My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #371: New Designs and Challenges

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 06-15-2011 01:19 PM 3849 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 370: On to Something New (finally!) Part 371 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 372: Two New Designs »

Ahh, the smell of sawdust and the quiet sound of the Excalibur humming . . . It’s going to be one of those days!

I love my work. (Yes – I know! I was a little whiny in getting that last project out the door! It passed though.) One of the best things about what I do is the great deal of variety that comes with the territory.

One of my greatest horrors would be to do a job that is the same every day, where you need to preform the same tasks over and over again and have no interaction with people. I know that some people like things like that, and that is OK. It’s just not for me.

I suppose that is why I choose the job I have. There are so many hats that I need to wear and even when things are going smoothly, there is always another adventure just around the corner. Adventures make life exciting and fun. They let you know you are alive and give you purpose. They get you out of bed each morning wondering what the day will bring. And after years of juggling things around, I think I have learned to take life as it comes. “Expect the unexpected” and all that.

Some people tell me that they don’t know how I stay motivated and disciplined. They tell me that they would never be able to be self-employed because of the uncertainty. I never argue with them. For by them just asking me indicates to me that it isn’t for them.

Uncertainty is a great motivating factor. At least for me it is. Nothing lights a fire under me like wondering if something would ‘fly’ or not. I think I do some of my best work when I am unsure about things. For that is the time when I tend to stretch a little bit further and try a little bit harder to make things works.

Being certain about your success can sometimes bring on complacency. I think that complacency can be a real killer in any business. (I know this from experience) Several years ago I had a series of patterns that did phenomenal. It was one of those fluke things where they caught on like wildfire and everyone had to have them. The orders piled in so fast I could barely keep up with them. I had little time to design because it seemed all I did was print orders and go to the post office to mail them.

I suppose you couldn’t call it “beginners luck” because I was already working on designing for a number of years, but it sure felt good when it did happen. Being younger and more naive about these things, I thought it would go on forever. It wasn’t that I did nothing, but I will admit to you that I perhaps didn’t really try hard to push myself to higher levels. There was the little arrogant part of me that thought in the back of my mind that whatever designs I produced from then on would be accepted and people would rush to buy them. I had “made it” and the struggle was over.

How foolish I was in thinking that way!

The next several years were those of learning for me. And the lessons were not easy. One of the most important lessons that I learned was that effort is directly related to success. (No effort = no success) Now I am the first to admit that I am not the swiftest when it comes to formulas, but even I can grasp that concept, and I can tell you first hand that it is the case more so than not. The effects don’t always come immediately (in fact, usually they don’t) but I think I am pretty safe in saying that there is a definite co-relation between how a business performs and what effort we put into it. I find this makes or breaks many a business.

Which brings me back to myself.

I have now learned that when I have done something successful, the proper reaction on my part should not be to slow down and rest on my laurels, but to work even harder. I have retrained myself to feed on the small successes I have achieved and to learn from them and to allow them to fuel me to want to do and create even more. Besides – slowing down is no fun anyway. It is to me, boring and unappealing.

Did you ever notice that the most successful people are the ones who are the most enthusiastic and work the hardest? That isn’t by chance, my friends, that is a reason. How many times have we seen someone with lots of money and success and say to ourselves “Gee – if I had his/her money, I would be at the beach everyday” (or at the golf course, or whatever you want to fill in the blank with.) I believe that is just the reason why ththose people are not there, and probably never will be unless they have a rich uncle who leaves them the family fortune.

I love the fact that there are so many true artists here on this site. Nothing inspires me more then to see an amazing creation made by someone, only to see them try to top it in the next few weeks. We have all seen it here and know what I am talking about. We never seem to hear those passionate people complain about their lack of success. They do what they do for the love of doing it and for their own satisfaction first. And that is why they continue to stand above the rest of the crowd.

Now I know you can’t pay the bills or eat satisfaction. It takes a certain mix of circumstances to make it work. There are many factors in life that contribute to the formula and it is only up to you as to whether you can find the right combination to make it work for you. It is a personal choice and one that you need to consider long and hard before making any decisions on. Like any job, it isn’t for everyone.

With that said, I have a good day ahead of me. I spent yesterday drawing not one, but two new designs. It was one of those days where things were flowing and one design kind of led to another version which was similar, but distinctly different. In any case, I felt they both warranted completing. Thus, I created two separate patterns.

So today I will be happily cutting with my Excalibur and making sawdust. I also want to cut the little charms from the previous shell candle tray that I didn’t complete and get that finished. Funny how I got side tracked with that one. I suppose that life just got busy.

I also want to mention that I didn’t forget about the scroll saw class that I will be teaching here soon. I felt that I didn’t want to overlap with some of the other classes that were going on, as I thought perhaps that it would overload others that were participating in them. But I talked to MsDebbie and she made the point that since everything would be in blog format and easy to retrieve and follow for any late comers, it would be fine to start. So be it.

I wish you all a wonderful day today and hope you find peace and happiness in creating.

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

2 comments so far

View huntter2022's profile


275 posts in 2638 days

#1 posted 06-15-2011 03:11 PM

Sounds like your on a roll 2 patterns and your off to the saw today . Being self employed is not as easy as some may think. You have your good weeks and your bad weeks . Then there is weeks were you are so busy you don’t know what end is up.

-- David ; "BE SAFE BE HAPPY" Brockport , NY

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9231 posts in 2943 days

#2 posted 06-15-2011 03:47 PM

Yes, Dave and there are many choices you need to make. Sometimes you need to take what will help the business in the long run over what you WANT to do. It isn’t always the ‘ole “I’m the boss and I can do what I want” mentality. Sure – you can do what you want, but will that ultimately help your business in the long haul? It isn’t always as easy as others sometimes think it is. But it is very satisfying. :) You have a great day!


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

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