Hello there lovely Buttoneers! Grab a cup of coffee – It’s a biggie today! I have a confession to make….You know in my Birthday Adventures blog post last week when I was talking about my previous blog challenges ‘27 Before 27‘ and ‘Create 28‘? You know how I said that Create 28 had almost killed me off and that I wasn’t going to do another blog challenge again? Well…I have been mulling it all over again. Confession Time…and a New Challenge?
Yikes! There, I said it. It’s out there. Swoosh…out into the world…maybe I will sleep better now?
When I wrote to you guys last week I was very careful with how I talked about my previous blog challenges, mainly because I was waist deep in the middle of a complex argument in my head about whether I should or shouldn’t create a blog challenge to embark on this year. SPOILER ALERT: I still have no idea.
I have been back and forth with ideas and pros and cons and it is driving me insane!
The main reason behind my crazy brain at the moment is that I need more structure to my days. Working for myself and by myself means that it can be a total procrastination station over here. I need a better working day ratio – more work, less procrastination for sure. Less consuming, more creating. Less worrying about getting things perfect, More work on getting things done, finished, out the door and move on to the next thing. Don’t look back.
Except, as I know I can’t be the only one, it’s not that simple.
When I first explored the idea of creating this little biz of mine, I spent a lot of time reading. I read creative business books, how-to’s, blogs and magazines. I searched Pinterest (when it was in its infant years), watched YouTube speakers and creators, soaked up T.E.D Talks etc etc etc.
I thought that I couldn’t start until I was ‘ready’.
I thought I needed all of the information about everyone and everything before I could sign up for my own blog, before I typed my first blog post, before I hit publish, before I opened an Etsy shop. I thought I needed to wait until those things were in my reach. I was soooooo wrong. I was just scared. The fear made me believe that there really was a ‘ready’ at the end of it all and there wasn’t. I just had to leap off the cliff into the unknown abyss and find my own way back to the top.
Don’t get me wrong, I was right to be prepared. I was right to gain some knowledge and find my footing first, but there is nothing like being ‘in the field’, nothing like diving head first out of your comfort zone and finding your own way.
Would another challenge help me find my own way again?
All of the reading and watching in the world wouldn’t have prepared me for starting a creative business, let alone all that I have learnt over the last three and a half years. I feel like it is exactly the same for all of my ideas that I have spinning around in my head. I find myself procrastinating and tweaking on a daily basis, rubbing bits out here and re-drawing things there. I find myself reading about bloggers that I look up to, watching them succeed and progress. I find myself watching just one more D.I.Y video tutorial, reading one more creative business advice post on Pinterest, Scrolling once more through inspiring images on Instagram, but not actually getting anything of my own down on paper.
Just a whirlwind of new ideas, a tangle of overwhelming information and more often than not a huge does of the comparisons.
I find myself waiting for my ideas and my designs and my creations to be ‘ready’ to fly on their own into the handmade world when really I should let them run wild with abundance, sing and dance with the other ideas.
I need to give my own ideas a chance rather than cage it all in and wait for creativity to find me and unlock it all. I need to give myself the freedom to play around with ideas and make things happen for myself instead of just absorbing everyone else’s progress and then ending up feeling pretty yuk about my own.
I want to just stop here for a moment and breath it all in. I feel like Elise took the words out of my head when she wrote this.
I feel like starting a new challenge would be like drawing my own treasure map, allow me to mark a big fat X over ’30’.
It would allow me to explore my way to the end destination with enough creative habit formed, with enough confidence, to carry me further than the end date and into a more creative life.
Yes, I may encounter pirates or high winds, I may sail over rough seas and fall over board more times than I can count. But since when has life been always plain sailing? Since when has it all been easy? Surely you can’t reach the treasure without showing up and doing the work?
I feel like I need to let go of the fear, pull up the anchor that holds me in place and begin to push out from the safety of the harbour (Have you had enough of the metaphors yet? I love a good metaphor!)
So, why am I not running headfirst into a new challenge already, instead of just having a therapy session over here? I bet you are all sat there thinking “well Rachel…You haven’t given me one good reason why you shouldn’t do it” – and you would be right.
If you knew me personally during my Create 28 challenge, or after I had completed it for that matter, then you will be the ones shouting at your screen “Don’t you even think about it Rachel…Step away from the challenge…Sit yourself down, have a drink and lets re-think shall we?” I was a hot mess. I was stressed. I was burnt out. I was exhausted. I set myself up for an almost impossible challenge and even though I very proudly used the last of my energy to crawl over the finish line, I was done. I thought I would never be creative again. It was too much. Too much pressure. Too many things to be made in less than 6 months. Too much. Period.
I learnt a valuable lesson in those months of panic. I learnt that I need to take breaks. That I can’t do all of the things, all of the time.
I learnt that I need to let go of things, keep moving forward and worry less. I learnt that I work well to a deadline. That I need that kick up the bum and push from behind to launch my creativity to its fullest.
I was the same when I studied Art and Design in college. I would leave each project right until the last minute and then cram it all in the last few days, the deadline forcing me to not question my creative decisions but to go with it. To show up, to do the work.
Productivity > Procrastination. Progress > Perfection
I worked my butt off, sometimes all night to hand in a project first thing in the morning. The deadline shouting in the back of my head, the clock ticking louder as I worked and worked that extra mile to ensure I made the top grade every single time. I miss having a deadline to work to. Like I said before…
Working for myself, in my own time frame often leads to my creativity train pulling into the procrastination station for longer than a refuel.
However, Those deadlines in Create 28 were stupidly tight, close together and near impossible to meet. I pressured myself far too much, I pushed myself to breaking point, and whilst I created some of my most favourite work – I almost lost my creativity as a result. This time around I would need a plan. A more structured map of what to make ahead of my deadlines to stop the panic and overwhelm.
I admit the main thing stopping me from sprinting down the track towards this challenge is fear. What if I can’t do it? What if I get half way and want to quit? What if I get so overwhelmed that I fizzle out and want to give it all up? What if I fail?
All of the possibilities. All of the worry. Do I dive in headfirst and use fear to push up from the bottom and swim like hell to the top? Do I just carry on blogging and making in my own time frame? Decisions…Decisions…
What do you lovelies think I should do? What would you do in this conundrum? Have you ever stepped out and faced your fears? Have you ever set yourself a daunting challenge? Did you succeed? I would love to hear all about it!
Until next time, meet me for a chat with a cup of tea in the comments below. I’ll click the kettle on!