Facebook is the devil. I'm not gonna lie. It is the hulking heavyweight in a long list of distractions that permeate my day. And, to be honest, I sometimes invite these distractions in a self-sabotaging, fear-based montage of "imposter syndrome". You know what I'm talking about.... all those icky self-doubt shadows that ride the shoulder of every creative individual ever, throughout the entire history of creative individuals.
But it's not just Facebook that throws my work and productivity off balance. It's suddenly needing to clean my oven at 4pm on a Thursday, when it was just cleaned on Tuesday. It's re-organizing my bead trays for the umpteenth time this month. It's paying bills and grocery shopping and visiting the in-laws and birthday parties and graduations. And it's also every other hobby I can conceive of, with which to procrastinate.
Finding balance when working from home is, to say the least, challenging. So here are some tips I've learned during my five years in business for myself:
If you have tips or tricks for balancing your business and home life, I'd love to hear them in the comments below!
In those rare in-between moments when I'm not making jewelry, or organizing my work space or re-arranging my website, or... ahem... Facebook, I am usually doing one of two things: photographing my cats or sketching. Perhaps I should try sketching my cats!
Lately, I've been obsessed with hands. Perhaps because it's one of the few things I can draw fairly well, quickly and still find meaning in the process. It's not just about the act of sketching, though that certainly has it's purpose, but about the process of considering the art before I begin. It's about the entire experience, and taking from that some sort of introspection, hopefully, and growth. Perhaps I'm obsessed with hands because I work with mine every day, because they give life to creative expression. They can soothe and conceive, they can be stricken with pain and even cause it, they can fabricate, construct and actualize. Hands are a rare, but often unrecognized, gift which we take for granted more than we appreciate them.
I spent most of the month of April photographing my own hands, and then using them as a reference in my art. In the first image is a fist, gripping a pair of holy beads with the strength and determination of the self-assured. By drawing that strength, I was also absorbing it. In the next is a forward-facing fist with wings and a bright crescent moon halo above it. Here I was, for lack of a better word, evoking action and momentum during a time in which I had none. And in the last is a gentle and relaxed pose, a tranquil finger on which a butterfly has perched. This.... this was to invite serenity.
Hands are one gateway to the soul. How gentle we are with them, or fierce when the call for such has been made, is a statement about our self-worth, self-reflection and self-expression. Our hands can represent the journey we take with others and the journey we experience alone, through our creative endeavors or personal labors.
Appreciate their role in your life.
I saw we all go get a manicure!
And A Note About Product Pricing.....
Time is finite. While it evolves independent of the individual, our experience with it is limited. Every moment is a gift, and every time we chose to express ourselves and share the stories of our experiences, we are gifting that moment to others.
As such, I'm always saddened to see artists undervalue their time. The five years it took to perfect that crotchet crocodile stitch has value. The semester of bench skills jewelry classes to learn the soldering of prongs has value. And that spool of wire you mangled last night while learning the channel setting.... yep.... it has value. Not just the wire, but the night itself! Just imagine you'd decided to spend those finite moments binge-watching Netflix instead (I'm not saying that's what I did last night, but.....). Those Netflix moments can't be as easily gifted to others as sharing with pride that very first bezel setting, for instance. And think of the inspiration the sharing of that accomplishment offers to others!
So, when pricing your work, consider more than your materials. Consider more than the overhead of your electric and cable costs, marketing expenses or website maintenance. Let's abolish the abhorrently insufficient "materials x 3" pricing model and use a structure that recognizes the value of time. You are worth it. Your time is worth something. Choosing to share the gift of those moments with others should be recognized, so let's charge for our handcrafted goods according to the value of that time.
Here are some resources to help you value your time:
Some of you may know that I am an unapologetic, self-professed geek. I wouldn't dare use that word in a disparaging way, but as a badge of pride and honor. The idea of being a "geek" has come along way in the last decade, and I'm glad for its evolution. We all geek about something, right? Whether we like Renaissance Festivals or comics or video games or TV shows or even the Eukenuba dog show, if we are excited about it, we geek about it.
And I geek about more things than I have the energy to dedicate to them: photography, poetry, Harlequin romance novels (and I don't even apologize for that!), all things cinema, jewelry (of course) and..... medieval history. Several years ago, I was invited to join a group involved with the Society for Creative Anachronism. This isn't the first time I've mentioned my involvement with the SCA and it surely wont be the last. But the reason I mention it here is to discuss the idea of drawing inspiration for our creative endeavors from things we wouldn't normally associate with it.
"As you navigate through the rest of your life, be open to collaboration. Other people and other people's ideas are often better than your own. Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you, spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life."
speaking, it was my involvement in this group that turned me on to the idea. Now how cool is that, right? I'd always been a wire wrapper, so turning to bead embroidery was an adventure laid bare at my feet for discovery, all thanks to the combat archery, medieval feasts and arts and sciences of the SCA!
So now I encourage each of you to consider one of your activities or hobbies from a fresh perspective, and see how it can be utilized in a creative project. Like fishing? How can that translate to, say, jewelry or pottery or poetry even. Is Wonder Woman your obsession (and why wouldn't she be, am I right)? Then how can her headdress or lasso of truth be translated into wire wrapping, for instance?
Explore the world with new eyes and you're bound to see wonders.
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