The Process of Rediscovery
Being the only one at the helm of this ship called Wise Craft Handmade ⎯ the only one to produce, make things happen, create new products, post online, write patterns ⎯ is both challenging and exciting. There is never a time that I don’t feel I could be doing more- more work, more reaching out, more social media, more product design. There is pressure to work more efficiently, quicker, smarter, and do all the necessary things to make more of a business to my creative world.
Many have discussed the illusion of “busy” online. Other people seem to get it right, they look polished and productive. There’s an awe of “how do they get it all done” that washes over us whenever we see their newest project. There is a self-imposed rush to post beautifully composed Instagram images regularly, to write thought-provoking posts on FB, here on my blog, or even to caption a photo. Its very easy to feel overwhelmed. Even after being online since 2005, I can still feel overwhelmed some days. Most recently, I feel like there’s never enough time to make the actual content to post on social media in the first place, that I’m too busy creating the social media posts, or securing the work. And to what end?
People disappear from social media for a time and we worry, or they announce a “break”, or simply just throw their hands up and walk away. Its tempting, I will admit. Social media can warp what you really think of your own work, and what it is you want to produce. In can confuse you into thinking you should be doing things a certain way to get a desired result, and make you forget where you passion is.
I asked my newsletter subscribers back in the Spring for their advice on embracing a slower Summer schedule. It really felt like the perfect time to make a deliberate shift. I needed to back away from what the work in my studio, from social media comparisons, and look at things from a broader and really, a simpler, perspective. Things had gotten creatively muddy. I was also weary of how deadlines were just zapping my creative energy. Deadlines are important and necessary, but I had begun reacting to them in a way I didn’t recognize.
I was feeling REactive. I wanted to feel more PROactive.
The overarching advice I received from my readers was plain and simple. Give yourself permission take a break and pause. I knew that, but appreciated (and needed!) the nudge. Taking a break online and saying no to new projects, even for a short period of time, can feel like I’m walking away from my income stream.
But, I really needed to change things up. I forced myself on a little hiatus.
I’ve watched two seasons of The Great British Baking Show and sewn thousands little hand stitches while doing it.
I’ve browsed through aisles of thrift stores, a coffee in hand, searching for old books or strange little things that I could play with and perhaps give a second life.
I’ve been to the museum with my daughter.
I’ve seen movies with my son.
I’ve supported them as they’ve both embarked on their first real jobs ever.
I’ve had fancy dinners with my husband.
We’ve said goodbye to Gracie, our wonderful furry companion for 12 years.
As for studio work, I have spent some time working on things that are exploratory, instinctive, and just a little different for me. Things that make my heart sing. I am more inspired than I’ve been in a very long time. I’ve had time to look at my entire business in a more “what if?” kind of way.
It feels scary, uncertain, and exciting. Feelings that life is too short not to allow myself to feel.