Friday, February 2, 2018

To be more experiential in 2018...

Wow, January has already left! Yep, just like that.

A couple of days ago, I was weary that this means I have already spent some 31 days at my work area. And me focusing on that aspect of my craft (the time spent) felt wrong. So I asked, really, should I continue operating in that perspective? I have started asking this question because of something I encountered months ago. While leisurely browsing through my Instagram feed, I came across a post from one of my favorite miniature artists. She talked about her love for the craft, and how it gave her joy through the years. In that same post though, she was also saying that she may not anymore be producing as much items for her shop as her time is now consumed mainly by her other more commercially successful endeavors.

I totally get her. Self-employed crafters are often the most hardworking people in the world, but necessarily not the better compensated section of the workforce. We love our craft too much that sometimes at the end of the day, we only cared about the process, the questions being answered by the process, or that we don't have cares at all. We forget to allot the essential time of studying pricing, marketing, and all that uneventful admin lot. We get sucked into the craft that we lose sight of the trading part of the whole business. We then realize that all the work did not produce the sales needed to sustain the craft.

This falling in love with our craft, isn't necessarily bad at all, as I pondered lately, in the grand scheme of things. It's even ideal - in a crafter's dream world, that is.

But like I said, I understand her deeply. Being a part of this society, I always worry about the numbers. And to make sure I have enough funds in the bank, I plan my year, months, weeks and days, even my hours out such that no time is wasted. It will then be a relief if I ticked all the boxes for the day. But on days when I would miss some to-do's, I automatically wallow in this self-destructive feeling of worthlessness. Then I'd feel my entire body holding tightly. I breathe less as I try to think through my mess because this means I had to steal some time off the succeeding day, and if I'm not lucky/industrious enough (wow - industrious! Never used that word since grade school!), I might also eat into the next few days and eventually ruin my week's schedule. If this not-so desirable situation becomes more frequent, it gets even more chaotic.

For a couple of days now, I tried to process this worry thing and it came to me that the root cause of all this madness is one of the biggest fears I have had since childhood. I feared it so much that I'd rather stress unto things, than actually live that fearful moment. I was raised in a household where not earning enough was a total no-no. I fear so much the possibility of becoming the person that never earned enough. That person was given the bad rep despite being awesome in other life aspects. That person is no good, nobody should want to be like him, that was the message. In the eyes of a child, everything around her is magnified, that there's only two options in life - to be or not to be. I guess that became my own demon that I carried through adulthood.

But, wait, don't think of this post as another one of my sad observations in life. It's quite the opposite. In fact, I am so lighthearted right now as I type this post. Thank goodness I gave two days to just really dig into this hole.

I then decided to make it different this year. No more worrying too much. I probably just need a bit of it as a reminder. I will have to accept that there will be days of unsuccessful prototyping. There will be days when I'd be sick and can't work. There will be days when I just want to lazy around and do other things that I love, and some days being away from my table to attend to family matters. I will take these frozen days in a more experiential manner. The operative word there is experiential.

Remember when we were children and everything we do is plainly experiential? We jump and run around, we eat, drink; we do things for the sake of doing them. We act because acting itself is what matters most - it answers our silly little questions! There's no meaning or purpose that we expect from the act. Life was awesome.

Before I start talking about the time when we started ruining that kind of life, which I can talk about for hours, too, let's hold on to that lighthearted feeling I mentioned earlier, shall we?

This year, I want to see through the lens of the experiential. I'll let go of preconceived notions, meanings, purposes, plans. Sure, there will be a list, but I will avoid going into the details of it. I'll probably ditch the details of my 2018 plan. Maybe a monthly goal will suffice. And a monthly goal is something that comprises two things - one that is egotistic and the other, the non-negotiable egoistic. The egotistic part will serve the capitalistic world that I am a part of, and then the egoistic is that super essential thing that should mostly take my time. But there's a catch. I'll make sure that the egotistical part is easy to tackle, because really, why fuss about it? When challenge is low, it becomes experiential. And since the egoistic part is a free-style zone, it will always be experiential. I'll be more experiential in this setup. Maybe so, maybe not - I'll just have to take in what the moment offers.

'Til next time, friends!

11 comments:

  1. Hi Shasha. I totally enjoyed this post! You gave me an idea to set monthly goals. This would be so much less stressful for me. I create dolls and sell them by word-of-mouth. I would love to get to the place where I can create some dolls and sell them as opposed to commissions. Sometimes the stress of commissions brings pressure. Do what brings you joy. I was happy to see a post from you!

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    1. Thanks so much, dear.. i'm so happy to know you enjoyed my post. These things I share to you guys just might help someone going through a similar situation, so I have no qualms about putting my heart out there, so to speak. Yes, commissions can get stressing if crafters are not careful about balancing the quantity. I could say that my structure is a good balance. I still get the feeling of handling commissions as I make most items per order. However, they are all my designs and rarely do I get special changes or requests so indeed, this system does not stress me. It is my overly ambitious list of ventures that is not healthy. Thus, I am minimizing them this time 😉 I'm actually excited revamping my 2018 plan haha!

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  2. Very insightful post. For me, life has always made me put my doll hobby on the back burner. I am finally in a position to spend more time on the hobby. I am retired, so work no long interferes. My eldest daughter is in college and my youngest will be graduating from high school this spring. I have a lot more time alone than I ever did, but my own health and physical limitations require for me to take it easy. I have set some goals for the year, but I have made them very general so as not to put too much pressure on myself. I do create, but so far, I haven't sold anything. I don't know if I will ever try to do so, but if I do, I know it will be in very limited quantities. I think for the first time in a long time I have gotten a grasp on what it is I want to do and what I can do with this hobby. You, my dear are very creative and it is always a pleasure to see a post from you and to see your lovely creations! I look forward to seeing where 2018 takes you!

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    1. Thanks so much for the kind words, Phyllis! I will never stop creating, but I will indeed be more general in setting my goals, like you do, to avoid stress. I'll be kinder to this hardworking person this time. Yes, limited number, too, I love that. I will just need to reconcile that with the initial plan of using up my massive fabric collection for only one year - a crazy goal! If you could see my 2018 planner, you'd probably think I'm crazy haha! But yes, enough of all that. I love these things you said, and I will add them into my list of powerful words whenever I start getting overly ambitious with goals setting. Take good care, I wish you the best, dear <3

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  3. For the past two years I have been pretty dry as far as my crafting, dollhousing and blogging is concerned. I allowed someone close to me to cause me to think I am wasting time and money. Their favorite saying is, "if it doesn't make money it doesn't make sense." So, I saw my hobby as a costly waste of time. I had to do some mental work to get it back to where it was.
    So, now I will go wherever my hobby takes me. At one time, I wanted to start a dollhouse museum. That went up in smoke along with my motivation. But one day...I just might do it. I am also going to sell more.
    Thanks for the much needed motivation.

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    1. CORRECTION: Oh by the way the saying is, "if it doesn't make dollars it doesn't make sense"

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  4. Hey grandmommy... Thank you so much for sharing your story. What we do will always be a labor of love of sorts, and people outside our bubble will be more practical with the way they look at it. I have started to learn to accept, and use what they say to my advantage.

    Let's not let those things fade away, these things that motivate us. I realized they are a fleeting kind, and we should grab that moment and forget about things that matter less at the moment. This is another thing I will go dive into, although I did try this once and kind of was scared to continue long enough to see if it works. Let's do this together! xoxo!

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  5. Hi Shasha!
    I can completely relate to this being burned out multiple times with handling my blog, Etsy, and my personal life. There was never any time for me and it ate away at me that I did not have that lighthearted feeling like you said.
    There is peace in finding a balance for all of this, and having some goals is good but I agree you have to be flexible with those goals but life will always without a doubt throw it off for you. You are definitely not alone in this and hoping 2018 is a great year for all of us! :)

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    1. Hey Miranda! Girl, what you do with this long-running dolly series of yours that is just incredible is something I'd been constantly dreaming about. Though my dreams are more like anthologies but man, the effort, time and brain work and everything else in between in your venture indeed can get pressuring! That is why everytime I come across a notification of yours saying a new episode is up, I'm like thank goodness she's done. I know how much relief it is on your part when everything is published.
      This year, yes, let's be kinder to ourselves by being more flexible. I'm sure our dolly friends wouldn't mind. Let's do this together. Xoxo!

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