Brain Melt

I’ve had a busy, mindful couple of days. “Mindful?” you ask. Yep. My mind is full! I’ve had a lot of juicy conversations with a lot of folks all week long, and my brain is buzzing so much it’s tired.

I’ve had email exchanges with smart, savvy entrepreneurs (shout out to Michelle Sholund of By the Bay Botanicals), and received more comments on my blog than I ever have before (thanks Sister Diane, Gwen, and Michelle)! I’ve also been lurking around the Etsy forums commenting and picking the brains of different shop owners there. I joined the local San Diego Etsy team, and now have dozens of local etsy shops and blogs to go explore in my copious spare time (!).

I’ve been reading some other blogs that have interesting topics that have stretched my mental capacity, and found some wonderful resources I didn’t know existed (I’ll share those with you in the future–gotta explore them some more… hehe…)

I’ve found some websites of different clothing vendors that have made me turn green with envy and planted the seeds of determination, some of them local!! Talk about spurring one on to accomplishment–if they can do it and my stuff is just as good, then why can’t I?!?

On top of that, I’ve had some exchanges with some of my real life friends that have offered me some advice regarding the direction of Relished Artistry, and given me some really good food for thought regarding what I’m making and what I could potentially do with it in the future. Is more of a costume-bent in the future? Hmmm…

My problem now is that my brain is so full, I don’t know what to do next!!homer-simpson-wallpaper-brain

One never ending responsibility is to create more of a body of work, so when I feel myself getting “overwhelmed” with ideas I’ve been retreating back to my studio to concentrate on generating more items to sell. I could literally spend all my time on the internet, zooming around the blogosphere absorbing new thoughts and plans, but at a certain point my gas tank empties and I have to slow down to make a pit stop. My studio is my pit stop. No crew, no tires, no smelly fuel. It is a garage, though!

Now it’s time to DO, not ponder. ¬†Well, at least ponder while I do. ¬†Haha!

So that’s what I’m going to do at this moment: spend time in my studio, simply sewing. I have some projects that I need to complete, and some others that I want to start, and there’s no time like the present. It’s getting cooler in San Diego, and working out in the garage is quite comfy–I’ll eventually have to get space heaters to keep it warm, but I won’t worry about that yet. Right now, it’s crisp and cool and energizing!

So I’m off. To relish my life by enjoying my simple pleasures and add to my stock. And perhaps along the way my brain will sort out the next step. : )

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E-Books and Pondering

I’ve been reeling from a particular e-book that was recently released, written by “Sister” Diane Gilleland of Craftypod fame (www.craftypod.com). It’s called Creating a Blog Audience. It’s the “sequel” to another e-book that she published called Making a Great Blog, and when you put the two together they pack a mind melting whollop that has really made me sit back and ponder stuff. (Incidently, I don’t know why she calls herself “Sister” Diane, but it works. She’s preachin’ good stuff, lemme tell ya!)

First off, let me say that I’ve listened to all of the episodes of Sister Diane’s podcasts, and I can’t recommend it highly enough. I was raving to a colleague about it one day, only to learn that she actually listened to Sister Diane, too! My friend isn’t into the podcast universe as much as I am, so to learn that she had actually heard of it was a real surprise! I download it off of iTunes (I have a Mac computer) and listen to it while I work in my studio. Makes me feel like I’m multi-tasking with the best of them, and actually getting twice as much done!

When I heard that she was releasing this book, I pounced on it and downloaded it and the other blogging book she wrote. Both come with extra “workbook” sheets that let you complete her exercises that she outlines. And those exercises have been incredibly interesting to me.3878035847_8b44d88b8d_o

I read the first book straight through, and loved it. Just to help explain the impact it’s had on me, I now have a poster on my wall by my computer that lists the “reasons I write on my blog”. It’s quite useful in maintaining my focus! I’m now measuring everything I contemplate writing about against those reasons, and it helps me figure out appropriateness, validity, and usefulness.

But the second book really made me sit back and think about stuff, and I’ve had to actually set it aside for a bit because it’s made me realize I have a lot of self-educating to do. In the second chapter, it poses a question: “What kinds of crafts do your ideal audience members like to do?” And that perplexed me. I realized very very quickly, I had very little idea of the kind of crafter/artist I was writing for. I was just “putting it out there” without any real thought behind who might actually be interested in any of it.

And that led me to realize that I don’t spend nearly enough time actually reading other people’s expressions. If I am going to write anything that is relevant and interesting to anyone, I have to know what else is being said, what they’re interested in, and provide a reason why they should read my blog in the first place.

empowering-orthers-to-achieve-successWhich led me back to my reasons on my poster. And it’s slowly starting to sink in that my reasons for writing the blog are rather “self-oriented”. I started this blog to help promote my wearable art business, and I’m coming to see that simply isn’t enough. Who wants to read a blog full of self-aggrandizing advertising? I certainly don’t.

So from here on out, I’m not only going to update you on what I’m working on, but I’m also shifting the focus away from me and more toward things that are interesting in a more practical sense. Philosophy, tutorials, interesting links… Since I’m not teaching theatre anymore, I might as well use that “bank” of resources and share them with you. Things like costume history, pattern drafting tutorials, online costume resources, material resources, small business advice, theatrical crafting materials, period styles and ornament, clothing accessories, theatrical movements, philosophies, art history… I’m excited about making this blog my classroom.

If I can help my blog audience relish their artistic capabilities through lessons, advice, examples, projects, and juicy discussions, then this blog will serve a purpose beyond simply being a tool for me. It can be a tool for you, too.

And somehow, I feel really empowered by that, you know?