The big list of what’s holding you back…

It isn’t a big list. It’s one word. One bloody horrible short little word that can paralyse you.

Doubt. 

It is the enemy of every artist, crafter, maker whoever thought that they might be able to sell their work. It doesn’t matter where it comes from, it’s there. It feeds on your insecurities and niggles away at you like some irritating little gnat buzzing around your head. It’s always there and no amount of swatting at it will make it go away. Even if you do manage to kill the damn thing, there’s another one making a beeline straight for you.

I don’t have an answer. I can give you all the things I’ve tried or been told to try. Some will work but most won’t. I will tell you one thing though, how can anyone else love your work if you don’t? I think you already do love your work, otherwise you wouldn’t keep at it. You wouldn’t keep sketching or sewing or carving or painting if you didn’t love it. The trick is loving it. Loving it so much that you want others to love it too.

I make mice. Small cutesy little teeny tiny mice and the odd pig out of fabric. I used to make birds, some of which are really stunning, even if I do say so myself. The swans, the hummingbirds and the peacocks are some of my greatest pieces but my back problems put paid to that, the sitting/sewing position were just too much especially the hundreds of hours that I used to put into it.

swan-main.jpg

I am in love with my mice. My steampunk mice, my Cosplay mice, I love every damn one of them. They take hours to make and each one is better than the last. I make those tiny steampunk hats that measure about 1.5cm tall and every single time I make one, I get totally lost in it. When you buy one of my mice, you are buying my total attention focused on one thing, my love (that sounds bloody naff but it’s true) and my weird little brain and all it’s strange little thoughts.

Whenever I criticise myself or my work, my husband says ‘that’s my wife you’re talking about, quit it!’

He’s also the person who has convinced me into applying for Kirsty’s Handmade Christmas this year. Every year I watch it and think about applying but that absolute arse ‘Doubt’ sits there on my shoulder. It whispers and cajoles until finally my shoulders drop and I think ‘maybe next year’. Well, this is ‘next year’. If I don’t do it now, I’ll never bloody do it!

I shared the video appeal by Raise the Roof Productions and Kirsty, on my facebook page a couple of times as well as seeing it in a couple of the craft groups I’m a member of. On every occasion, there were incredibly talented people saying that they didn’t have the courage to do it. That’s why I wrote this post. I’m telling you that you do. You already have the courage it takes to share your beautiful and time consuming work with us on FB and in those groups, so why not just take a deep breath and apply? You might not go further than sending that email but you know what? You sent that email and that’s probably the biggest step of all for some of you, I know it was for me. The link to apply is here.

Put your big girl knickers on and do it. Or your big boy knickers for that matter!

I believe in you. Time for you to smash that buzzing gnat of doubt with your electrified tennis bat (we have one of those, it’s bloody awesome) and have some belief in yourself.

#biggirlknickers #bigboyknickers get them on!

How to get organised enough to work at home effectively…

If I knew this, I probably wouldn’t be sitting here writing this and slurping my coffee at 6am. Although, maybe I would…

morning coffee

I used to work as an Account Manager for an online company that sold training to companies. I left the house at 7am and didn’t often get home till 7pm. I loved my job, I loved being a grown up and I was really happy working for my boss, a totally insane and manic guy who raced around at 500 miles an hour. He was a great fan of Tony Robbins, the self help/motivational guru and if there was a tour, my boss made sure he got at least one of the tickets if not one for every tour date. He would go off on all sorts of retreats and weekends, he came back after one such event, ripped his socks off and enthused about how he’d walked on burning coals and hadn’t burnt his feet. He also believed in guardian angels. One business meeting journey terrified me so much with his driving that my fingertips wore grooves into the dashboard. He said ‘Amanda, you don’t need to worry, my guardian angel is watching over me’ to which I replied, ‘Yes Nigel, YOUR guardian angel, not mine!!’

Anyway, for someone who was so bonkers and practically ran on fumes ‘I don’t have time to eat’, he was extremely organised. His first thing to do every day was write a list of things he had to do and as he went through the day, he would tick them off his list. I became that person, I used to write lists everywhere. It works. It worked for me. However, I’m not that organised anymore and in fact I haven’t been for a long time. I usually write a grocery list and leave it on the kitchen table when I go to the supermarket.

Working from home (successfully) requires discipline and as I’m often still in my pyjamas at lunchtime, I’m not that disciplined. That has to change. So I am now writing lists of what I’m hoping to do each day. Actually, not ‘hoping’ – let’s try ‘going’. A list of what I’m GOING to do today.

First on my list, complete another one of those lovely green and blue mice. I’ve already made a start, this one has shiny green thread on his ears instead of blue.

small green and blue fabric mouse

After this I’m making a tweed pig, I’m thinking of trying to make a couple of piglets so that should be interesting. Fingers crossed that some of my orders turn up today as I’m planning a steampunk mouse! I already have a bag of aged looking keys in readiness!

aged keys

I’m also working on content for my first newsletter which I’ll send out at the end of this week, there will be an etsy coupon code sent out with the confirmation email when you subscribe but a bigger code sent out in that first email! So please subscribe. I promise not to bombard you with absolute nonsense 🙂

Have a great week!