Friday, February 3, 2012

Do that thing update -- Fear and indecision


My sister and I met up in Toronto last week for an appointment to have some foreign documents certified.  (Sounds rather intriguing now that I see it in writing, but I assure you it was quite administrative in nature.)

Anyhoo, we were walking side by side and I was listing all of the supporting documentation I'd brought with me:  a copy of the email confirming our meeting date and time, just in case they didn't have us in the system; extra identification, just in case one piece wasn't enough; a copy of the email confirming the charge for certification, just in case they tried to charge us more because I'd noticed when reviewing the website that the service we needed carried a range of charges that hadn't been mentioned in the original email.

On and on I went, until I looked over at my sister and noticed that she was looking at me as only a family member can -- like I'd finally gone right around the bend.

"Yeah," she said.  "I didn't bring any of that.  You're hilarious."

And that, right there, has always been the difference between us:  she rarely considers the what-ifs, let alone worries about them.  Me?  I'm all about the what-ifs.  She skips happily along, ably managing the rare crisis that presents itself, while I trod a little less happily behind her, perpetually crouched in full crisis alert mode, carefully planning my response to every conceivable (and usually, unlikely) eventuality.

Which tends to mess with my ability to focus and to move decisively forward.

Which also brings me back to Wednesday's post.

Jamie approached me last year and very sweetly asked if I'd consider creating a themed page for a baby shower she was planning for a friend.  I agreed.  It sounded like a fun challenge and it gave me the chance to determine whether my drawing and writing style would work as a card, which was something I'd been thinking about for a while.  Jamie was up for a card, too, when I suggested it, so I made it up and sent it off.

Shortly thereafter, Jamie threw a truly lovely shower for her friend Natalia and generously included my card in one of her posts about the shower.

But even before her post, I started to worry about the what-ifs.  I worried about what would happen when Jamie wrote about my card.

And before I launch into it, can I just let you know that I'm quite nervous about the remainder of this post?  This is the stuff of fear and indecision and I'm not sure how much to reveal.  What's fair to say and what's not?  Possibly I'll say too much.  Or maybe it's no big deal.  All I know right now is that I really need to write about it.  To sort it out.  As you probably know by now, trying to sort things out is what I do.

I've written about this before, not in great detail or with particular clarity, but I've struggled with the decision to offer my printables as free downloads.  Was it a wise decision?  I really don't know.  I went into this entirely by feel.  When I started Grace is Overrated, I had no readers and no subscribers.  Its growth to date is directly attributable to my journal pages and your amazing support.  I am so grateful and happy to continue to grow into this space and I am proud of the work I've done here.

And yet, I struggle with the possible expectations I've created.  Not necessarily actual expectations, mind you, but the ones I've created in my own head.  Sometimes, I feel that since I've been offering pages for free download all along, I must continue to do so.  Please know that this is my issue.  No one, not one reader, has ever suggested such a thing.  But I worry that I have created that expectation and I lose sleep over what will happen if I make a change.  On the other hand, I worry that I have already given too much away.

Somehow, creating the baby shower cards amplified that concern.

On top of that, I totally stressed over what to do with the baby shower cards over here on this blog.  From my perspective, they're a one off.  They don't really fit with my other work.  But I have a zillion ideas for how to proceed from this project to a whole bunch of new and exciting things I'd like to create for the shop.

Except when?  In my spare time?  (Hardy, har, har.)  After sending the cards to Jamie, I began to feel this overwhelming sense of urgency to move forward, to keep up the momentum, and yet . . . no time.  So how did I deal with it?  By avoiding it.  Of course.

Ultimately, I couldn't see the baby shower cards for what they really were:  a fun project.  I worried the process into a chore, into something to be avoided, and I left Jamie in a difficult spot in the process.  Her readers were asking her whether the cards were available for download and, thanks to me, she had no satisfactory answer.

So.  Where does this leave me?  A little exhausted, truthfully, and very much trying to learn from this experience.  I am now actively planning for the future of this blog and my work as a whole.  In the process, my most immediate goal has to be to stop avoiding the tough questions and the difficult conversations.  It scares me a little, but it's really the only plausible way forward.  Just gotta keep putting one foot in front of the other, right?

How about you?  I'd love to read about your things.  Are you moving forward?  Are you making (or possibly avoiding) the tough decisions?

hugs,
Christie

18 comments:

  1. I also suffer from "be ready for anything and everything" syndrome, although I think maybe not to the same degree that you do, so I can relate to this post. We are who we are, right? As for your printables, you shouldn't feel that anyone *expects* you to be turning out these pages on a regular basis. You have been so very generous in what you've already given us for free! If it's time for you to move away from doing that to work on building your shop then that's what you should be doing. Just do what is right for you. That's really what matters.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Susan! Thank you so much for your comment. Such good advice for moving forward. :)

      Delete
  2. Christie, every time you post, you have consistently been awesome, caring, generous, talented, gifted, honest and just plain wonderful. I know those things can sometimes be hard to hear, but that doesn't make them untrue. I struggle with the same things you do and God knows there are days, plenty of them, that I wish I could skip willy-nilly through life instead of fretting over things that ultimately aren't worth fretting over, but, like Susan said, we are who we are.

    I think that it's great that you give pages away, and it's also great that you have a store and sell your work as well. There's no reason to give it all away, or be so focused on money that everything has a price. I think that you're straddling the free/for sale line just perfectly, offering your readers and fans the best of both worlds, as it were. But, ultimately, you're the one doing the work, and putting it out there, and it's you who have to see yourself in the mirror every morning as you brush your teeth. What do *you* want? What will make Christie happy (or at least less likely to kick herself)? I know they're tough questions to answer, but ultimately those answers are the only thing that matter.

    As for me and my, ahem, forward, it's still a struggle. I should write - something, anything, haha - because my agent needs me to write books for him to go out and sell, but I can't seem to focus, to *think*, ya know? Too many other life things taking my energy away. But I keep poking at the work with a stick. Sooner or later, something will spooge out. ;)

    {{huggs}} and hang in there, sweetie. There are lots of us that'll follow along wherever you care to take us.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Tammy! Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on this. I'll be working on those tough questions you wrote about.

      Thanks, too, for sharing your thing. I really like the something, anything approach. Takes the pressure off of creating perfection at first go and something really good almost always comes from that first something, anything. Best wishes to you (and your stick). :)

      Delete
  3. I love what Tammy and Susan said. They are so right.

    I'm at a point in my life where I need to put everything on sticky notes and figure out what can be combined into a project and what needs to wait until a later time (or not at all). I'm ready to Do That Thing, just need to figure out some clarity.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Naomi! I'm picturing your sticky notes and imagining a desk/table/floor/wall utterly filled with intriguing, creative, community-changing ideas. :) I hope you'll let me know what you come up with.

      Delete
  4. Well I was going to post, but I see Tammy and Susan already said all I was going to say. So just let me add a hug, and agreement.

    I can so relate to all the worry, almost like you're writing as me. But I wanted to share, too, that the happiest times in my life so far has been the times I was able to set aside that worry and create just for myself. And only afterwards make the decision to share or not, sell or not. I sell things I don't share on the blog, I blog about things I don't sell, and I also do the complete reverse.

    It's about what makes YOU happy, not us. If the dynamics of your blog changes because you change what you've been doing to something new? I'll still hang around. You're good people. It shows. That's what makes your blog your blog. You. And you're pretty cool.

    My thing? I took two steps forward this week. One, a list of things I wanted to do, and two, actually doing one of them. Thanks once again for the motivation and support.

    - hmm, wrote an awful lot for someone with nothing to comment. Sorry about that -

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Chris! I love that you started with nothing to comment and ended up writing such lovely things. :) I know what you mean about setting aside the worry. On the rare occasions when I can do that, it feels wonderful and the creativity comes so much more easily. I'm so glad that you shared your progress on your things. Sounds like a great week! Best wishes on that list of yours. :)

      Delete
  5. I really can't give advice, because I wouldn't follow it. It is good advice, but I struggle with those things, too. Do what you want and need to do. I'll be honest, your blog is a breath of calming air. It has no pretense, no mad dash of activity. Everything you have done has been awesome. I think I have mentioned this before, I do miss the prompts. I loved that you asked a question, which required time to pause and reflect, no "treat" is needed to ensure response.
    Your journal pages in your shop are my reward for accomplishing a goal, they are great incentives. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Maggie! Thank you so much for your comment. I was actually thinking about those prompts this week. Did you mean the Friday prompts I did for a while? I was thinking of starting them up again. I'm so happy to read that you are working toward your goal and glad to have my pages as incentives. :)

      Delete
    2. Yes, I meant the Friday prompts. I love those!

      Delete
  6. I can completely understand your avoiding strategy... heck, I haven't even picked a "thing" yet!

    I'm excited for you having new & exciting projects to think about & work on. Best of luck for the tough questions & difficult conversations!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Laura! Thanks so much for stopping by. It is definitely exciting to work on new projects. I hope you'll share your thing when you've picked it. :)

      Delete
  7. I just recently found your blog, but in reading a few of your past posts, this is a blog I will return too no matter if there is a free download or not.
    I too, will think and worry and then avoid. I have some big decisions coming in the next few months and well no matter how I try to figure everything out, I just can't come up with a solution :( so, now I just leave it for another day.
    Hope all works out. I look forward to more of your blog :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Kerry! Welcome and thanks so much for your comment. Sorry to read that you, too, are struggling with big decisions. Best wishes in finding a solution. When you do, I hope you'll stop by again to share your thoughts. :)

      Delete
  8. Ditto to advice and hugs already offered. Spread your wings and fly as you want to dear blogger friend, we really enjoy watching you soar. ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Scribbler! Thanks so much and hugs right back!

      Delete
  9. I just can't break away from your blog, I've had it open for well over 24 hours now. Thanks so much for making it great.

    ReplyDelete