I wrote the following post almost exact five years ago (thank you, Pam, for reminding me of it!). I was just about to launch my etsy shop with a full + scared heart. I was 30 years old, working full time as a medical social worker and had recently fallen deeply in love with making art. I wanted to be a full time artist. I wanted to feel like an artist. I wanted to make art that mattered. I wanted to find my people, my tribe.
I wanted to be brave.
This post was written in the thick of my trying to figure it all out, a time when I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I was sending out countless emails asking strangers for help – people who I admired and looked up to. I was completely overwhelmed, yet excited. And I was deeply curious about women who had creative businesses. I wanted to know their stories, how they did it, who they were.
Re-reading this old post, I’m reminded that I still feel exactly the same way. I still want to make art that matters. I still think about women, their art, and how they get their businesses up and running. I’m still inspired by those stories of triumph. I still get frustrated when people aren’t helpful. I still want honest, daring stories. And I still hope to always help others along the way with everything I’ve learned in my own creative biz journey as I understand (truly) how hard it can be.
I’m so happy to celebrate five years of running my creative biz! It was exactly this month, five years ago when everything changed. Opening that etsy shop in 2006 changed my life (thank you, etsy). Figuring it all out as I went along changed my life (I still figure it out as I go!). Embracing the questions, searching for answers, finding my people – all of it – changed my life. I am so lucky and so grateful to be living this life as an artist. I’m an artist (!), full time (!), successful (!). Sometimes I simply cannot believe it.
In the spirit of celebrating beginnings and all the learning, frustration and changing of lives that happen because of it all, here is the post I wrote almost exactly five years ago on this blog documenting one part of my new beginning. I called it “women + art.” For those of you new to this blog, check out the right sidebar for a list of blog posts that chronicle my journey into the creative life these last five years.
Written in Sept, 2006:
i’ve been thinking about women, their art, how they get their businesses up & running, and their personal journey along the way. how did they start? do they have any tricks? what were their hurdles, struggles, joys? how do they manage their finances, books, data? how have their endeavors changed their life, their relationships, with others, and within? and do they have any concrete tools or suggestions? and most importantly, do they have a spirit of encouragement when it comes to artists who are just beginning, and do they make themselves available to them? is that important? really, i just want to know their stories. the honest truth.
there’s no doubt that i’m in the midst of that very journey right now. all the research. all the learning (macintosh, scanners, printers, marketing, photoshop, taxes, shipping options, to name a few). not to mention all of the searching, inward, and outward. i find myself looking for resources, communities, even blogs out there that specifically focus on women, their art, and the story of how they came to be. i want honest, daring, truthful stories.
i find it frustrating that for those women who are now successful, that some of them aren’t very generous with what they’ve learned. what is that about? i’ve been lucky to have laini, alena, and DJ as huge supports to me. they are all wonderfully successful artists who have encouraged, inspired, and have challenged me to do it. to make my dreams actually happen. that yes, i can do it, and that i should do it! i’ve asked them all a million questions, and they have all been incredibly generous with what has worked for them, and what hasn’t.
no matter where i am in my journey, i want to be that person who encourages, supports, is available, but most importantly, to be honest about the process. i know what it feels like now to have a million questions, a huge learning curve, and to be seeking information non-stop. and i also know how the ups & downs of transforming one’s life can feel. it’s exhilarating. it’s scary. it’s passionate. it’s happiness. it’s internal questions and examination. the questions come in and out, day to day. sometimes i think to myself, “who do you think you are?” “what the hell are you thinking?” “do you really think you can make a life as an artist?” “ha!”
it’s all about the journey. i’m loving it. in the spirit of being helpful, i’ve added some resources to my sidebar for the inner entrepreneur in you. these are all sites i’ve either stumbled upon or learned about from other people. some are quite practical and others are pure inspiration.