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?