Stay on the Bus {Discussion}

Stay on the Bus

There is an article being shared around that I think is worth reading and pondering for a bit. It is called Stay on the Bus, and please go have a look / read.

The premise is that when you are starting out, you will be in a sea of opportunity. There will be lots of options (buses) that you can choose from. There are lots of reasons to choose a particular bus, but let’s all assume that we are on this quilting / blogging journey because it is a passion. A calling. Something that speaks to our hearts and souls. But within quilting / blogging, there are still so many buses to get on. Does modern quilting make your heart sing? Traditional? Art? Applique? EPP? FPP? Design? Fabric design? Does free motion quilting make your heart sing? Do you blog frequently or infrequently? So very many buses.

As you travel your route on the bus, you might hear about success someone had following a different route, or perhaps you will be compared to earlier masters who started on your same route and fall a bit short (to which I would also refer you back to Ira Glass’s Creative Process thoughts). If you go back to the station and get on another line, start another journey, you will still go through those beginning phases and be compared to earlier masters. The message the article is sharing is that the difference in success and finding creative breakthroughs is to stay true to yourself and to stay on your bus.

I have many thoughts about this. On the one hand: yes. Stay on the bus. Follow your heart and passion. Also: each quilting bus does not have to follow the same road. You don’t have to get off of the modern quilting bus to start designing. It might just be the next stop on your route.

On the other hand: I got off a bus, and it was the best decision I could make for myself. I rode my aerospace engineering bus to its conclusion; it would not have been healthy for me to stay on that bus for another day. I started over.

I know that the message is really aimed at creative types who are going to receive critique on their work and feel a need to reinvent themselves along the way, but I do know that I am open to personal reinvention.

So, what do you think? Does this resonate with you? Does this touch a spot that encourages you to keep going down your path or are you thinking it might be time for a course correction (whatever that might mean)?

27 thoughts on “Stay on the Bus {Discussion}

  1. Very interesting discussion. I think of my quilting journey as just that – a journey. So while I might be on the quilting bus it’s perfectly acceptable to get off at a stop if I reach a destination that looks interesting. So for example modern quilting, stay as long as I like there and find out as much as I can, perhaps even decide to stay there forever. But if the fancy takes me I can get back on the quilting bus and travel somewhere else. If you stay on the bus forever what exciting opportunities might you miss?

  2. Isobel says:

    Hello Yvonne. Thank you for posting these interesting articles. I have found both Ira Glass’s ‘Creative Process’ and ‘Stay on the Bus’ so relevant to me! In my early twenty’s I was fortunate to be able to support myself through my creative work/textile art. Then I became a teacher, then a mother,….and my energies were given over to supporting others in discovering their creative paths. It was a wonderful time, but there just wasn’t enough time for me to do ‘my own work’. Now, at the age of 50(!) I have regained some of that time and I’m re-evaluating which ‘bus to catch’. So, this is a very exciting time for me: i’m back to stitching and designing, but i’m not sure what/where/why/how etc the work will develop. But I do know that I have to be true to myself.
    It is a pleasure to read your posts and great to see how your work is developing.

  3. Denise says:

    I don’t think it’s important to please other people or to justify my work to anyone. I make whatever inspires me at that time. Some projects are about learning a technique, some about colour or pattern, others are completely a creative experience. No one should worry about their proverbial bus because your journey is what’s important, not how long or how similar to someone else’s.

  4. sewcrazi says:

    Thanks for sharing Yvonne!! This resonates with me so much!! I am a quilting newbie with a passion for art and just discovered fabric and thread as a medium last August. I look forward to finding my bus and staying on it!! Art (in so many forms) is sooo much fun and sooo therapeutic.

  5. Lisa says:

    Hi Yvonne: Way to start my Saturday morning. Thanks so much for the link to the Stay on the Bus article, I really enjoyed reading it. It made me think about quilt/block design and how when I jumped on the 2015 new bloggers block challenge I thought what the heck can be done that hasn’t been done already.
    Your point about switching things also makes sense to me. I think when we start out with something often we have to try a lot of different routes to find out what truly makes our hearts sing, and sometimes we get on the wrong bus. You might decide you just don’t want to be on that applique bus, that the improv bus was the one you should have been on all along.
    I am finding that the more I quilt , and interestingly enough the more I blog about it and converse with other bloggers the clearer my path is becoming, even though life sometimes throws traffic jams in the way.
    The most instructive point of the article to me was the note about comparison to others and to just keep going as your differentiation will just happen along the way.

  6. I’m having a lot of trouble staying on the bus. My bus might be a more general ‘making using fabric’ bus rather than a ‘quilting specific’ bus. I want to be on the quilting only bus, but then I get distracted and want to try out all the things. Maybe the bus I should be on is the multi bus of making. Thanks for posting this Yvonne.

    1. I like the bus of multi-making. I would catch that bus. I don’t want to be on the quilting only bus. There are already too many quilts in this house!

  7. Emma Keith says:

    Thanks for the thought provoking article, Yvonne. I’ve long been an artist in search of her bus and I’ve found it: quilting! I know the trajectory of my bus route in quilting, having come to to it fifteen years into my journey of living with brain injuries. It is quilting as a vehicle for healing myself, practicing self compassion, being present in the moment, focusing on the rich experience that is found in every step of the quilt making process. Quilting is also my vehicle for opening up discussions around topics people shy away from: living with mental illness, contemplating suicide, living with brain injuries and the aftermath of trauma. Nearing 40, the stage of my life is far smaller than the ones on which I preformed prior to traumatic brain injury. Quilting brings my small life meaning and forward momentum. I am proud to have fostered a life worth living with needle and thread. I would like to blog about my experiences in therapeutic quilting and I am working on creating a blog. Perhaps there are other quilters who have a similar blog focus?

    Yvonne, your work impacts my life. Thank you for the gift of sharing. Emma

  8. Janice says:

    Yvonne, thank you for posting a most thought provoking article. When I began reading, I thought it was going to encourage people to get off the bus and experience more and different endeavors. I love that it was the opposite and that by staying on the bus you can develop your own personal style and improve upon your techniques. It validates what I’ve been thinking about lately as I move into my retirement years and find fewer years to waste. There’s a certain peacefulness in honing ones skills.

  9. I too, at age 50 got off the “corporate marketing and sales” bus to start my own quilting/sewing business. Lo and behold, a year into it and I am back at marketing and sales but now my product is APQS Longarm quilting machines (which I LOVE) and I am still able to create with my quilting business! I am super blessed to be able to work quilt shows, teach classes and create quilts for my clients. I so get the “so many buses” ideology since I am drawn to Modern design, new techniques, restoring antique quilts, and so many other avenues of quilting. It is difficult at times to know whether to just stay on the bus I’m on or venture off to new things, still related to the world of quilting. (Apparel, art, memory, etc) My mind is constantly thinking (dreaming) of new ideas. My biggest weakness and fear is social media, blogging, even writing my monthly newsletter. At times I tell myself “just don’t do it” but I know that is where growth lies and if I don’t pursue it there is a part of me that will die as opposed to grow. Yvonne, I have been following you since I began this journey of my own business and I have seen so much growth in your world and work. You are an inspiration and I hope to one day share a cup of coffee or tea at a quilt venue! Thanks for sharing.

  10. What a great article. Thank you. I don’t know if my bus drives in circles, or if I keep jumping off and going in different directions. Sometimes the EPP bus seems to go too slow, but I always come back to it.

  11. Lara B. says:

    Yvonne, this is a wonderful analogy. You are right that life sometimes leads us to take a different bus. I’m picturing a journey where there might be many buses for each leg of the trip. Plus side trips to see points of interest along the way too.
    There are many times in life where we reassess and reinvent who we wish to be. When my kids grew up, I didn’t know who I wanted to be. The need to reinvent myself led me to quilting.
    I’m glad you are happy that you changed buses too!

  12. Shasta says:

    When I watch shows about Olympic athletes or other pro athletes, I see that they managed to succeed because of their dogged pursuit of one goal, despite injuries and other life issues. If you really want to be a master at something, so much so that other people recognize that you are a master at it, you really do have to stick to it until you really master it.

    I have been quilting for over 20 years, and I am not a master at any of it, because I like variety and try pretty much all the different things about it that I can. Jack of all trades, master of none. If I loved one thing exclusively, then I would have found a voice and become a master, but I love it all so I will stick to enjoying it all.

  13. Serena@sewgiving says:

    I feel like I’m in constant training to resist “look squirrel!” and not jump buses lol … as I get older though I’m happy to drive my own car instead of hopping on a bus, does that make sense?

  14. Helen says:

    I’m all fir staying in the bus . Life long learning is what it’s all about. It may change direction but it’s never wasted

  15. Anita Nelson says:

    You sound like a true Irish person who can easily make the case for both sides of an argument! And please accept that as a compliment!

  16. Jasmine says:

    I like the idea of my own personal bus or quilting journey. My bus has taken me from traditional quilts in muted colors to brighter more simple quilts. I’m not trying to stand out in design or style. I’m just enjoying the ride. 🙂

  17. Sally says:

    I think there’s definitely an element of both sides to this, yes staying true to yourself and not changing tack because of other people’s comments and tastes, but so often change is good and can be a very positive influence on your life generally. Plus there’s got to be room for some experimenting and growing in different ways. So I’m sure there must be a better analogy out there, but my brain is too tired to think of any!

  18. Elizabeth E. says:

    I clicked over and read the original post (need to go one further click to read the original talk–will do that later) and found it really an interesting discussion of “staying the course” in our own work. I loved that you presented this idea to us, and often we quilters can be easily distracted by other people’s work and their beautiful quilts. The trick is, as said so well in your blog post, is to stay on the bus and see where it takes you. Thanks for this!

  19. Well I did jump off the architecture bus and right onto a school bus. Never regretted the move. As for my quilting bus, I just do what I please. It’s really all about finding a happy bus with good energy 🙂

  20. Really interesting article and approach to life in general. There are always going to be external influences in your life that often result in a crossroads (or bus transfer in this analogy). It’s all in how you handle it, remember that you can’t go back and redo it. It may seem like getting off the bus and running back to the platform but it’s just another mode of travel which is always forward, despite the direction. For me, leaving theater (and re-entering it in a different capacity) is like getting off the bus for a while and just catching a later one, heading toward the same destination. As for quilting, it’s too soon to tell. I sometimes wish I could catch the express bus since there are so many things I want to do and just not enough time, but it’s good to remind myself that the scenic route has its benefits too.

  21. Heulwen says:

    …as long as the bus isn’t a Vietnamese night bus, it’s all good, lol! (I speak from experience; those things are Not Fun when you’re almost 6′ tall.)

    Based on that analogy, I think I’m still at the bus station, looking at all the different routes and trying to decide which one(s) might be for me. In fact, I wonder if the difference between a hobbyist creator and a professional creator is that the former enjoys dabbling in this, that and t’other without making a major commitment to a specific bus, whereas the latter tends to pick a bus and stay with it. That’s not intended to be implied criticism of either option; I’m still pretty firmly in the hobbyist group, myself! But if one chooses a bus, for whatever reason, then this advice is certainly worth bearing in mind. I always think it’s interesting to look back at a creation and see what would change or stay the same if I made it again now.

  22. Janet S says:

    Perhaps the point is to stay on A bus, not necessarily the same bus. Keep moving forward, keep learning new things, meeting new people. It’s OK to change buses, just keep moving.

  23. Good Morning Yvonne! I did follow your link and read the post; several thoughts surfaced while reading. I then returned and finished reading your post; where those thoughts surfaced a tad bit more. I will have to really take the time and write down the thoughts that surfaced and examine them closely. One major creative bus that I truly enjoyed being on was applique, then for whatever reasons, I got off that bus and began just mainly piecing. A couple days ago, I decided to do an applique quilt for Project Linus and I have discovered how much I have missed this process and realized that the joy I felt also gave me a renewed energy level. So along with the thoughts that I am going to explore, I am also going to keep in mind the journey of the last few days and go from there.

    Thank You for sharing all of these brilliant articles/posts that I know I will be reading and discovering more about myself and my blogging/quilting journey. I will also be checking out the other quilters posts. Have a fantastic creative day!

  24. AJ says:

    nailed it. I am on more than one bus….that can’t work for long!!

  25. Yvonne says:

    I have quilted for most of my life – had a grandma who encouraged it and showed me the basics of sewing quite young. Have been in the stressful career of medical records/auditing for many, many years and need out for my own health. Am blogging about my quilting journey and hope to actually make a steady enough income to do FT. Passionate about quilting. It has gotten me thru good and bad times. I am on the quilting/blogging bus and intend to enjoy the ride, but also learn and mentor as much as possible. Thank you for the great article and the reminder to not get discouraged.

I really appreciate the time and thought you take to comment, and I look forward to conversing with you. :)