Saturday, July 16, 2011

When you hit a snag...

I had originally planned to make this week's post about creating an amazing support system for yourself. This is an important topic, and one I hope to cover soon, since there are a number of incredible people in my life, be they fellow artists, supportive friends, or a little bit of both, and I want to give them the attention they deserve.

But! Something came up this week. Something just as important. I feel especially motivated to write about it today.

Uh oh...

For those of you who don't know, I'm hoping to apply to teach a class (or two!) at the Bead and Button Show next year. In addition to all the frantic cleaning of my studio space, I've also been running around, trying to create sample pieces, write up instructions, and price the kits I'd hypothetically use.

While pricing these hypothetical kits, I discovered that the link to one of my favorite types of sequins no longer worked. In a panic, I checked the rest of the site and couldn't find it anywhere! This made me nervous because not only had I wanted to use this product in my kit, but many of my designs feature it. It's also just really cool, and I don't know where else to find it.

Meltdown. Or not?

Right away, I could feel this chain reaction of crazy thoughts taking place. That this was the end of my class. That this was the end of my favorite designs. That (insert dramatic conclusion here involving fire, brimstone, and the end of the world as I know it).

As soon as this thought process began, though, I put a stop to it. One thing I've learned is that when something goes wrong, that's all it means. X doesn't necessarily imply Y, Z, and A. All it means is X, and X might not even mean what I think it does!

Are all these variables making you roll your eyes? Let me put it less alphabetically. First I had to determine if I even had a problem. So I emailed the sequin supplier and asked if the link was bad, or if they'd discontinued the product.

While I waited for their response, I started rethinking my class ideas. They could work, I realized, if I substituted something else. In fact, it was better to present a variety of materials because what's available, whether we're talking sequins or other supplies, can change at any time. So I reworked the design using larger sequins, and voila! Problem solved.

And then I checked my email. Guess what? Just a bad link. The product is still there, in all its sparkly, shiny, fabulous glory. I'd worried over nothing.

I didn't mind so much, though, because some good things had come out of this. I'd practiced stopping the chain of negative and crazy thoughts before it had me sobbing into my pillow (OK, maybe I sobbed a little at first, but I swear, it was into my sleeve). I'd done some creative problem solving and some direct communication. I'd also challenged myself to experiment with different materials -- and I'll continue to do that because that's what will make me a stronger artist.

When it happens to you...

Here's the moral of the story: When you think something has gone wrong, at whatever step you're at on the way to following your dream, first check to see if there's a problem at all. This will save you needless worrying.

If you're the nervous type, like I am, use the time between seeking and discovering the nature of the problem to plan. That way, if anything really is wrong, you have a solution. Or two. Or three. And if it turns out that it's not a snag, or even a tiny little hiccup? You've just engaged in some creative problem solving. The more you develop this skill, the easier it will be to tackle real problems. This will make you more likely to succeed in your creative endeavors, and also in life, period.

And if something really is wrong, know that your problem doesn't have to go beyond that particular snag. As long as you think creatively and intelligently, and as long as you approach any problem with the mindset that things will get better given enough time, work, and planning, it's more than likely that The End As You Know It is just a plot in an exciting novel -- and not your life or your career.

Thanks for reading! Have a sequintastic day. :)

1 comment:

  1. This is such a great post!! I'm totally a worrier... I frequently have meltdowns over no reason, then feel dumb when I find out it was over nothing. Part of being creative is finding creative solutions around our own minds.. great advice you have here. Love it!

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