We all struggle at times…

For some long, long time I’ve been meaning to write a blog. But where to start? I have to admit to being slightly overwhelmed (slightly you say?? Ha!) as to where to begin. As for so many THOUSANDS of people, this Covid-19 pandemic has sliced neatly through my life, severing any attempt to earn money, move forward, put carefully thought out plans into action.

Now of course, it behoves me at this point to state the blinding obvious and say quite genuinely that I’m lucky and that in the grand scheme of things none of the aforementioned really matters. I’m still healthy. None of my nearest and dearest have succumbed to this dreadful disease of which I am enormously thankful for. I can still breathe, eat, enjoy life in my fairly sizeable and lovely garden and be at home in comfort with the love of my husband and 2 cats. I have a studio set up which is great, and through our own choice, don’t have children so can put ourselves first in every glorious selfish decision we make. All good. All blessings duly counted…and some.

But. There’s always a but. I just feel so lost at the moment. Desperately sticking my head in the sand about my ever decreasing savings (ok, they ran out some time ago. We’re talking ever increasing debt now.) I do sell a few bits. I regularly promote a few bits. I get bursts of energy, enthusiasm and organisation. “This is it!” I think again and again. Except it isn’t it. Or anywhere near it. It fizzles, stutters and stops again. And I feel back to Square One. Selling my paintings is wonderful, such satisfaction to have my work truly admired by someone not connected to me in any way. For them to genuinely want it. To WILLINGLY give me money for it. I’ll always get a thrill from that and always feel surprised, hugely grateful and as though I’m cheating somehow and will be found out that I’m not a proper artist. It was the same when I sang regularly I guess. I always half expected someone to say “how are you getting away with this?” It’s a well known “fact” that most creatives are a little paranoid and unsure of themselves and their work. And I’m a Pisces! How could I not be?! All the cliche boxes ticked.

But. And there’s that word again, I DID have good plans for this year work wise. I had enjoyable – and well paid – jazz gigs booked throughout the year. I had spent the first 3 months doing a “proper job” to get a bit of cash behind me for this year. I had good art & craft fairs booked throughout the year. These had been carefully planned for optimum timing and success based on my trials and errors of the past year or so, and talks with fellow artists and makers. I had more or less honed my stock and knew what did and didn’t sell. Which designs worked and which didn’t. I had finally, FINALLY, plucked up the courage to begin teaching workshops and they were great! Another string to my bow. I loved the community of artists and makers I felt I had become a part of. It felt encouraging, and natural, to be talking with them and swapping successes, sharing tips, highs and lows. I had plans and ideas about art related places I wanted to become a part of. I had plans to sell my work in many independent shops throughout the UK! Woo hoo!

And. Now. It’s all kind of halted. Cancelled. Postponed. But that means it will all start again doesn’t it? Yes, of course it does. And a lot of my booked-in events are on hold until the same time next year so I can do them then. But I feel different now. It’s seems such an effort to start again. I want to do these things I really do, and writing this has almost taken me by surprise as honestly I’d forgotten who I was, who I’d planned to be. But it’s as though all the momentum I’d gathered from last year which was carrying me high into this year has evaporated, and now I’d have to start again. I’d have to gather so much more courage again. And so much CERTAINTY that I can do it. That there is a point to it all. And to be honest that is where I’m struggling.

It’s at this paragraph that everything should turn around. Struggle becomes good and all is once more well with the world. Triumph over adversity. The trouble is I haven’t got there. Yet. I suppose by writing this I’m peeking above the parapet and making a bit of a start. I really want that way of life I’d planned. I wasn’t after mega riches, or endless luxuries and holidays. I wanted a good life where most – not even every, I’m not that unrealistic! – week was a joy and full of things I would do to BE that artist and singer who worked from home at the dining table studio with her lovely husband and 2 cats and pottered in the garden and made some people happy with my work. I’m certain it can be done. And with teetering steps and fingers poised cautiously over the keyboard… I’m certain I can do it. I think. Wish me luck.

PS… the evening has come around and I’m listening to this n that on my phone whilst I edit some photos. Recently I’ve discovered Jess Van Den’s excellent podcasts called Create & Thrive, which is all about having a handmade business and everything associated with it. I’ve listened to a few recent ones and have been dipping in at random into past episodes. I hadn’t decided whether or not to post this blog or just keep it as my own insecure ramblings, but as I listen to an episode from 6th September 2019 (Making It Podcourse Week 1 – MINDSET) I can’t help gasping as each subject and discussion arises – it is SO pertinent to what I’ve written here! Well, Jess recommends we flex that courage muscle (apologies if I’ve misquoted you there Jess!) by doing one thing today that scares us. I did a thing this morning by writing this. The bigger thing will be to actually post it. I might not get any readers but at least I’ve done it. Go and listen to Jess. She really makes sense. Visit Createandthrive.com website.

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