15 May, 2011

demon wrestling for fun and profit

So, it's been a while.

Unfortunately I failed in my 40 by 40 goal. I'm a bit embarrassed, but as it is want to do (wont to do? I never know how to spell that), Life happened. I did get a little bit of everything done. Some painting, some photography, a bit of writing, but I only have a few accomplished pieces to show for ten months of work.

Motivation kind of snuck away from me this year. I can chalk it up to many things, but probably my ability to be easily distracted is the biggest of them all. I am both the person who will start several creative projects at once, forgetting where I left off, and often not returning to them because the joy has left; and the person who will work a project into the ground, ignoring all outside obligations until it is done.

This was a loooooooong winter. Not so cold, but just snow. And snow. And did I mention snow? This year was a doozy for everyone. It wasn't just frustration, but brains got fuzzy. At least mine did. And it sucked away a lot of my drive for many things. Not like I was standing still, but in a way where it made more sense to work on something else for a while. So I did. But obligations loom.

I never fail to question during come December why I choose to remain in a state where nature repeatedly kicks my ass (at least) five months a year. Kind of an existential "Why Are You Hitting Yourself?" as it were. But as dysfunctional a relationship as I have with this state, truth be told I love it. I love being close to my family and friends. I love living in St Paul in a neighborhood close to the bustle but far enough away that things stay quiet. I love the prettiness of Minnesota as a whole. I don't get to see enough of it during the warm months, which is something I'm hoping to change. That ball of twine beckons, man.

One victim of my winter apathy was my Etsy shop. I haven't posted anything new in ages. It's not that I haven't been sewing, or making stuff, but those last steps of taking photos and writing copy do me in every time. I will happily promote the holy heck out of the work of people I know and love. But my own work doesn't get the same treatment. I think what I do is good. Sometimes it's okay, sometimes it's pretty freaking awesome. But damn if I can tell anyone that. Blame it on my Midwestern passivity. Blame it on my overwhelming shyness. Blame it on all excuses being hogwash. I get nervous about promotion, and when I think of having to do so, I withdraw, and it gets to a point where I don't finish projects for fear of having to eventually talk about them. I want to get to a mindset where self-promotion does not equal bragging. How do I do that?

I love making things that make people happy. People-pleasing is to a fault an inherent part of my nature. But Ricky Nelson had a point. While often I'm at my most productive when working toward someone else's goal, I need to be better at completing my own. That could be something as grand as the painting that's been half-started in my hallway for two months, or the Christmas 2010 gifts I haven't quite finished, or a smaller scale, like the dishes currently in the kitchen sink. Geez, those really should be washed.

2011 has been a banner year so far. A weird mix of good, awful and unexpected. But what it hasn't been yet is progressive, and that's on me. My goal has to be to complete my goals. Cut my tasks into small manageable bites and perhaps they will be easier to swallow. At least I'm aware there isn't a magic wand fix. Believe you me, I've tried saying "bippity-boppity-boo" till the cows came home and nothing's happened. Maybe I need a drill sergeant, or a lifecoach, or Buddy Love-style persona to represent my shop.

Or maybe I just need to get to work.