Jun 30, 2010

Welcome to summer and the lessons of spring

June was a good business month. The best, I think, since I left my office job late last year to pursue crafting full-time and to untangle my brain. Oddly enough, that doesn't mean it was my most profitable month (and it wasn't — not that my most profitable month so far has been that impressive, anyway ;)). But it was a good month for meeting new people, and magically, without specifically trying for it, I reached my Etsy sales goal for last month. Hey, a month late ain't bad for me. ;)

My Etsy sales goal, by the way, was five sales in a month. Yep. Just five. My next Etsy shop goal is having a 10-sale month sometime before the end of 2010. Does that seem low to you? It actually seems low to me, but one thing I've learned while doing Craft or Bust has been that even though I was once primarily a Big Goal person, there's a place in my current life for slow-and-steady goals. Slow-and-steady goals, I know now, are good for building endurance and confidence.

And on that foundation, I can learn to be really creative again.

Being truly, honestly creative was my goal for spring, which I didn't quite meet — but you know, that's okay. I didn't abandon the goal, either, and that's what really matters. When I set that goal in April, I didn't know the real theme of the second quarter was going to be Endurance in the Face of Trials. I didn't know that what I would actually learn — re-learn, really — was that I can still Do What I Have To, even when I don't feel like it for a long period of time.

There was a point, when I was a teenager, when I realized that it served no purpose to let certain things block my progress. If I lost something and needed to find it in order to do what I wanted to do, the important part was finding it again, no matter how long it took; and there was no point at all in being impatient or angry about the searching. Yes, searching was inconvenient and potentially time-consuming, but it was also reality, and giving in to frustration never helped me find anything faster. So I decided to focus on finding what was lost more than on how annoying it was to lose things — that is, to focus on fixing the problem rather than the inconvenience of the problem itself. That made it easier to deal with the inevitable occasional loss, even when the loss was long-term, and it became easier to deal with other problems the same way. I focused on finding satisfying solutions, and eventually I succeeded enough times that I felt secure in my problem-solving skills. I even learned to enjoy doing what I had to, to get where I wanted to be.

Then I discovered there were problems I couldn't solve, not even by trying my hardest repeatedly over a long period of time. I'm still not happy with those problems, but the worst part about it is that somehow, during the past few years, I lost the ability to be patient with how long it takes to make progress sometimes.

Now, I'm still no Dalai Lama. But this spring I regained some of my long-lost patience with myself as I slogged along, being productive on the path to being creative; and while I'm still eager to push forward and I still haven't re-reached the point where I actually enjoy the wait on the way to success, I can at least accept that much-maligned, often-misunderstood slow progress is sometimes the only way to move forward.

After all, Sam and Frodo didn't make it to Mount Doom in a day, the Buddha took years to attain enlightenment, and even Jedi don't become Jedi masters instantaneously. Maybe the aforementioned wouldn't have minded expediting their respective quests, but sometimes you just can't. And sometimes I just can't. And so spring didn't go exactly as I planned ... but I made progress, and that was good in itself.

So here's to a new season: Summer, with whatever adventures (or non-adventures ;)) it holds! Soon we'll know who won the World Cup, we'll spin our wheels along with the cyclists in France on our yarn-spinners' Tour de Fleece, and we'll all see what kind of crazy costumes I come up with in anticipation of Dragon*Con (and maybe even Star Wars Celebration in Orlando).

Life is going on, and while I'd love to meet my spring creativity goal this summer, well, I'm bound to make progress in some direction, even if it isn't that one. So here's to a few more steps on the journey — to wherever it is that I'm ultimately going.


Pond at Brian's parents'
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