Wise words indeed, but certainly difficult to muster up the courage to put into action. I’ve been sitting on a bunch of different creative ideas for a number of years now, waiting to feel like I was ready, or to feel like I knew which direction to take, before putting myself out there and laying out my work for everyone to see. I wanted to feel in control, to feel like I knew what I was doing, to have a well thought-out and cohesive collection to unveil to the world with a big flourish, as if to say ”Here I am, I am experienced and confident and I’ve got it all figured out”. I wanted to play it like a game of poker, keeping my cards close to my chest, not giving anything away until I had a winning hand and could confidently slap it down on the table, sure of victory. If I carry on like that I may never be ready, and I could end up spending my life hiding from the world. I’ve only just started to learn that there’s no shame in being a work-in-progress (personally or professionally) because if you’re not progressing or changing or growing in some way, then what is the point?
For years I have watched other makers and creative people take risks and put themselves out there, and when I would read their success stories I would often think ”Where’s my big break?”…”Why is it so easy for them, and so hard for me?’‘… ”Maybe I’m just not good enough”… and then I would sit around feeling sorry for myself and tell myself things like ”Who are you to think you are good enough?”… ”You’re such an amateur, you should just give up now”… ”This will never be more than a hobby for you”. I tried to tell myself that hoping I would one day make a living by being creative and making things was a waste of my time. However, despite my best efforts I have still not managed to talk myself out of it. I still keep making, cutting up my clothes and rearranging them into something I like better, making things for my children, sewing patchwork quilts and embroidering textile pictures and upcycling furniture, because that is what I love to do. Quite frankly, I don’t even know how to NOT do it. Maybe I need to stop being so hung up on the being good enough, and focus instead on how to be brave enough. If creating brings me joy, then it is good enough already, and if other people like what I make and it brings them joy too, even better!
I first opened my Etsy shop a number of years ago around Christmas, and put up a few listings for handmade stockings and decorations. I was not an overnight success, but I did eventually make a few sales which felt good. Then I made some home wares and was brave enough to try out a couple of local craft fairs. They went reasonably well, I never achieved the dream of a complete sell-out but I did sell at least something at each one I did. My clever husband built me my very own website and I had grand plans of having an online shop and physical items in actual shops too. Then I moved house once a year for about four years, had a baby, and then quickly had a second baby. My creative energy, physical energy, confidence and faith in myself went completely out of the window in a whirlwind of nappies, feeding, wiping, potty training and just trying to keep two small humans alive. Fast forward a couple of years and here I am, my children are 2 and 3 years old and I have a small amount of time to myself, to think and to start picking up the pieces of what I started before they were born. I’m still figuring out my own artistic style, and even though sewing and knitting are my main creative interests, for some reason I have been wanting to write a blog for a few years now. What will it be about, you may be wondering… The truthful answer is that I really don’t know. I used to think that once I had turned my Etsy shop into a roaring success and was running different creative workshops that maybe I would add a blog to my website, but now I think the blog needs to happen first. Maybe letting others in and allowing them to see what goes on behind the scenes will help me sift through my own ideas and help me figure out where to go, maybe it won’t. At the very least it will be a documentation of my own journey, and hopefully I will enjoy writing it. I don’t need to have it all figured out in one go, I just have to be brave enough to take the first step.
I know my website is called ‘Sarah’s World’, but my vision for this blog is to not actually have it be all about me. I feel strongly about bringing people together, looking out for one another and supporting others to help them succeed. I hope this blog can become a place for other creatives and parents to share a bit of their own work and their own stories, alongside my own. I want it to be inclusive and varied and interesting, and I hope that by putting myself out there it will encourage others to do the same and join me.
She won’t know it until she reads this, but a friend of mine played a huge part in me realising that I’m the only one holding me back, and that enough really is enough. We were talking about how when you have/want to do something big and scary it’s usually the worrying and stressing and over analysing of the situation beforehand that is the hardest, and that by that token surely the best thing is to just do. I told her I was toying with the idea of starting a blog, and that I already had a website that was live and just needed some content. She told me to just do it, and challenged me to write my first blog post by the next time I saw her. So, here I am, writing my first blog post and just ‘doing’. Holly, in the words of Barney Stinson from How I Met Your Mother, I say ”Challenge accepted!”. Also, thank you.
And so, if you are interested in looking at all the different items of furniture I have painted instead of doing the washing up, or you are happy to read various parental musings and follow me around while I try to figure out which direction to take, then please join me for the ride – you are welcome here.
All the best,