckle down and find that purpose because it’s Thursday. And many things should have happened by Thursday that have not yet happened.

Things like:

• recording and editing three new card videos for really adorable cards that need to have videos made.

• getting my nails painted (so my hands look more pleasing in said videos) because I’ve tried twice to do it myself and holy hell, that skill has apparently left the building.

• planning class ideas for 2018.

• designing products for Simon Says Stamp.

• designing products for Designer Digitals.

Next week I begin designing the winter issue of Scrapbook & Cards Today magazine (one of my most favorite freelance jobs ever!), and that means I’ll focus more on the magazine tasks, which are set in stone in terms of do this, then do that. I think many of you know this, but I’m a graphic designer by trade and one who got my start in print/publication design. When I’m working on stuff like that, I’m a fish in water. I feel like I’m on auto pilot, but in a very positive way. I know exactly what I’m doing. It’s my happy place because there’s no time to float. Sometimes I wish I had four more jobs just like it. There would be so much less time to float.

Yesterday, however, in an effort to check something off my list, I did this:

My YouTube channel is growing and I knew I should have some sort of welcome video for anyone who had never been to my channel before. So, I put on a ton of makeup, set up my big DSLR, connected it to my laptop so I could attempt to get myself in focus, and shot some random clips for about 10 minutes. True, I should have gotten an external mic rather than rely on the Canon 5D’s built-in camera, but it’ll suffice for now.

I guess I share a bit of this stuff because I want you to know that people in this industry of craft and making stuff don’t always fire on all cylinders all the time. Sometimes, we freak out and feel like there may not be another good idea. Like ever.

Sometimes, even after a long weekend away from work, we don’t return refreshed and ready to hit it hard.

Today, my plan is to delete files on my computer hard drive as I’m running low on space.

And to take a shower.

And to shell out $20 for a damned manicure done by a highly trained professional.

Dinner and laundry will be purely optional.

And the mojo will return.



Cathy ZielskeWhen Mojo Gets Up and Goes

53 Comments on “When Mojo Gets Up and Goes”

  1. #1
    Jeanette Collins

    This is exactly why I’m such a fan of yours! I remember in my younger days of teaching school that I felt this same way but had 27 little faces in my presence to manage. Those days you do what you gotta do to get through the day. It’s absolutely OK not to be 100% every day. Heck, in your case, it perfectly OK just to allow yourself to “float” or nap or whatever! Thank you for sharing the “real” YOU. We need more of this kind of real-mess in these days where everyone and everything on social media looks like perfect lives.

  2. #2

    I can so relate. When my children left home, I lost my mojo. I was always a voracious reader sewer, and baker. All of a sudden, nada. I thought at first it was depression, but soon realized it was that my pattern, my routine had been changed and I had to create a new normal. It took a bit, but I came out on the other side. Now that I have recently retired, I find myself in the same situation. I had so looked forward to all of the time to read and to craft. I have spent the last three months watching card videos and organizing my craft room, but not actually creating anything. Today is my day. I feel a new normal coming on. Today, I will make a card (a Halloween card for my daughter who wonders why anyone would sent Halloween cards! ) I will also consolidate my five or six lists into one and begin tackling those To-Do’s one at a time. Life has its waves – ready to ride this one. Thank you for being real and being an inspiration. (Oh, and your nails are fine – who needs a manicure that you have to keep up. You work with your hands, for goodness sakes! <3)

    1. #2.1

      I think you nailed it. Empty nest syndrome, I’m guessing.
      Just takes time. Cut yourself slack, and just do baby steps when it comes to getting stuff done. Soon you’ll be your old/new self.

    2. #2.2
      Cathy Zielske

      You know, I never made that connection…. this whole transition might be affecting my creativity. Good to acknowledge, you know? And yes, I did NOT go get a manicure. As much as I appreciate them, I just don’t have the time, plus as soon as polish is on my nails, I want it off! lol

  3. #4

    This is what I like about you and keep on returning to your sites. You make it real. And yeah, how about making another bee video. Maybe it will give you a much needed creative buzz.

    1. #4.1
      Cathy Zielske

      Do you know why I can’t do another one? You can’t use any songs online. You face potential copyright infringement. So, the only thing I could do? Sing a cappella and dance!

  4. #5

    You are awesome Cathy. Thanks for letting us see all the sides of your creative journey. Some days you just have to put one foot in front of another in order to keep moving.

  5. #6

    You are the real deal!!! This is why I am such a fan! Life is such an ocean to swim in. Sometimes floating is the only way!!! ( and sometimes we feel like surfing)!!!

  6. #8

    This video is perfectly imperfect, which is what I love about you! Thanks for all your inspiration over the years.

  7. #9

    those hand massages that come with the manicures are the best!!! That in and of itself should hit the reset button!!

  8. #10
    Tammy B

    I think that my crafting mojo left the building last December! I have been scrambling all year to make and send out every month, and they usually hit the mail late. So not like me. Haven’t even thought about Christmas cards yet and I need to make a lot of those. It will come back eventually but for now, I’m trying not to let the guilt get in the way. Oh, and if you do get the manicure, go with clear polish. Sometimes the very colourful nails detract from the whole card making process! Have a good one Cathy!

    1. #10.1
      Cathy Zielske

      I decided to skip the whole manicure! lol. Watched a few episodes of the Handmaid’s Tale.

  9. #13

    What?! No more bee???

    What about super old songs?

    Maybe donning the bee costume and dancing will get you back in the groove whether you record it or not.

    Then again, I always feel a surge of creativity just after I’ve been at a loose end.

  10. #14

    cute hair!

    craft adjacent activities? something outdoors that doesn’t involve falling over? you did say you love hallowe’en, so there must be something purple and lime that would seem like fun, rather than work. Perhaps you need a holiday.

    Hope the blahs shift and you can get your to do list to done.

  11. #15

    Hi Cathy, I thought you looked great in your video–and you always make me laugh. I also think you are a wonderful writer btw. Just a thought: If you are looking for a stamp set/journaling cards idea, I would love to have a college-themed one, with words like: my dorm room, best place on campus, chapel, roommate etc, so us empty nesters can scrap our kids’ college years. There isn’t much out there in the scrap world.

  12. #16

    Mojo Missing is a real thing. One of those “the only way out is through it” things. I’m feeling the same, but mine has more to do with being tired than anything else. So, taking a rest day and seeing if that helps. Also, just a future class request–Clean and Simple 3, maybe? I’m about to start your DYL 2.0 again, just because I loved it. I also took Clean & Simple at BPC years ago (think that was it, or was it DYL 1.0?) At any rate, I love to scrapbook (non-digi) and would love to go through another class devoted to your simple but beautiful process. Good luck finding your Mojo!

    1. #16.1
      Cathy Zielske

      I should do a new Clean & Simple scrapbooking.

      It’s funny, because sometimes, the process itself may not be as simple as it could be, but the layout and design is always simple and clean! Thanks for t

      1. #16.1.1

        I loved your digital classes. An update and expanded version of that would be great.
        Also loved the Me:Abridged Version class. You are a great teacher btw!

  13. #17

    Some days you just need to go outside and just be, look at the fall leaves, take your favorite cup with your favorite drink and just enjoy the fact that there is a world out there and you get to be in it. Don’t even think about anything, just enjoy what’s around you…the rest will happen when it is meant to. Blessings, my friend, we all appreciate you!

  14. #18
    Chris Cox

    I hate those days, and I seem to have them too frequently lately. I teach a card class twice a month with my bff. We are each resposible for creating 4 cards of various sentiments. We have about 35 students between the two classes. I tell myself every month that I should create and cut one card a week. Does that happen…nope. I try. I sit at my desk in my craft room and just stare at my supplies. I have absolutely no clue what to do. So, I create and cut 4 cards in two days…two days before our first class. I feel like the creative juices flow better when I am pressured to get it done. I am completely stressed for an entire weekend. My husband knows that he should either leave town, or leave me alone for those two days. I don’t think he gets it. Creative people…they understand. The struggle is very real!!

  15. #19
    Kathleen McConnell

    Yes, yes, thank you!! I’ve been suffering the same creativity downtime and it can sure be disturbing. I keep asking myself, “How does Cathy Zielske do it every day?” Good to know you also just wait out the cycle (with some self-pampering thrown in). So grateful you shared this!

    1. #19.1
      Cathy Zielske

      Ha! Yes, some days Cathy Zielske (who likes to talk about herself in the third person) just decides to eat Saltines and watch the Handmaid’s Tale! lol.

  16. #20

    Cathy, I love you. Thank you for always being so honest.

    I get Reverse Midas Syndrome (the official name for when everything I touch turns to crap) every once in a while, and the thing that helps me the most is to flip through my scrapbook albums, which gives me warm fuzzy feels and reminds me why I fell in love with this hobby in the first place. Then I go make something REALLY simple (maybe you can make something just for yourself, not for public consumption?), something that’s impossible to eff up even with a bad case of RMS, and then I slowly but surely start getting back to myself. (Pro tip: wine case lessen symptoms of RMS.)

  17. #21

    I am going through a bit of empty nest syndrome as well. I can totally relate to floating. And I can’t believe you were in Ohio again!!!

    I was reading a few comments and it hit me. This is totally random. Have you seen The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on Amazon? You should check it out! I tell all my friends to watch it ( no one listens!). But I think you would like it?. That is all I got.

    Kelly from Ohio

  18. #22
    Leanne in Cali

    Love your video here! Can’t wait to see more scrapbook videos and layouts as well as your fabulous cards!! Take care.

  19. #23

    Uggh, I totally get the no mojo thing. I have been dealing with it too. I just walk into my scrapbook room and walk right back out. I cannot get inspired to do anything even though I’m still taking photos, but not as many. I have teenagers now and you know how that is. I Do enjoy looking through my books though. One thing that has helped me is the Project Life app…I’ll get inspired every now and then and make a layout on that. I love getting a little pile of completed pages in the mail. I keep really wanting to make a real paper page though, but just can’t seem to get to it? It’s so weird. bleh
    Hope your mojo returns soon!

  20. #24
    Laura J

    Thanks, as always, for keeping it real…I think that’s why I enjoy you so much!

    And I see that you skipped the manicure in favor of watching Handmaid’s Tale…good choice, if you ask me!

  21. #25

    Cathy! You are my hero! Seriously! I absolutely love watching your videos! And I love your style!! Design style & your style of self, if that is such a thing?! And you can bet your bippy that i will always be checking in…no matter the state of your mojo:) Love, Love, Love coming here every day to be inspired. In crafting, but also in life!!❤️?

  22. #26

    Cathy, you do rock my world. I’ve been a fan for many years. It’s been so much fun watching your kiddos grow up. Keep on being you.. cause you are awesome.

  23. #27

    I think you need to come up with more tabbed sentiments…or just sentiments in general. I bought the first set with the tab die, embossing powder, etc. The crispness is amazing…unlike any other. I would definately buy more words/sentiments.

  24. #28

    Love the video! Well done 🙂

    And as a freelancer, I know exactly what you’re saying! Some days I rock and I roll, other days… I barely get anything done. Always doing your best can sometimes be exhausting!

    Sending smiles across the (many) miles 🙂
    Nina from Germany

  25. #29
    Lyn Lovell

    I can’t do my nails properly either Cathy but skip the manicures. Keeping it real is one of the things I love the most about you. You never fail to entertain. I have just been made redundant from my job at the age of 57 and maybe, just maybe, might have the chance of a work from home job through a friend. Will find out more next week. So for someone who has never worked from home I imagine this will be quite a challenge if it comes to fruition. Wish me luck!

  26. #31

    I love your personality, communication style, and am so thankful that you share your creative ideas that get us excited about making things. I feel like I’m with a friend when watching one of your videos or reading your blog posts. Thanks so much for being real and exposing the trueness to daily ruts and real life stuff. 🙂

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