Wanted: Juggling Teacher

I’m looking for help and advice. I didn’t start this blog to gain followers. I began the blog as a way to publicly blackmail myself into moving ahead with my art. (Don’t get me wrong, it is nice when you learn that someone cares to read your ramblings. In my case way too personal ramblings, but there’s no looking back, only moving forward) It worked for a year, and then I fell back into old habits and worse yet the land of self-doubt.  So here I sit getting older by the second (I think I can actually feel a wrinkle forming), and still trying to gain the confidence to succeed. Here’s where you come in, the person who has decided to take five minutes to read my thoughts. I’ve been a stay at home mom for a good portion of my life. Now the kids are gone, but I’ve spent twenty plus years living by their schedule. From school to after school activities, vacations, and bowing to (almost) their every need and whim, I think I’ve forgotten how to schedule myself. I need to structure my day, which when you work at home can be difficult. There is always a bathroom to clean, laundry to do, meals to prepare, etc. I make lists of things I want to accomplish artistically in a date book. A date book that I purchased last December that quite frankly has very little written in it. Does anyone out there work at home? How do you manage your time? How do you ignore the dirty socks and paint instead? How do you fit in time for friends, grocery shopping, and doctor’s appointments? Despite my best intentions I can’t seem to walk though my house back to my studio without stopping to clean. It isn’t that there’s a lot to do, and there are only two of us here, (well, five if you count the three cats, needless to say cat hair tumbleweeds abound). With no clock to punch, or school bell to answer I’m at a loss. I’d appreciate any advice.FullSizeRender(13)

 

Now that I’m done with my plea for advice, I’d like a little help. The help is with social media. I’m not so old that I’m computer brain dead. I have of course my blog here on WordPress, but I also have two Facebook accounts, a Twitter account, an Instagram account, a Pinterest account, and an Etsy shop. Everyone tells me that I need social media to move my art business ahead. I am a one woman glitter factory making fairies to sell, I am also a fine artist working on three pieces at the moment, and I just don’t know how to get to all of the posting, descriptive tagging, tweeting, and hash tagging required. I currently have three thousand one hundred and fifty five emails, and that’s in only two of my four email accounts. Clever me, I thought having one for business, one for personal, one for the house, and one Hotmail account (that’s from the dawn of the internet, I can’t seem to shut it down!) was a good idea. It’s not, it’s a nightmare. Facebook sends me “You haven’t posted this week and your followers want to hear from you” emails. Not to mention (but I will) all my friends and loved ones who post on Facebook that I feel obligated to “like”, and then those same people who post the same photos on Instagram. I feel a surge of Catholic guilt wash over me and must “like” again. Daily notifications from Instagram on who is now following me, and the new posts from the people I “follow”. From Etsy Success and Etsy there’s the “Here’s what you need to do in order to succeed in your shop”, or “remember you looked at this” emails, and Twitter notifications. New posts from the people here on WordPress whose work I enjoy reading, but again don’t know where to find the time. (Insert screams here) It’s never ending. I have no staff, or management, it’s me doing everything. I currently have only sixty pieces listed on Etsy. I have more than two hundred and fifty created. Why aren’t they in my shop yet? It’s because I have to write a description for each piece to try to help buyers understand my vision, and I have to tag each fairy or print with the recommended and allotted thirteen tags. I have more than two hundred pieces to list, that’s more than twenty six hundred descriptive words to come up with. Yes, I could use the same tags again and again, but I must vary them so that when potential customers search with certain key words I might be “found”. It has in fact become a dreaded chore, like the homework I once hated. To say I’m feeling overwhelmed is an understatement. HELP! How do you manage all of this? Are you scheduling time for each? I would really love to hear from anyone who can help me in this juggling act. And now the tags for this post….sigh….

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Restart

The last vestiges of glitter remain in the crevices of my wood floors, but aside from that I’m ready for Christmas, at least on the first floor. As if I didn’t have enough to do I tore my studio apart, the second floor of our house looks like the aftermath of a tornado. I know I’m just a little crazy, but this has been such a bad year that I am determined to head into 2014 ahead of the game, and set up for success. I started this blog/project carrying some very heavy psychological baggage, I am two-thirds of the way through, its time to move forward. I’ve subjected anyone who reads this blog to my working out my artistic issues, and quite a few personal ones as well. Not something I set out to do. Actually I don’t know what I started out to do other than to use up art supplies. I honestly didn’t think about it prior to heading into it. I guess I thought I would create art and talk about it. I never dreamed that my life would change so much, or that I would find myself pouring my heart out to the vast unknown. I think at this point maybe some of you know me more than you want to. There have been nights when I have gotten on a rant on something completely non art related only to stop myself and backspace it into oblivion. I have a steel rod of self-righteousness that runs straight up my spine. It can be used for both good and evil, but when I get upset about things it is bad, really bad. I obsess. I try not to let my obsession spill out onto these pages. I need to redirect my efforts.  I’ve mentioned selling my work in the past, but haven’t bitten the bullet as of yet. I began the steps to rectify that tonight. I opened up a second Facebook account for business, a place to tie this blog, my etsy account, and my pinterest all together . The next step for me will be some serious self counseling for separation anxiety. I don’t like to be separated from my work. It needs to be done. I was hoping that over the course of this project that I would produce enough art that I wouldn’t take it so hard when one left the nest. Unfortunately that hasn’t happened. I still have trouble letting go of my babies, but I want and need to contribute to the care of my family. Sometimes I find myself feeling sad, wishing I could go back and tell my younger self to go for it. To recognize what a gift I have and to do something with it. These days I do a lot of talking myself out of feeling old and regretting I didn’t get a handle on things sooner. There’s no going back, and quite frankly this is a year I would never want to revisit, with one exception, my daughter’s wedding. Seeing your child be so happy makes the separation just a little better.

I’ve been crafting for weeks and not putting forth my best work. Time to restart the project. I decided that I need a little back to basics. I had hoped to have more time to paint today, but cleaning all that fairy dust takes time. In the end I decided to just do some drawing. My scissors, as if I hadn’t seen enough of them in the last few weeks. Maybe its symbolic, time to cut out my nonsense…get it? I know, I should have quit while I was ahead. IMG_3237

 

Acting On Inspiration

 

I spoke the other day of not quite understanding inspiration, what makes one idea or subject stand out more than another, why one photo calls to me more than another. That isn’t the case today. A friend of mine posted a photograph of his son and a friend on his Facebook page. From the moment I saw the photograph I wanted to paint it. I actually had turned to Dan and said, “You know what this is? It’s a painting, a watercolor painting.”  My friend labeled it, “Best buds on the bench.” I love the photograph, and I love the label. There is a nostalgia that emanates from this photo, an innocence that these days is too easily lost. As I said, I know why I wanted to paint this one. Mike, thanks for permission to paint your wonderful photo, for giving me inspiration, and I hope Ryan and his “Best Bud”, remain that way for a very long time. 9 22