Trying not to be a Discouraged Maker this Holiday Season

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I’m trying not to be a discouraged maker this holiday season.

I read this blog post from the amazing Danielle at The Merriweather Council about staying sane as a maker during this hectic time of year. It totally resonated with me and I have a feeling that others will relate. Recently I have been comparing myself to the success I see in others and it can really pull the brakes on the momentum I have going on. Instead of focusing on what I have on my plate, I’ve been busy looking at everyone else’s and feeling quite sorry for myself.

I think I have split personality syndrome. On one side I am very creative, messy, and chill. Let’s call her Diana. Diana is fun and spontaneous. She doesn’t stick to a menu plan. She throws caution to the wind and tells the kids to get in the minivan because we’re heading to Chick-fil-A for dinner! Yeah, baby! My other side is organized, on time, and if I’m honest, a little intense. Let’s call her Karen. Karen never ever deviates from the plan. If Tuesdays are for tacos, then tacos will be had! Diana and Karen must not get along well because only one of them is in control of me at any given moment. If Diana is in control then my house looks like an episode right out of Hoarders but I’m happily crocheting amigurumi and can laugh off the chaos. If Karen is in charge then my house is tidy, we are on time and I get shit done.

Diana has definitely been in charge as of late and I have been in a super creative space. But because of that the holidays have snuck up on me and I’m not as prepared for them as I would like to be as a maker. Once I realized that it was only a few short weeks until Christmas, Karen pushed Diana out of the way and said she was taking over.

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Karen made a schedule so that the Etsy shop will be in full swing for the holidays. She put the Etsy shop on vacation mode and set the date to reopen on December 7th, plenty of time to ship everything before Christmas.

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The problem is that since Diana has been in charge for quite some time now, I’m not as prepared as I wish I could be. I am going to miss out on a big opportunity that presented itself  because I couldn’t be ready in time to take part in it. An awesome local antique mall (the largest in the southeast US) contacted me and offered me a table at their holiday Open House. To be able to stock an entire table I would need to have lots of animals and dolls ready made. Their Open House will welcome thousands of visitors from all over. As of writing this blog post I have a whopping total of two finished. You read that right…two. I can only make one to two animals per week and that’s if my tendonitis doesn’t start acting up (You can read more about that here: Saying Goodbye to my Beloved Cotton Yarn) That was a big huge bummer. A big, huge, fat, hairy, wet bummer. Not a nice visual, huh?

I started to feel super down about my own abilities and limitations. Scrolling through Instagram only made me feel worse when I saw how well planned and organized so many other makers seem to be. They have been preparing for the holiday season for months, while Diana has been over here flitting around in her own head!

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From the Merriweather Council Blog

“If you feel like seemingly everyone else is killing it this weekend – like everyone else has stacks of packages to ship out, orders out their ears, and everything is going just swell for everyone but you – please know that EVERYONE is on their own track. Everyone has to stay in their lane at their pace and experience their own ups and downs whenever they come. And TRUST ME everyone has downs and ups. Everyone.” – Danielle Spurge

This is exactly how I have been feeling. Everyone else is killing it and here I am picking my nose in the corner. But her quote really resonated with me and allowed me to see that I’m on my own track. This is my first holiday season as a maker as an Etsy shopkeeper. I am currently on track to be able to reopen the shop in early December and I am ok with that. Do I wish I had done more? Yes. Do I wish Karen had been in charge instead of Diana for the past few months? Maybe. Diana is definitely way more fun!

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But here I am, the beginning of November, and I’m going to take Danielle’s advice and stay in my lane, quit worrying about how well everyone else seems to be doing, and make some damn cute amigurumi. (Blog post about how you can make amigurumi too: You Can Make Amigurumi: A Tale of Two Walters)

Next season I will be more prepared. I will start focusing on the holiday season beginning in the summer or at the latest September. I would love to do some handmade markets and especially the holiday Open House at the antique mall. That will take planning and I will be depending on Karen to get me there. But I’ll make sure Diana is waiting in the wings with a double margarita and a sombrero in hand when I’ve completed my task.

Are you a Diana, a Karen, or both? Or do you have a completely different persona? I would love to hear about it!

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Pass the Pumpkin Spice: Fall Planning for Crafters

 

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Fall is almost here and while everyone else is all about the pumpkin, I’m all about the planning! I am a planning enthusiast! I get high from checking off those carefully organized boxes! In my personal life my planning obsession has been out of necessity. I am the mother of four children, two of whom are now grown. My husband travels all over the world for his job and in the recent past was gone more days a year than he was home. I have been homeschooling since 1999, which is a full-time job! Plus I have a child with special needs, which means extra doctor visits and therapy sessions.

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I’ve been exactly the opposite in regards to my budding little crochet business. I’ve been flying by the seat of my pants since it’s inception, creating what I want to create, when I want to create it. It has been working well up until this point. That flexibility has allowed my creativity to bloom and wander in different directions. But recently opportunities have come my way that I have not able to fully utilize because I haven’t had a plan. When you’re flying by the seat of your pants it’s hard to pull up the brakes and do things that require preparation.

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This month’s theme on the BHooked Podcast has been all about planning and I am loving it!! Brittany has great tips and wisdom beyond her years. One thing she encourages her listeners to do is set achievable goals. I have planned out my daily, weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, and quarterly objectives for Le Petit Saint Crochet.

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Daily goals:

  1. Post to Instagram and Facebook
  2. Interact on social media
  3. Exercise and stretch for tendonitis

Weekly goals:

  1. Write blog post
  2. Update Etsy shop announcement
  3. Fan Friday features on IG stories
  4. add pins to Pinterest

Bi-weekly goals:

  1. add new Etsy shop listing

Monthly goals:

  1. Batch photograph
  2. plan Etsy shop listings

Quarterly goals:

  1. Teach crochet class

I like having a plan but I’m not a fan of having each and every detail managed. I find that having the space to be creative and spontaneous is key for me. But I do like to have at least a rough outline of what goals I would like to achieve. My planner is full of the nitty-gritty details and ideas that pop into my head. I have learned the hard way that when inspiration hits I need to record it right away, otherwise I probably won’t remember it the next day!

 

How do you plan out your goals? Are you a detailed planner or a more spontaneous creator?