On Brain Weasels and Their Ilk

In an effort to make sure I’m talking about more than the actual art I make, and also about process, let’s talk about brain weasels. (which, incidentally, are what’s kept this post in draft form for too long!)


Anyone who thinks there is little of anything but joy in art really has no experience in the field. Yes, it can be fun and rewarding and relaxing and enjoyable, but it’s never always that way. Ever.

Brain weasels (a term I first heard from a dear friend) are a general blanket term/idea for those ideas that sabotage being able to complete work.

There are times when I feel that art becomes something we do because we ought to do it. It’s a task. It’s something that we do out of a sense of obligation/need/stubbornness. And, sure, there are also times when you do something because you need to. Because you have a nasty deadline that’s approaching faster than you want it to and you’re horribly behind so it’s frustrating – but that’s not what I’m talking about.

So this is where the brain weasels come in. They’re those nasty feelings that eat at you about your art. They like to breed, and to tell you that your work isn’t good. Or keep you from working on things that you need to do because if you’re a failure, why do you even bother with this? It becomes a lovely self-fulfilling prophecy, at least to an extent, and is certainly far from an ideal situation when you need to get things done. Weasels and I are long-term friends. We seem to go through cycles where they win, and the very idea of making art is almost overwhelming. (Though not overwhelming enough to stop me from feeling really guilty about it.)

How I combat them? Well, that’s a bit of a difficult thing. Mostly, it’s a combination of accepting that they exist and that they’re my problems. But I also have started trying to make lists of my projects, and during times when it’s less than ideal to complete things, I at least have some small parts I can work on. Then, of course, when I have the energy to work on things… I do it.

And now, I go back to the trenches of sewing. Updates soon!

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