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Today I’m going to blog* about…blogging*.   It’s a bit of a challenge for me, writing posts of any substance on a regular basis.  A lot of the time it feels like a chore.  But I feel like I have to do it, and more than that for some reason I want to do it.  I read a lot of blogs daily and I really enjoy getting that insight into someone else’s life.  Sure, mostly it’s voyeuristic nosiness, but they’re also funny, smart, informative, inspirational.  I used to read the newspaper online everyday to feel like I was up to date with what’s going on in the world.  Now I read blogs and it’s like talking to my friends–the day’s events (public and extremely personal) synthesized by regular people.  It’s not nearly as depressing as the news.  I’m fascinated by how and why blogs start and evolve.  So many people have turned their blogs into real, and very lucrative, jobs (though many not)!  Books deals abound, it seems.  But it all happens organically (at least it appears so).  They start in order to have something to do, to have a way to share their projects/kids/recipes/advice/etc, as an exercise in personal growth, to write, etc.  Somehow they get a loyal following of readers and local then national media pick up on it and before they know it they’re famous.  Is this really how it works?  I’m amazed by the phenomenon.

Furthermore, all of these people claim to get so much out of the connections they make through blogging.  The response from their readership provides immense personal reward and friendship.  As I get older and see the opportunities for making new friends with which I have things in common decrease exponentially, and as virtual connections between people become ever stronger, this aspect of blogging is appealing.  I also think that as relationships continue to become more virtual it’s important to establish your own virtual identity, especially if you hope to build a business where people might find you through Google.

I’ve always had a problem with keeping a journal, though.  I love the idea of being reflective and having your feelings captured to look back on later in life.  There’s no denying I’m an overly analytical person, but for some reason writing it down makes me very uncomfortable.  Maybe because it forces me to really think through things, and come to realization and conclusions I may not like?  Or I’m just lazy?  And reading back through it makes me cringe!  Makes me feel like the world would be better off if I hadn’t written my thoughts down.   But I’ve been thinking that maybe I’m letting myself off too easy, and if I push through the challenge I’ll realize the reward.  I think I can, I think I can…   Apologies in advance for the many more rambling, uninteresting posts to undoubtedly come!

* I think you should know that in my house we call it a “blob” and “blobbing” as a reference to my grandmother’s original misunderstanding of what my brother’s new online journal was called.  We think it’s much funnier that way.  True to our affinity for potty humor, we have taken it to the next level of ridiculousness and it has recently become a euphemism for farting (and now I really can’t believe I’m writing this), after one of us (names will be omitted to protect the innocent) suggested to the other one of us that that person start a blob to track the abundant activity they produced in that area.  So now there are sporadic announcements of someone having just blobbed in the other room so the other person maybe shouldn’t go in there until the blob dissipates.  We’re freaks, I know.

I was supposed to have my first session with a client this past Sunday but she had to reschedule for the following week.  This meant I had the entire weekend with no commitments.  I was thrilled when I realized it, because even though the session was only schedule to take at most four hours Sunday morning, there was the hour or so driving each way, the making sure to go to bed early on Saturday so I wouldn’t be dragging Sunday morning, and then the recovery time once I got home from the session.  It really is exhausting work, especially as I’m trying to think quick on my feet and read between the lines of what a client is saying to me so that I can fully understand what she needs.  For that reason, even though I was looking forward to start working with this woman, and especially to being paid, I was kind of relieved to put it off another week.

There are many moments when I wonder whether I’ll ever get any real clients, whether this whole thing is real, actually.  It’s pretty easy to pretend it doesn’t exist.  And it would definitely be easier if it didn’t.  I wouldn’t have to worry about trying to figure out marketing and managing this in my free time while working.  The easy way out sometimes looks so appealing.  Until the alarm goes off on Monday morning and I remember all I have to do at work that day!

But then a random stranger who found my website will call me out of the blue and remind me–hey, you put this out there, you have to own it!  And then I have to buck up and try not to be a slacker.  Maybe once I’m being paid to do this it will be a little easier…

Aside from actually following through on my new business idea one of the more rewarding parts of what I’ve done so far in these past few weeks is build my own website.  Among my criteria for moving forward with Cool, Calm & Collected was low start up costs.  That means I’m not paying a designer.  I’d seen from a few other websites that WordPress could be used for websites as well as blogs, and since I’d become familiar with it already and it’s free  and doesn’t require knowing HTML code, I thought I’d try it.  Having no idea what I was doing, I bought a domain, bought hosting, and proceeded trying to create something that approximated a real website.  Hour upon hour of progressing a milimeter a minute and a week later I’d created something decent.  But it took so much frustration and banging my head against the keyboard.  There were even a few moments of utter despair when I thought I would never get the damn thing to work.  But I did and I’ve even managed to tweak a few things I never thought I’d figure out and–even though it’s still very very basic–I’m proud of it.  I tackled it, used my smarts, figured it out and learned something new.

I’m getting comfortable with the idea that that’s whole this whole thang is gonna go down–figuring it out as I go along and trusting that I’ll be able to.  Case in point: today I went to Ikea to get the materials for the closet I’m helping to organize.  I’d determined we needed 250 hangers, 100 skirt hangers, and 100 small bins.  As I started to pile things into the cart, I realized that all equaled a ton of stuff.  I literally had two shopping carts full of hangers!  As I tried to push them through the rest of the store to the check out aisle by myself I got the weirdest looks.  Not that I blame people.  If I saw someone trying to push two shopping carts full of hangers around Ikea I’d wonder what the heck she was doing too.  I got a lot of “Wow, you must have a lot of clothes” comments.  There was definitely a moment when I wondered if I was crazy to think I could do this–and by this I mean both the business and the hangers.  But I persevered and bought all the hangers and somehow stuffed them into the Mini.  And there they’ll sit, looking ridiculous, until I go over to Sara’s on Monday–and we better use them all!

China cabinet before

China cabinet before

Before the summer started and I got really busy with packing for long weekends and trips to South America and going away parties and new couches, etc, etc…I started the wheels turning on this stenciling project.  I wanted at first to hang wallpaper on the back of our built in china cabinet, a la Erin from Elements of Style:

Erin's from Elements of Style wallpapered china cabinet (and French opaline glasses!)

Erin's from Elements of Style wallpapered china cabinet (and French opaline glasses!)

However, when I went to the wallpaper store I was informed I could only buy double rolls which equaled something like a million square feet worth of paper.  For a teeny built in china cabinet.  Don’t think so.  So I next thought of stenciling, which I know was super popular in the 80’s which automatically makes it super tacky now, but I’d seen beautiful images of modern stencils from Royal Design Studio and especially loved their Morroccan inspired ones.  For the cabinet pictured at the top, I chose this stencil:

Royal Design Studio's Bone Weave stencil

Royal Design Studio's Bone Weave stencil

Whatever color I choose it will look like the reverse of this photo: the background will be white and it will be the lines of the design that will be another color.  I was thinking silver?  Should I go more dramatic with black?  More subtle with just a pearly white?  (You can kind of see the color scheme of the room in the dining table post.)  Too many options…

…But only in my head.  For now.  I’m working on what I think, and hopefully others will think, is a brilliant and fun new idea.  More info to come once I actually am in the process of producing.  But I want to share some current inspirations in the meantime.  These very cute and crafty centerpieces and this gorgeous bouquet from Once WedThis post from Jenna at Sweet Fine Day about her search for inspiration, passion and the combination of the two into a job that feels like home.  Kennebunkport on a foggy day last September, the visual summary of how I’m feeling:

What a relief to be at the end of the workweek.  It’s an overcast day here in Boston but it’s forecasted to be a beautiful weekend.  I’m assisting at a wedding tomorrow in Newburyport which I am really looking forward to.  However, the excitement and exhilleration I’ll undoubtedly feel after that wedding will surely just add to my creative turmoil over my next step!

Kelly at yes, please sums up so perfectly how I’m feeling right now–I want to jump in feet first, but can’t get over the need to plan, plan, plan in order to feel prepared.  But then, of course, I read posts like this and this about making sure you have a great logo and clear idea of your niche and specialty by Leila at inspired by this and can’t help but feel totally overwhelmed.

So I’m grateful to Sarah Danielle at La Jeune Marie for this post about her plans and inspiration for her brother’s graduation party!  I’m throwing a backyard barbecue bon voyage party for my brother in a couple weeks and am going to try to enjoy thinking and planning for that and stressing out about the future less.  Gazing at this photo above from our mini-honeymoon on Martha’s Vineyard last summer helps too…