I felt a great deal of relief last night when I printed out the final copy of my new pattern packets. it was almost 10:30 pm, and it was a good feeling when I laid my head on the pillow knowing that I was just about finished. I am still awaiting on the final proof reading, but for the most part the thinking part and organizing my thoughts is done and I feel a great sense of accomplishment.
I am not sure why these patterns seemed a bit different than usual. Perhaps because I knew that the project was a bit more difficult and I wanted to be extra sure that everything would go smoothly for those who were making it. It seems that instead of getting complacent as I do more and things become a bit more ‘routine’ the growth in my business is having just the opposite effect – I want to offer more details and do an even better job.
I think that all the customer contact that I have has a lot to do with that.
As I look back at my older patterns, I see that there is definitely room for improvement. It isn’t that they are bad or the instructions aren’t complete. You can certainly follow them and be successful in creating the projects. But over the years, through talking with people and learning myself, I believe I have found much better ways to explain things and present them. Each time I answer a question from a customer, it makes me aware of how I could have perhaps explained something a bit better or in more detail. I learn from them as much as they do from me.
I think this is a good thing.
While part of me wants to go back to the over 500 patterns and rewrite parts of them, I know that wouldn’t be a prudent thing to do. As I said, even the oldest pattern packets did a decent job of explaining, and it would take a huge amount of time to revise everything at this point. I didn’t have the resources or technology that I have today and while I could spend my time updating the old things, I would rather move ahead and do the best job I can on the new.
I like the point that I am at in my business. It is exciting and rewarding and I feel very inspired by customers and friends alike. From a technical point of view, things are also great. It seems that the fifteen plus years of learning programs and computers and photography is paying off. I must say I am as proud of the pattern packet as I am of the project, as silly as it may seem.
My biggest reward will be when people buy them and are able to easily follow the instructions and make the projects without issues. It really makes me feel good when I get feedback from customers who had a positive experience and learned from my patterns. It isn’t all about line work. Sometime I hear from someone who may have never painted before and was able to do so for the first time on one of my projects. Other times it may be when someone had never bevel cut on the saw and was able to do so successfully the first time after reading my instructions. Whatever the instance, it is great positive reinforcement for both myself and them when everything works as it should.
I have really come to like that part of my job. In the past, creating the pattern packet was somewhat of an afterthought. I don’t think that it was intentional, but I think I was more focused on the project itself and didn’t think as much about teaching others to recreate it. But after many years of designing, I find that teaching others how to recreate my designs is just as important as the design itself. And I take pride in doing a good job in that.
As I worked on these packets this week, I saw people talking on the forums about how much they liked my other patterns. They not only talked about the designs themselves, but the instructions too. Seeing how much they appreciated the extra time that I take in making the packets complete and easy to understand only made me want to do a better job. I can see that I am earning a reputation for a certain level of quality and I want to be sure that I not only maintain that level, but also improve on it wherever I am able. I am certain that it has a lot to do with why my business is growing and doing well even when the economy is so volatile. I am encouraged.
I plan on posting the patterns on the site sometime today. Many people have asked for them this week. As much as I would have liked to rush and put them up there right away, I took the time necessary to make sure that they are right. They are still going through the final proofreading this morning and hopefully I will have them posted by the afternoon. I appreciate everyone’s patience and know that when they are done, they will be happy I took the extra time to make them right.
After that, I don’t know what I have in store for the rest of the day. I have a couple of directions to move into, but I am thinking that I may just take a little time to take a breath and regroup. I think it will do me good. Perhaps a nice long walk in the woods would be in order, as we are still awaiting our first snow. It is brisk out and I think it would be a good chance to get some fresh air and clear my head and start thinking about the next project.
I hope you all enjoy your Sunday too.
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"