I took a vacation.
From the blog posts, the tweets, the facebook updates, and my weekly newsletter. From the to do lists, the google calendar alerts, and the etsy posts. From producing art.
I took a vacation from my business. And it wasn’t on the schedule.
Looking back I can see that things had gotten out of hand. I would stuff my google calendar so full of tasks (sometimes literally double booking myself) that I knew there was no hope of staying on schedule. And yet I would be frustrated each night when I wasn’t done.
So I worked harder. But I still came to the end of each day with a nagging sense of failure, and woke each morning with an overwhelming sense of urgency.
Then one day, my brain just said ‘enough.’ Since I couldn’t bear to write a blog post, I played some softball and finished a couple of freelance writing projects instead. Since I couldn’t convince myself to pick up a paint brush, I spent several evenings actually cooking dinner, and went to a story telling event with some friends. I gave myself time to dream about the future. And since there was nothing else I could do, I consciously excused myself from the guilt and panic that inevitably sets in when I start falling behind.
Today, out of the blue, the wonder, the passion, the drive that I felt when I first started selling my art…it all began to flow back. And to my surprise, my business was waiting here patiently for me to return.
I was so terrified of ‘not making it’ as a solopreneur that I never gave myself the time and space I needed to grow into my new creative identity. To break it in like the right pair of jeans. I was convinced that if I wasn’t churning out three blog posts, 1 newsletter, 5 new etsy products and several paintings a week, I was dooming my fledgling business to mediocrity.
When they tell you that starting your own creative business is hard, I always assumed it’s because there’s too much to do and never enough time. But for me, that’s not it at all. The hardest part is making room for me to just be present in my business. To breath it in, to explore its possibilities. To love it and nurture it, and forgive it and myself when we don’t meet our own expectations.
To approach it with a perspective of endless opportunity instead of limited resources.
I know old habits die hard, but sitting here in my kitchen with my glass of nettle tea and a wide open day spread before me, I can’t help but feel a gentle shift.