An unorthodox day, and continued thoughts on time management

Ooh, it’s after dinner and I’m not completely exhausted? How novel! To what do I owe this enjoyable state of affairs? Honestly, who knows? I woke up late. My breakfast consisted of three chocolates and a cup of Korean citron tea. I skipped Morning Pages and guzzled down a frothy, lovely, self-indulgent romance instead. Our kitty Tisha is ailing again and his wound looks creepy. I didn’t get any exercise, and I didn’t go out all day. It’s pouring rain and the wind blows the tree branches almost horizontal. I’m slightly cold, and I spent most of the day doing laundry, reading, and taking care of petty vacation details (like making a list of what to pack). So why do I feel so chipper? You tell me!

Recent news and a new design

At any rate, feeling energetic and awake at 8 PM means I can finally catch you up on everything I’ve been too tired to explain over the past few days, so yay for that. On Sunday I came home from my parents’ house to find that Chrystalyn color treasury— with whom I traded for this fabulous necklace back in January — included one of my zip pouches in a Treasury! It’s a really gorgeous treasury, full of bright colors and happy springtime imagery, so I’m very grateful to be included.

moo cardsA week or two ago, I decided to try out a Moo free offer for 50 business cards. Jenn‘s amazing mini Moos have had me excited about putting photos on cards since I first saw them, so I thought I’d give it a shot for my own shop. The cards arrived last Friday, and I love them! They’re a little bit bigger than my other cards (which might just be because of the advert strip along the bottom — the free cards all come with those), so my logo looks weirdly huge, but the photos are so nice. I’ve heard it’s a good idea to put some kind of descriptive phrase on your business cards, so people know what you make, but I have trouble coming up with such a phrase when my inventory is ever-changing. I guess I’ve settled on the “handmade. eco-friendly. one of a kind” saying that’s on my Etsy banner, but even that, while it gives some sense of my creative philosophy, hardly reveals what kinds of things I make. So having product photos on the back of the card helps a lot with that problem, while giving me plenty of elbow room for branching out.

As I say, I didn’t get a whole lot of non-vacation-prep work done today, but I did use some leftover fabrics from yesterday’s pouch to make a brand-new design: a clutchlet! Click on the image to see more photos.

clutchlet

Bigger than a wristlet, a little floppier than a clutch.

It’s my dear friend Jennifer‘s birthday today, and I knew these fabrics would be perfect for her: she has been a huge fan of the color purple for as long as I’ve known her, which by this point is probably two decades. The clutchlet idea (though not the name) came to me last night while I was having trouble sleeping: the flap, the buttons, even the details of the interfacing. I’m really delighted with how it came out, and I’m looking forward to making some more for the shop. Dear readers, I’d love to get your feedback on the design. Would you use it, and how (as a makeup pouch-type portable storage unit, or as a clutch)? Would you want a proper wrist strap on it (the current ribbon is too short to go around the wrist)? Pockets, zippers, shape, look… I’d love to hear your thoughts on any aspect of this new pouch!

Continued musings on time management

Last week was a hectic one, following Craft Happy and my Storque cameo, and by the end of the week I was thoroughly stressed and cranky. On our way to San Jose on Sunday, Erik and I had a good long talk about time management (okay, I ranted at length, and then we had a good talk), which really helped me get everything back into perspective. Much of what we discussed was just rehashing of ground I’ve covered before, but since my life shifts and changes so regularly, it’s useful to remind myself of what I’ve already learned and resolved. And then there were some new insights…

Craft shows. I’ve said in other posts that an ideal crafting schedule for me would be 1-2 new items per week. This would let me maintain my crafting at an “avid hobby” level, without neglecting the shop too much. But craft shows totally screw with this ideal, even more than I’d previously realized. If my preference is to be making 1-2 items a week, then prepping for a show requires me to do an entire year’s worth of work within a monthlong period. Good grief! No wonder I’m so tired! I love doing shows, and they’re good for the business, but given that (unlike many other Etsians) I don’t want to be a full-time crafter, I think I’m forced to admit that frequent shows are just not sustainable for me. Unless I can find some easier way of building up inventory for a show, I might have to limit myself to only two or three shows per year. I don’t like this, but I also don’t like the constant pressure I’m under when I neglect my writing and drawing, day after day, to crank out more items for an event.

Making art (as opposed to crafts). A couple of nights before Craft Happy, I had a rare quiet moment before bed. I leafed through the Sunset issue that had arrived that day, and found a short piece by one of my favorite writers-on-writing, Anne Lamott, on making time for what we love. Most of what she said wasn’t new to me, but one message has stuck, like a burr that keeps reappearing on different articles of clothing. She said: if all you have time for is one page a day, in a year you’ll have written a book. That’s amazing, right? A book! Of course, the advice is kind of like those ads for ab exercisers, where they promise you muscles of steel in “only 8 minutes a day,” and then when you actually try the machine you realize you’ll never get through 8 minutes of it unless your abs are already steely. A page a day is a serious commitment; even if I could dash off a full page in twenty minutes, the mental commitment and the serious inner-censor-squashing required are considerable. (Also: when I was writing grad-school papers, my rate was 45 minutes to an hour of low-level misery per page. On the other hand, my blog entries are practically novellas, and they’re entirely painless to write.) This page-a-day thing has gotten under my skin and stayed there, and I think it’s because the advice is so action-centered. I spend a lot of time planning and brainstorming and researching my projects, but Lamott says: forget about it, you’ve only got time for one page. Just write it. My slow cerebral creator says that attitude will get me 365 pages of muck at the end of a year, but my wiser self says, that’s still 365 more pages than you have now. So.

However, all this is very ironic, because I’m supposed to be spending this week writing fiction for a workshop application, and have I done any fiction-writing? No.

So.

Fighting for balance. I don’t want to spend all my time crafting, and I especially don’t want to do so if it means I’m going to wake up at 35 and find myself one of those wannabe writers who’s been “working on a book” for years and years, with nary a chapter under my belt. But I realized, during Sunday’s minor meltdown, that I probably pour so much energy into my shop because, well, I’ve been pouring a lot of energy into my shop. Finally, after five months of having the shop, I feel as though I’m starting to hit a bit of a stride. A very modest stride, to be sure, but I’m no longer floundering through, feeling as though I’m learning everything for the first time. But the more time I put into it, the more my other activities suffer, until I start wanting to work on the shop simply because it’s the only thing that seems to be working well at the moment. That is not a recipe for balance. When I feel that desperation to perfect the one thing I’m closest to perfecting, I have to fight it, otherwise things will just get more and more imbalanced the longer we go.