I had no intention of getting back to writing anytime soon (it is in my to-do list for 2017 but my plan was to prolong my procrastination a little bit more), but I doodled and sketched out of the random blue all day yesterday and I had gotten so into it so I was at it almost nonstop, except for a couple of breaks to growl at the kids, until I unintentionally and finally came up with a notebook/idea dump site for my creations, which was awesome, IKR?!? Unfortunately, the 3rd and 4th knuckles of my left hand are swollen and sore now. I have always had a problem with my too tense pencil grips. I know I need to take a break but I get restless if I do non-artsy fartsy stuff. I can’t even sit through a 50-minute TV show without doing anything with my hands anymore. So while I nurse my south paw with cold compress (typing lightly shouldn’t add any more damage, I assume), I’ll take this opportunity to warm up my very rusty writing skills.
This year, I have changed my mindset towards my arts and crafts. I’ve started taking into account more seriously, my to-do’s, completed tasks and even things that needed to be worked on. Although I still have no set direction (I still have no business plan, I suck that way), I’d like to think that things are falling into place. And so, I’ve come to CELEBRATE ACCOMPLISHMENTS, NO MATTER HOW SMALL THEY MAY SEEM. Whether it may be coming up with a logo and printing business cards, a consignment, a picture in a blog or a mention in a magazine, a sudden inspiration or a couple of TV appearances (yasss!), or even a nice packaging idea and international shipping of a very small item – the littlest things — they all got written down (previously in my Starbucks planner that has been pre-designed with printed watercolor effects so I don’t like it so much, so I transferred them) in my new idea dump site that I made yesterday. It’s not just a booklet of lists. I swear to make an effort to make it into an art journal with a consistent (FINALLY!) theme about my works.
This way, I get to track my progress. And feel good, of course! If anyone has actually been reading my posts, he or she would know that I like to focus on the positive. Yeah, sure, the arts and crafts community is fun. But the business has its challenges and I couldn’t help but feel a little bit bad whenever I don’t achieve what I set to accomplish before. Writing about what worked and what didn’t made me actually realize that what they (who?) say is right: when a door closes, another one, and more, open. Rejected craft show applications, bad customers, failed patterns, ugly art journaling results, even low sales don’t get to me anymore. Because something else, something new, sometimes even better, always comes. This is what I usually share with my fellow artisans. I don’t just say “it’s ok” if they’re disappointed with something (mostly about low sales and craft show rejections) and they needed some comforting. I say it because it’s true: that IT IS OK, and they can always move on and move forward to another opportunity.
Writing about those that didn’t work also make me think about the WHY. For example, I opened my Etsy shop last year but it didn’t really took off (I was secretly hoping for some fanfare, stupid me). My excuses were : 1. Locals wouldn’t pay for extra Etsy and Paypal fees: 2. No one would pay for international shipping fee that’s more expensive than the doll itself. 3. There were already so many well established, more talented artists and dollmakers in Etsy. No one will notice me.
But really, I just got lazy. I didn’t promote my shop all that much. So I let my postings expire. Surprisingly, because I’ve uploaded several of the postings in Pinterest, there are hundreds upon hundreds of repins of my dolls and inquiries (unfortunately, the dolls were all sold). They made an effort to find me because I didn’t put my contact information in Pinterest (another stupid move). And now I think I’d like to revive my Etsy shop, once I find out how my international shipping test run (in progress) with my cousin in the USA goes.
I have also decided to CREATE FOR MYSELF, meaning, I stopped focusing on the approvals of others. I came to the point last year when my mindset turned into “will they (who exactly?) like what I make? Will my creations be sellable? What if they don’t like the dolls?” Such thoughts put a pressure on me – nothing seriously life-changing but still, it was a nagging pressure that really sucked the fun out of creating. That feeling as a worker bee at the office when you need to prove yourself all the time to get your queen bee’s approval? That’s the feeling. Only, there were a hundred invisible bosses. I couldn’t even identify whom I needed approval from. It came to a point when I was surrounded by a set of dolls which I didn’t find enjoyable to make. I won’t tell which, but this was last year. It happened about a couple of times when returning customers at craft shows asked about my new creations and I just shrugged (probably made a face, too) and told them I had no new designs despite the army of newly made dolls behind my back. If they’re not in my Instagram feed, they could likely, but not certainly, be those. I secretly apologize to those who adopted them, but I’m sure they are in more wonderful homes now.
So I stopped thinking about those annoying questions in my head and decided to change, well, revert actually, to my original mindset, to keep on making (even when I am hit by a dollmaker’s block) and to focus on my own designs to be able to create freely and express myself more honestly. Anyway, a like-minded individual who comes across my works will be able to appreciate what I do.
I also stopped accepting clients requests. There were some who expressed their disappointment when I redirected them to other crocheters and dollmakers, and I admit, I am a little flattered by your disappointment, but I apologize. I know, I know. This is not a very profitable way of doing this kind of business. I’ve noticed that there is an increase in people who want something that’s custom made and special so yeah, I’m losing a lot of clients and profits this way. But the thing is, I feel the need to pour my ideas out before I forget, or worse, get hand injuries, or even worst, lose interest! So while I’m on a roll, I’ll continue to make for myself.
Maybe if I run out of ideas, I will start accepting requests again. But it’s true what they (who they again???) say. One idea gives birth to ideas which give birth to more ideas. The more I make and create for myself, the more that inspiration keeps on coming!
So let’s keep on making, folks!