Happy 2014 from my pooches – Princess Sparkle being tortured by a
cozy evil sweater & the pug (who is not at all bothered by the snow). Though I have to admit this pic is a little misleading. It is green & rainy in Vancouver these days, but on the rare occasion that it does snow, the whole city shuts down & people go tobogganing down the slightest of hills, scoop up every last snow flake from their lawns to build snowmen & generally get into the winter spirit. Two days later, it’s gone & we’re back to rubber boots. And Princess Sparkle is thrilled to ditch the sweater.
After my last market wrapped up, I’ve been feeling a lot like this:
For an introvert like me, 6 weeks of selling my work at markets & talking to hundreds (thousands?) of people is really draining. I love it & I LOVELOVELOVE my customers, but even the best conversations with the loveliest of people sap my energy. And I’m not exaggerating when I say I have the BEST customers. You guys are my kindred spirits, my tribe. You squeal with delight when you see my paintings of giant rabbits & awesome robots. You show me pictures of your pugs. You tell me stories about your sassy cats. You rock!
Now go away.
Kidding, of course! After the market madness was over, I definitely craved some solitude & some studio time. With the Christmas holidays, it seemed like I was still running around at a frantic pace – shipping last minute online orders, re-stocking the stores that carry my work & trying to get my own Christmas presents purchased, wrapped & delivered. And the studio? A complete disaster that needed a massive clean up & could still use a Martha Stewart type to get it organized.
Fortunately a few days visiting my parents gave me the quiet I needed to recharge my batteries.
I’m very excited to announce that I…wait for it…read a book.
A NON-WORK book.
I got to just sit on the couch & read a book. For pleasure! Not a business book or something about marketing, but a book just for fun. I honestly can’t even remember the last time that happened. At least 2 years for sure.
One of the downsides of running your own business is that you never, ever have time off. I sold my work at markets for 139 days this year & my days “off” were spent making more stuff to sell at the markets. And ordering supplies. And doing taxes & paperwork. And trying (& failing) to catch up on my email*.
With the start of the new year, I’m happy to be in reflective mode – looking back at 2013 & deciding where I want to go next. I’m a goal setter to be sure, but more than wanting to achieve specific goals this year, I’m more interested in what I want this year to FEEL like.
I want joy.
I want balance.
I want ease.
I want fun with family & friends.
I want cozy quiet days with my pooches.
I want to listen to my body more & make time for things that nurture wellness – getting enough sleep, doing yoga, walks along the ocean & in the trees. Eating healthier foods instead of snacking on the go.
And I want to make art.
I haven’t quite figured out how to make all this happen, but I know I need to make some changes this year or I’ll burn out. I rocked my sales goals for 2013 & this year I’m more interested in slowing down, whatever that may look like. Less market dates & more open studio hours? Hiring some help? Doing limited edition runs instead of trying to make every single painting into a locket, pin, magnet & wood block? We shall see!
How do you create ease & balance in your life? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below or hop on over to my Facebook page.
*For the record, even though I’m terrible at replying to email, I do read every single one & love getting mail. I usually read them right away on my phone & then plan to sit down & reply to them all in one sitting. And then they get buried. And I worry that after it’s been a week, 2 weeks, 5 weeks…when is too late to reply? This is where an assistant would come in very handy!