Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.
Alliterative months or themed months like Jumpstart January, Veganuary, NaNoWriMo etc are a good way to get you started on something, they can give you the push or motivation you need, knowing that a lot of other people are doing it can make you feel supported and less alone but you can do any of these themed months, whenever you like.
Sometimes sticking to a goal for thirty days straight can have a positive or negative effect. There is a high probability that you won’t stick to the challenge everyday, I know from personal experience, the pressure we put on ourselves to succeed is ridiculous sometimes and we need to ask ourselves who are we really doing these goals for, on the flip side life has a way of throwing curve balls at your from time to time and shit just happens. You can of course do these monthly challenges any time you want, NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is a no go for me in November because its smack bang in one of the busiest months of the retail year! My small business takes priority because this along with December, is when I will make the majority of my earnings! So it makes sense if I want to write a novel in thirty days, to pick one of the quieter months of the year business wise.
I’ve said it before and I will continue repeating as a constant reminder that life and work is a constant roller coaster, the year started out good motivation wise, then things just went down hill. Whether is was the weather, arctic blast followed by heat wave followed by grey and damp spring weather, an uncertain economy as they battle out trade agreements thanks to looming Brexit and business slowing almost down to a halt, in all reality its probably a combination of all these factors, April has been decidedly average verging on awful. And I say this from a mental health point of view, maybe I have been in a slow decline into another depressive episode, I have at the very least been very unmotivated and some days just getting out of bed seems likes a massive achievement but I do it anyway, and stare at the craft supplies or blank computer screen in a hope that motivation/inspiration will sudden appear out of thin air.
Saying that though I haven’t been just sitting here doing nothing, I am the queen of procrastinating by doing other things, like as you know from previous posts had a massive clear our and tidy up to stop me becoming a borderline hoarder. I have been knitting my winter stock in the evening whilst watching telly because I’m a slow knitter, and I want to get a head start on making sure my winter stock is ready before the busy season starts but let’s be honest in retail, the majority of the year is spent thinking about what to make and stock for Christmas. I have to constantly remind myself that success is not a continual high, there are lows, sometimes very low, lows which you feel like your starting all over again.
I really think we need to start being more honest with ourselves about the downs and boring sides of running a business single handily and/or solo working. We focus so much time on listening to the success stories that we don’t really hear about the down sides or the failures. Yes success is good but when we follow that formula and it doesn’t work out for us, we assume it’s because we’re not good enough and are a failure. We concentrate too much on creating a facade of success but not enough time building solid foundations to sustain our businesses/work life. We favour numbers over engagement, I have always maintained that team follow backs are the most pointless thing unless you are prepared to do some heavy networking with these people. Brands don’t help by not checking whether someone has bought their followers or does have a genuine audience for them to market their products to. I constantly have to remind myself of this as the social media world gets larger and more and more people become freelance. But it’s all made to look so easy and for those that are prepared, it can be but for those who dive in head first they can end up struggling. And at some point we all do because that is how it rolls.
I saw a tweet where someone told people to stop telling her to quit her passion because she spoke honestly about the struggles of running a farm single handily. Instead of telling people to quit, we should be finding ways to support them like buying and supporting their business or work. I’ve said it before and will keep repeating until it sinks in that we are not in competition with corporate businesses because we are not corporate businesses, so stop acting like we should be! I seriously think consumers have been spoilt by cheap products and they need re-educating in what the actual cost of mass production is! Of course there are campaigns already on these showing the real cost of cheap clothes and not just financial ones!
There are hundreds of how to lists and blogs for running your business but very few of them talk about that they are not a guarantee. Follow these five simple rules and everything will be great, they are mostly click bait and way to get numbers, some work, some don’t and are usually fairly general in! We need to be realistic in that you can follow all the rules and guidelines and your project still might not get off the ground. In all likelihood it’s not you, it’s timing. Behind every overnight success story there is about five/ten years of slogging behind the scenes. the overnight success of Pokemon Go was down to about 20 years of prep work! Jordan Peele’s oscar winning script for Get Out was also about twenty years of rewriting, I get that 20 years is quite a long time my the pay off was huge. Timing and patience, something I personally need to work on appreciating more.
April has been tough for many reasons. Thinking positive is not always enough, you can’t just turn that frown upside and everything will be okay, sometimes pushing through is like trying to breakdown a brick wall by continually hurling your body against brick wall until one of you gives way! Maybe May will be different, maybe it will be Motivation May, Me Made Everyday May, Make Over May, or maybe I will use May as a jump-start point, I will work with what I have and see what I can do. Maybe I’ll stop with the long rambling blog posts and finally start blogging about making clothes and other creative stuff. Whatever it will be, I know that I’m just going to keep on trying because I’ve come to far to let a little blip. I know this post has been a little boring for you but in all honesty, life is pretty much made up of boring things, interspersed with highs and lows a long the way and sometimes instead of trying to keep up, you need to slow down and move at your own pace.