Week 1: Stop Waiting for That Muse (2/365)
photo by swimparallel, on Flickr

The other day, while cleaning out my blog drafts, I came across my new year’s resolution post for 2010. It was never finished, I never posted it. I was mortified. Not because I did not finish a post. And not because I shed my New Year’s Resolutions like a dress on prom night. That half written, grammatically incorrect string of hopes, mirrors the uphill struggle that I have felt this past year. To break it down..I usually start my week with to do lists and a schedule. Within an hour that list morphs into something completely different. And even if I apply a well considered time-line with padding, I seemed to have grossly under estimate, over schedule, and just out right miscalculate my time all year long. I have shed tears, hit brick walls, changed well laid plans week after week in 2010. Let me just say…I’m tired, ya’ll. I equate 2010 with a lot of frustration.

But to be fair…I did say it was an uphill battle. I really have to be positive about my efforts. Another way to look at it–I am further up that hill than I was this time last year. I have made a lot of progress on many levels and that, my friend, feels really good. For example:

I have aquired some regular customer. Yay!! I love you guys.

Thanks to the weekly markets, I have hoaned my vending set up to be WAY more efficient.

I have spread my business across several new venues.

I have a studio away from the house!! This one is really big ya’ll (another post for another time)

I am continuing to develop a distinctive style of products with room to evolve.

Yay, Me!!

In the past, I have gone through stages where I did not make New Year’s Resolutions. Particularly if it has been a rough year. But to be honest, I think this year I need some focus. And evidently, I also need a new way to approach my new year’s resolutions. And like a lot of creative people, when it comes to resolutions I need a kick in the ass AND a hug.

The Kick in the Ass

So here is the nose to the grindstone, but be realistic plan for next year:

Create one new colorway a week. Let’s face it. I am sick as hell of my current colorways. I know you must be, too. I have a sexy new set of watercolors, a pristine sketch book, and dozens of ideas brewing. I have also carved out a fresh new space in the Studio for think tank time. I am really excited about jumping in.

Stick to the production schedule. The math is quite simple, really. Sales needs to equal what I need to pay the bills, and buy things like shampoo and food. But not only do I need products to make sales, I need additional inventory to fill out the shop (ie: enough stuff for you to chose from when you buy from me). What that equals is a minimum amount of stuff I need to make a month. While preparing for SAFF, I found out exactly how much product I can crank out if necessary. And while I do not need anywhere near what I cranked for SAFF, I do need to produce some stuff. And I need to produce not just to keep the money flowing, but to keep the creativity flowing as well. I love what I do. Once I get momentum, it is easy to keep gong.

Reassess business goals monthly. Because if there is one thing I learned this year, it’s sometimes shit happens and sometimes plans need to be reworked. Period.

Set monthly media, customer, inventory, and financial goals. I have a general idea of what I would like in all of these categories, but I also know that the path to those goals needs to be flexible to be aggressive. A good idea to check in, reacess my goals monthly as opportunities come and go.

Resuscitate the neglected social media outlets. Um…like this blog?? Or how about the UrbanGypZ Flickr Group? 80% of my business is online. And I am surprised at how much time I spend pimping yarn networking, as opposed to actually making it. I have scheduled some serious online time. But I have some plans to make it fun.

I need fun. Because while my efficient German side finds The Grindstone™ plans refreshing…my artist side thinks the German side is an anal-retentive, creativity-crushing asshole. During the production crunch of 2010(ie prepping for SAFF), I absorbed an embarrassing number of new-agey, self-help books, on staying mentally fresh and nurturing your creativity. I was an advertising art director in my former life. I am familiar with creative burnout, and I most certainly did not want my fiber art business to become something I loathed. Time for some creative me-time and time to develop some habits to keep me loving what I do.

Taking Care of ME!!

Part 2 of my New Year’s Resolution is all about taking care of me.

Take mindful walks. Okay, this one is straight form the pages of The Artist Way By Julia Cameron. I also learned this from my mentor, Nita, back in the days when I was a freelance art director dealing with the advertising good ol’ boy network. I am not talking about a power walk. Nor do I mean distance walking. I mean the kind of meditative walk that clears your head. Lately, I have developed a stress related twitch in my left eye. Meditative walking seems to be one of the only things that have helped relieve it. I always end up feeling calmer and more relaxed.

Write my morning pages. Again, something pulled from The Artist Way. No thought provoking analyzing my feelings, beliefs or life. I am talking stream of consciousness brain dump in the morning before I start my day. It doesn’t seem to matter what lands on the page. Brain dumping clears all the stuff that gets in the way mentally. I can focus WAY better for the rest of the day. Besides, I have been collecting an obscene number of blank journals. This is also a great way to shake out blog content.

Spend time in an alternate craft. Yep, from the Artist Way again. Well…sort of. This is kind of like the artist date exercise–spending time playing with a medium, unleashing your artsy side. While creative career can be a dream job for creative people, it does take efforts to keep the creativity flowing. I have found changing crafts helps keep me fresh. It often leads to new methods and ideas for my career craft. Crafts in the queue? Weaving more!! Quilting my awesome vintage fabric stash. Art journals. Mix media painting. Plushies. Perfume oils. Soap…oh, I could go on….

Yoga, damnit. Not much of an explanation for this one. Cut and dried…I need to get my ass to the YWCA and onto a mat. While I would like to think knitting is the new yoga, nothing beats the old yoga for mind body self help.

Explore my town. Asheville is known as the Paris of the South. I have always loved leisurely afternoons at the coffee shops knitting, or peaceful mornings at the patio cafe with my computer. I used to envy the local who had the luxury of hanging out down town doing just that during the week. And the way I see it, it is one of the perks of being self employed. So, for me the the catch is, f I am living the artist life, this hanging out downtown thing needs to becomes part of my job. Computer work downtown. Blogging my finds. Besides, being in the studio all the time makes me nuts. I need to be around some people.

So, there they are. This years resolutions. Written as the first post of my newly retooled blog. Kind of like starting a fresh blank journal. I will not lie, I resurrected this blog out of guilt. Guilt for last year’s poor New Year’s resolutions that I never posted, and guilt over the weeks and weeks of no blog posts at all (um…my last post? I am totally eating crow over that post). I have spent the last 48 hour (no lie, I pulled an all-nighter last night) tweaking coding, digging through themes and widgets and reviews. Generally using that side of my brain reserved for balancing my checkbook. I have designed a new blog that I am completely excited about. So consider this years resolutions part creative therapy, part business plan–but definitely –my manifesto.

My final resolution 52 blog post in 52 weeks. Bring it on, 2011.