Saturday, November 8, 2008

Sabbatical of Sorts, and Random Observations

I guess you could say I have been on a sabbatical. A break from blogging.

Blogging can be a great way to communicate your thoughts with a larger audience, but...they can also get to be like a nagging child. Pulling at you and wanting your attention. NOW!! Didn't I just write a post? Do I have to write another one again already?

The choice was not necessarily a conscious one, but a necessary one. I needed a break. And I am not sure I am truly back. At least not on a consistent schedule.

The new schedule this year with a new school for my youngest daughter has drastically cut into my time. And the oldest has started piano lessons. I am in the car about 10 hours more per week than last year. Driving a carpool is not time that can be spent doing much more than driving. The school is terrific, so the sacrifice in time is worth it. But, it does take a toll. I now see more clearly just how spoiled I was the last few years with the school bus picking up and dropping off my daughter right in front of the house.

I am getting to the gym at least four days a week. Good for my health. Not so good for my blogging time. I have begun a new strategy to reinforce my motivation to workout, and it seems to be working. I had heard about this technique of using a contract to commit to a goal on the radio, but I had not given it much thought until this fall as I struggled to get to the gym more than twice a week. So far I have seen a definite shift in my commitment, and given the general environment out there right now, I can use the stress reducing benefits of exercise.

The economy has been taking it's toll. I have had various customers behaving badly. Canceling orders. Avoiding phone calls. Sending post-dated checks. Paying late. Or waiting 30 days, and then paying with a credit card....which means I waited thirty days, and I pay fees on the credit card purchase. None of these problems were happening a year ago.

A year ago the beginnings of this downturn were evident. But now, it is in full force. I am concerned about the outlook for the next few months. November and December is when many retail stores make their profit for the year. If people hold back on purchases dramatically, we will likely see many businesses shutting their doors after the first of the year.

I have written a few lenses on Squidoo. It has been a way for me to encapsulate some of the things I have covered here. One lens is an overview about the business of craft. Another is about craft photography. Squidoo seems better suited to these sorts of "brain dumps"....taking a topic that I want to write about and being able to cover the terrain with as many modules, or pictures as I want or need to explain my point. It doesn't have the continuity of a blog, but sometimes a singular topic is all you want to cover. Some people have used it as a way to help promote their products they are selling on Etsy or eBay.

But, like all sorts of things on the internet, it can be a real time drain. There is a reason that the Facebook Anthem video has gotten as many views as it has....many of us are feeling overwhelmed by the endless number of ways we have to stay in touch with an ever expanding circle of people. We are getting to know more people, but perhaps we know less people as well as we used to before the internet became a life line for many people. There was life before Blogger, and Facebook, and Twitter, and LinkedIn, and e-mail even. Functionality has expanded to the point where we can barely function, let alone breath, in the real world.

For all the ranting, I have had some good news. Some of you may have seen this piece in Art Jewelry magazine recent issue (November 2008). It appeared in their gallery section.

And, I had one of my pieces selected as a finalist in the Niche Awards competition for 2009 in the Polymer Clay category. So far I have learned that Sandra McCaw, Jeff Dever and Lindly Haunani are also finalists. Heady company!!

On top of all that good news, I found out two pieces were accepted into the Progress & Possibilities competition, sponsored by the National Polymer Clay Guild, as finalists. A necklace, and a chess set. Talk about feeling pretty lucky! It really is wonderful to have my work recognized in these ways.

Don't know when I will be back. I hope you will understand if it is a while. And, I hope you find some time to get off the computer, and into the studio, or better yet, out for lunch with a friend. Cell phones turned off. Connecting the old fashioned way.


minga said...

Judy, I love your necklaces but your chess-set is absolutely gorgeous.
One of the rare moment my dh agree with me. He look at my screen and said "Hey, why don't you make me such a chess-set?, That's a thing one really can use, not like the things you normally make".

Susan Turney said...

Hi Judy,
I love when you post so I can see more of your beautiful work! Each piece is so gorgeous and awe-inspiring! The piece chosen as a finalist for the Niche Awards is absolutely out of this world. I love the colors and I think you'll give the others a real run for the award!!!!!! Your work deserves all the good things happening right now! Hopefully all the not so good things will end soon.

Kathi said...

Mazel Tov on all the finals and so on. You truly deserve them! As for the break, I think you are dead on. Sometimes the computer takes on a life of it's own and sucks one in. You will be back when the time is right for you to be back. Have some fun while on break ok? Hugs

Cindy Lietz, Polymer Clay Tutor said...

Yeah I hear you on the blogging commitment... I post every day and someday I hope to get ahead of myself, so I can take a day off!

Your work is stunning, no big surprises you were featured in the magazine! Congratulations!

Don't worry about the economy... it will just take a shift in how we do things... like looking to markets that aren't having such a hard time!

That Facebook Anthem is hilarious! LOL a few times! Thanks for the smile!