This month I feel like I have psychologically ‘returned to work’ after becoming a parent. Although my Etsy shop has been open since Etta was 3 months old (and she is now nearly 2!), I’ve not had the energy or the impetus to really dedicate much time or thought to where it is going. Similarly, my blog had become much neglected, with only a handful of posts made since Etta was born.
Because this was a path I fell into, rather than by design, as I return to work, post-baby, I now feel it is time to really take stock and assess what it is I want to do with my life, and the way I want my life to be day to day. I have got back to work, thrown myself into making things, and started reconnecting with other makers with the aim of kicking my shop up a notch and taking it to a place where I am earning enough to live off. Weirdly, since returning to this, I have felt somewhat directionless. Is making kanzashi THE thing I really want to do with my life, or is kanzashi just a little waystation on the way to something else? If so, what do I really want to do? Or do I just want to rework my business and the place that it has in my life? In the last month I have been trying to put this question out to the universe!
Perhaps because I really have this question on my mind at the moment, there have been a series of talks, books, people etc that have been inspiring me of late, and I am trying to use this inspiration to identify where I want to go myself.
During this month of creativity Anna Liversidge told me that she had been reading The War of Art and that it had had a huge effect on her – I have now read it and found the same. It has put the fire in my rocket boosters (if that is even a saying) and I feel like I cannot wait to get working every day.
I attended a Meet Up live Q and A with Kat Williams of RocknRoll Bride. Her talk really got me thinking about blogging again. I found myself a little bit jealous of her passion for what she does! I don’t think I have totally lost my love of kanzashi making, but I do wonder whether it is really my ULTIMATE DESTINY (please say this in an epic voice. Some thunder may also be needed.) or if I’ve just slightly lost touch with what I love about making. It made me think about my blog, which I initially really only set up because everyone said that you have to have a blog to promote yourself. That was really how I viewed it, as a promotional tool. I think I’d really like to use it differently now, as a way to explore some of the many things that are capturing my imagination at the moment and to connect with other like minded peeps. One of the tips from Kat’s talk, was to be authentic and use your own voice. She even suggested recording your blogs verbally and then transcribing then, which I think is a great idea if you are struggling to put your voice across in your writing. This has made me look at the way I blog slightly differently and has made me realise that the blogs I really connect to are ones where I feel like the blogger’s natural voice really comes across.
Another key inspiration from the last few weeks came from the Brighton Etsy talk at The Old Market by Zoe from Ladybird Likes. She had a message of envisioning your business and your blog as you want it to be, and then ‘making it so’ by just not doing stuff that you don’t want to do (with the exception of taxes!). I loved her ‘awkward’ sense of humour (her words!) and the way she came across as quiet and a little shy, but was confident that that was ok (if that even makes sense!). It made me consider that rather just drifting around, doing what I thought people in my situation should be doing, I can be intentional and decide what it is I WANT to be doing (and then do it).
At the talk I bumped into Claire from Beetlecherry who is currently planning a relaunch after reassessing her goals. She identified her real passion – endangered animals – and is now working on relaunching her site as a virtual wildlife park! This idea just really spoke to me, as coming straight from her heart. I realised that if you want to really connect with people online you have to talk about what is truly important to you.
So to summarize this rambling and incoherent part: I’ve been having a bit of a creative identity crisis and have come to the realisation that to find out what it is I am meant to do with my life (or at least what I am meant to do next!) I need to keep being creative, keep connecting with people who I feel are on the same wavelength as me, voice my interests and dilemmas of the moment, be authentic and use my true voice, be intentional about the worklife I want to create for myself.
To try and think through where I want to go a little further, I did two lists, one of all the things that I feel I might want to write about at the moment, and another of things I want to try and do more in my life (possibly this idea is rather lifted from this post by Harper and Finch).
Here is my list of things I want to write and blog about:
- motherhood/ Identity in motherhood
- Deaf Studies/Sign language issues/Deaf Space
- profiles of women I know who inspire me
- interface between art and craft
- my experiences with anxiety and what has helped me
- body image/self confidence
- facial difference (I have a wonky face and Etta has a facial birthmark)
- collaborative drawing with kids
- craft/art/messy play ideas (documenting what I do with Etta)
- child development /language acquisition
- drawing/life drawing
- music (I’m recording some things on soundcloud with my sister in law Sam)
- tarot, especially as a tool for personal development
Here is my list of things I want to try and do or do more of this year (both business and personal goals!):
- Try out various printing methods -gocco/screenprinting/monoprinting/lino printing
- Do more tarot card readings
- Get more into wholesale
- Make some more unique/one off fascinators
- Make some fascinators inspired by this material
- Finish knitting a mustard yellow shrug I’ve been working on for about 5 years
- Record more music with Sam and post on Soundcloud
- Write some articles for a Deaf Studies journal
- Put on an exhibition or enter some art I made to be exhibited
- Try out some ideas I’ve had for things in ceramics
- Try archery, horseriding and fencing (I may have been reading a bit too much Game of Thrones)
- Write something about parenting and submit to a paper/magazine
- Get a monofin and mermaids tail and try mermaiding/freediving
- Start a #creativekickstart hastag where people photograph/photo collage the things they are working on/have been inspiring them/
I think putting together these lists helped to crystalise a few things for me, because I’m feeling quite fired up about a couple of these things (you may have an inkling of one of these if you follow me on Twitter or Instagram ….and there may be a clue in the picture actually…) and want to get started on them! More to come on this next week! 🙂