I can’t remember the last time that I had so many good opportunities at one time and had such a strong purpose in my life. Each day when I wake up, there are several directions to head in, and each one is its own adventure. I am liking the way the business is heading. It is fun and satisfying and as I check each new thing off the list, I feel a good sense of accomplishment and I feel good that we are growing and expanding.
I worked on several different aspects of the business yesterday. It felt good to see progress being made in several directions at once. While some may view this juggling act as something of a negative, I think that it is a very positive thing. I have spent the past several months (years, actually!) networking and branching out in many different directions in hopes of building up the business and finding the right niche so that I will be able to make it viable. It appears that all this work is beginning to pay off, and it feels good to have these opportunities in front of me. While it can sometimes be tricky to keep everyone happy, in these difficult economic times it is somewhat necessary to have more than one interest, and I feel very fortunate for the opportunities.
I spoke to my editor from the magazine yesterday and clarified some things about my submissions for the holiday issue. I will have two projects, as well as an article in that issue. While I spent most of the weekend working on these things, there were still some questions I had regarding how she wanted things presented. I wanted to talk things over with her and make sure we are on the same page before I did the final polishing on the article and sent it in. I thought it was best to talk to her first before spending the time doing the work and possibly having to change it, and that was a good decision on my part. All the ground work is laid and now after talking to her, I have a clear direction of what she expects and I will be able to finish things up rather quickly.
Communication is very important. I think that holds true for so many aspects of what I do. I learned long ago that making guesses and not asking questions is not the best way to go. I have wasted many an hour by assuming something and continuing on without asking, only to find out that I was wrong. Had I only asked some simple questions and communicated better, it would have saved me a lot of time and energy, which could have been better spent in another direction. Asking questions is just smart business. I find no shame in picking up the phone or sending an email in order to clarify something that I am not sure of. It truly helps me make the best use of my time.
I find that as things get busier, I have to be a bit more disciplined about my online visiting. Sometimes there is quite a bit of grey area between networking for working and networking for social reasons. This is especially true in my own work because so many of the people that I work with are really also my friends. It is quite easy to be distracted into fun and non-work related things during an average day. I am learning to hold a firm(er) line for myself in this regard, and have made a mental note to myself to limit my social activities to certain times of the day. I still like to keep up with everyone, but I am trying to channel it better so that I am not distracted from getting things done. To some extent though, it is part of the job and it is also part of what makes it fun. But as with other things, it kept under control.
I made a good deal of progress on the new patterns that I am working on. At the present time, I have three major projects in the works – the two painting patterns for the ornaments that are going to Artist’s Club and the new scroll saw pattern for my own site. Unlike when I am in the designing mode, writing the patterns requires much less creativity and is in a sense, much easier than coming up with the actual designs. The ideas are already there. It is just a matter of documenting the process of creating them and putting it to paper (technical writing vs. creative writing) and I find it much easier to switch back and forth than during the creative process. This is a pleasant surprise, because I am better able to move things along on several different projects at once, which makes me feel less like I am neglecting one aspect of the business or the other. By doing things this way, I can honestly feel that I am progressing on all fronts, and it is far less stressful for me than focusing all my efforts in one direction while the other things I have in the works remain in limbo. I suppose to me it feels like I am keeping each part happy.
So for now anyway, I will continue in these multiple directions until circumstances tell me to do otherwise. This is all new to me and the only thing that I am sure of is that before long things will change. I think a big part of what will make me successful or not will be my ability to be flexible and open to change. Just because something is working for me today, doesn’t mean that tomorrow it will also work. We will just have to see.
To some, it may seem like quite a juggling act, and perhaps they are right. But that doesn’t mean that it is something that I look at as negative. As long as I keep everything going, it can be quite a bit of fun.
One of my favorite sayings is “We follow where we focus.” I am choosing to focus on all the good things that this means not only for my business, but for myself personally. I couldn’t really ask for much more than that.
Have a great day today!
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"