Thursday, October 20, 2011
Candle in the Wind Part lll - what to do when that flame is becoming a flicker
(or maybe we will just call it burn down - because it is the down but not out stage of business passion)
is a totally good thing - a part of the ebb that leads to the flow and cannot totally be avoided when you truly care about what you are doing.
The trick is to catch it when it is a tap on the shoulder
(ahem ... Ms. Cat, do you really think we should be doing that again - I am b-o-r-e-d)
and not wait until we have already hit the brick wall; car totaled, in the shop and being sweated over by a guy with MOTHER tattooed on his left arm.
So, when that litle voice starts whispering to you that if you have to wrap one more bead, center one more mound of clay, crochet one more stitch - you will need to be hospitalized - it is time to take action.
1. And sometimes this action can be inaction in the form of time away from your makings. Spend time away from work - turn off the computer, get out of your studio and do something else (how much time away you need depends on how close to that brick wall you find yourself - don't rush it)
2. Make something new that you will never, ever sell I think it makes us less creative to only make things we can make money with. It is always good to exercise your artistic muscles in new and unexpected ways.
3. Change your process - change your tools, change your schedule, change your suppliers - if you normally do steps in large batches, try making a piece from start to finish with a focus on each step, if you normally do things from start to finish - try doing each step in large batches, you might be surprised how little changes in process or technique can create big changes in your thinking.
4. New places = new inspiration - Janell of Dancing Mooney says, "just when I thought I was bored to death with making jewelry, I came across an amazing vintage supplies shop that instantly sparked my creativity again ..."
4. Change your materials -Julie Boyles says "Early in the summer it became clear to me that how I was doing things wasn't working for me anymore. The journals and cases I made had become very much like work, and it got to the point if I had to color and antique ONE more piece of leather I might fall apart. So I made a big change. I upgraded the leathers I'm working with, and have my passion and excitement back again. Whew. Every new piece I do is a thrill!"
5. Do something else - you are not supposed to be doing the same thing forever - knowledge comes from experience and experience is in the past, so yes, it's safe, but it's also already out of date - do something else. Kathy Jeffords says (after doing something else), "what I'm doing now IS me, as much as the big eyed girls are. Because my bottom line, my brand, ME is that I want to make people smile, I want to create a world filled with possibilities and positivity and I want to tell stories."
6. Rearrange your creative space - it is easier to make beautiful things in a beautiful place - don't cheap out on this.
7. Connect with other creative people - this is HUGE. If you can meet with other people regularly, people who are not afraid to tell you why they do not like things (you totally do not have to listen to them) - people who think big and want to do amazing work - you can really shorten your burn-down periods (and help other creatives shorten theirs).
8. Get some sleep (enuf said)
9. Get some exercise (ugh- enuf said)
10. Focus on the present moment. When our attention is fragmented - we are fragmented and fragmented creatives will not be creating anything that will make anyone gasp or anyone's heart beat faster - which is kind of our job actually.
Keep your thoughts in the present moment as much as possible. When you are painting - paint, when you are doing the dishes - do the dishes, stay focused.
It is important that we recognize the creative power of our thoughts through all of this and stay positive. It is a power far beyond our knowledge (because knowledge is rooted in the past) and our real power is in the present moment (when we are in the presence of something bigger than ourselves).
Life will only offer up so much to us when we are enmeshed in negative thinking (ie fear), since thoughts are things, spread like disease and are the stuff that wars and days spent in bed with the covers over our heads are made of.
We are where our attention takes us, actually we are our attention. We are either making the world better here or crippling the planet - I am totally serious - we are that important.
And when we stay in the present moment life will offer up everything we need to know about what to do next - the answer will always come as our first spontaneous impulse. Be attentive.
I think the more passion we have for our makings the harder we fall when that passion wanes. Will we lose the joy with our makings when we start a business relationship with them? Yes, we will (many times).
But we can move from that place into a deeper place. Or we will find a way to do it differently that is more aligned with your heart.
We will not be making these makings forever my friends - we are bigger than our makings and it is our job to be fearless.
* I know a girl print by TheMemoryGallery
(NOTE - I have included quotes that were left as comments on my last 2 posts in this series from some amazing makers because these girls said it much better than I can - I hope they don't mind)