Regular readers of Crochet Concupiscence may have noticed that things are a little off here this week. This blog is usually really predictable in its posts. As a steady reader, you know that you’re going to get crochet artist info on Mondays, updates to my “50 years of crochet” series on Wednesdays, etc. And yet this week there have been fewer posts and they haven’t been on schedule. Don’t worry, those regular posts will be back next week but I thought I’d give you some insight into what’s going on here that created the change in schedule this week.

The Gist of the Issue

The truth of the matter is that as a blogger and author I am a little bit overextended right now. I have to find a way to maintain the level and quality of content that I want to produce on this blog while also doing my other writing, continuing to create connections with others in the crochet community and balancing all of that with financial needs.

Time and Money

To expand on that a little bit, the issue comes down to one that we all (as people, as mothers, as bloggers, as business woman) know all too well: there is never quite enough time and money to do all that we truly want to do. I tend to take a pretty laissez faire attitude towards this. I have been working for myself as a writer for more than ten years. I know that somehow the money usually works out and typically it involves tweaking my time. I also know that once or twice a year things will have built up close to a breaking point and that I need to make tweaks to my own schedule, goals, and commitments in order to release the pressure and set things on track again. There is enough time. There is enough money. It’s just a matter of making sure that I’m clear about my own center, my own needs, my own desires so that I can create a situation where I remember that it’s all enough.

Time Tweaks That Failed

One thing that’s been frustrating me so far in 2013 is that I set up a schedule for myself a few months ago that I put a lot of thought into and truly believed was going to work for me and it’s turned out that what worked on paper isn’t working in my real life. All of the good intentions I had just aren’t fitting. What’s happening instead is that I feel like not enough is getting done, I’m overextended and my cash flow is non-existent. I have to go back to the drawing board. As a creative business person it is imperative that you are willing to make changes and to admit when those changes were not the right changes!

And Life Changed

This situation, which had been building up for awhile anyway, coincided with some changes in my personal schedule as well. I don’t usually talk a whole lot about my personal life, but it seems right to share this here. So for all of last year, and for quite a bit of time before that, I engaged in significant downtime at home. I focused on writing, publishing and promoting Crochet Saved My Life. I focused on developing Crochet Concupiscence into what I wanted it to be. I could literally go days without leaving my house or talking to another person and I was content with that because I was so immersed in creativity.

Towards late fall of 2012, I started getting a little antsy for a different kind of energy in my life. Creative energy is amazing. And I do get a lot of great human connection through the friends I have here and the online community I’ve got around me. But there was something missing. In the fall I went on an amazing two week vacation with my family that was probably the best vacation we’ve ever had together just because it all gelled perfectly with where we were each at in our lives individually. That was followed shortly by all of the Christmas holidays, tons of petsitting and lots of just being busy in general. My sister arrived here for a week at the start of the year and she was quickly followed by my brother who stayed for two weeks. And in the middle of that, I met a man.

It’s been awhile since I’ve been in a close romantic relationship. I went through a pretty harsh heartbreak a year and a half ago and wasn’t even really dating as I healed from that. And leading up to the end of that relationship was a lot of time spent alone trying to figure out where we were going. I’ve been on my own, in so many ways, for so long. And as my life began to get filled with this new relationship, with my siblings being here, with the richness of community … I began to see fully that the old work schedule just couldn’t work.

Rest Required

The truth is that in order to adjust to this new life where people are around me so much more than before I really need to take a lot more downtime than I was taking previously. I love people. I’m thrilled to be having these experiences. But at heart I am an introvert who gets energy drained from being around too many people for too long of a period of time. I need space to sit down with my crochet hook, alone, meditate and relax and heal and integrate what’s happening in my world into the core of my being.

So while an extroverted craft blogger could probably get up in the morning, do a little bit of work, go on an afternoon date, come home and do some more work, make some phone calls, catch up on social media … it doesn’t work that way for me. The more hours that I spend with others, the more hours I need alone (not being creative/ not working) to compensate for that. And so the time spent with people doesn’t just detract that time from my work but actually detracts about twice as much because of the recuperation time.

Honor Your Own Needs

I am in tune enough with myself and my own personal, spiritual and mental health needs to know that I need to honor this.

Believe me, I am someone who prefers to push myself. I always want to work harder. I always want to create more. I have ten million ideas and I want to share them all. I believe in the value of supporting the endeavors of others and I want to do as much of that as I can.

But I know from my past that doing too much leads to crash and burn. I know that it is important to be gentle with myself. It is important to take the time to figure out how to work efficiently, effectively and emotionally safely.

Questions for Restoring Balance

So, while I’m taking some downtime from the blog and social media this week, I’m not just entirely resting. I’m letting my mind mull over questions and come up with new answers about how I’m going to restore balance in my work life again. Here are some of the questions I’m thinking about:

  • How do I maintain the breadth, depth, frequency, variety and quality of blog posts that I love to offer (and that I believe my readers enjoy) without over-extending my time on content writing?
  • Is there time-consuming content that I don’t actually need to have on this blog? Or that I could continue to offer either in a new way or with less frequency in order to reduce the actual time drain that it’s costing me.
  • What role does social media play in my life? I love connecting with other crafty people online and social media is a great way to do that. Plus from a practical standpoint it’s important to use it to drive traffic to the blog. But it takes a lot of time and I need to figure out what amount of time and type of social sharing is going to really be right.
  • How do I increase the profits of this blog without compromising quality or further overextending my time? I will be honest in saying that this blog continues to cost me more than it earns me, which is a difficult situation since I work on it 5-7 days per week. It’s something that needs to change but I have to figure out how to make that change happen. I have recently started accepting blog sponsors. This adds income but in order to do it in an ethical and useful way I need to invest time in the promotion of those sponsors and make sure I also balance that with other content that my readers will continue to enjoy. So how does that all balance out? I’m learning.
  • In what ways can this blog support my book writing and vice versa? I need to find a way to let these things work together so that the time spent on one can be useful in at least some ways to the time spent on the other – so I’m not doubling up on work, in other words.

There are other questions I’m asking myself as well but this gives you an idea of what’s going on with me, what’s happening here, why there’s been a shift this week. I share this because I want you to know what’s happening with me. I also share this because I think we as crafty business women and bloggers and busy 21st century people often grapple with things like this and I hope that my transparency allows you to think of new ways to approach your own work and life.

Ultimately, what we are creating is not a physical product or a piece of written content; what we are creating is a life.

Author

San Francisco based and crochet-obsessed writer, dreamer and creative spirit!

20 Comments

  1. Stephanie B. Reply

    Thanks for sharing this. It does make me think. I’ve been having a rough week myself and unsure of the reason, except worrying ( I worry all the time, it’s what mom’s do) about everything I have going on in my life with three teenagers and a husband who works a lot. On top of that I am trying to figure out how to sell the items I made/make without it becoming too intrusive on what I have to do daily. I think I could do well. I love to crochet and really want something to come out of it. My husband helped me sell 4 hats (at his job) by wearing the one I made for him, which was great, finishing up a Michigan colors one today (#4).

    • Kathryn Reply

      Congrats on those sales through your husband! We’ll keep on figuring it out day by day, right?!

  2. Hi Kathryn. Don’t worry – you do what you have to do. And I wish you well with your new friend. :)

  3. Good for you for realizing what you need and taking care of yourself. Congrats on the new relationship, I hope it’s what you need and enjoy. I’ll be waiting for you to come back but do it in your own time. I do with my blog- just let it be a Fun Thing and not an energy suck.

  4. I think many of us can definitely relate to your situation, especially now that there’s all these “mega-bloggers” out there who seem to magically be able to “do it all” with a smile on their face, and without even breaking a sweat. How do they do that? Are they hiring other people? Do they have magic elves? I wish I knew because I would definitely share the secret!

    But I’m definitely in full agreement with you. Take your time and make it right.. you need to live your life in order to have experiences to draw from that you can write about.

    • Kathryn Reply

      Thanks so much for mentioning this @BekkaPoo! One of the things that we’ve discussed among us crafty bloggers is the fact that there is sometimes Internet jealousy because it seems like other bloggers are doing it all … @sisterdiane and @vickiehowell did a great podcast about this: http://www.craftypod.com/2013/01/09/free-podcast-crafty-celebrity-and-internet-jealousy-with-vickie-howell/

  5. Hello, I’ve only just discovered your site, and I can’t wait to dive into all these lovely posts.
    Finding balance with all this social media is really hard – my solution a couple of years ago, after complete burn-out, was complete downtime. I’m only just really coming back online now.
    I hope you can come up with a new plan – I think we need to evolve a new way to combine all these networks into one “output”. (Not sure if that made sense – I’m just brainstorming!)

    Anyway, good luck with the new relationship.

  6. Sometimes a little step away is all you need to put everything in perspective. Take the time you need and we will be here :)

  7. HelenViolet Reply

    I totally hear what you are saying about being an introvert – As much as it is enriching and rewarding being around other people it is also draining and exhausting!.
    Keep listening to your inner voice, You know what is best for yourself.
    Congrats on the new relationship :) xxx

  8. Hi Kathryn – The most important thing is to take care of yourself and do what is best for you! And as we all know crochet will be there to help you through….. somehow. You are smart enough to know what that is, you may just not have realized it. I’ll keep you in my prayers that you will continue to be happy in whatever you choose.

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  10. Fruitful Fusion Reply

    Kathryn, take all the time that you need! You are such an inspiration to so many of us and the time and dedication you put in to this space doesn’t go unnoticed. Thank you so much and for sharing a slice of something truly personal to you too.
    xxx

    • Jodiebodie Reply

      I totally agree with you and second your comments. Hear, hear, Fruitful Fusion

  11. Jodiebodie Reply

    Hi Kathryn, we all need that “thinking time” in our lives as a regular part of the routine. It is so easy to get carried away with the pace of modern life and demands from everyone and everything around us. It often seems that society at large has forgotten the value of regular downtime, reflection and thought, yet it is often in these times that the answers to so many problems become clear.
    No one person or thing can go on and on without some form of rest, maintenance and refuelling. The challenge is finding the right balance. I can relate very well to your explanation because my daily life with chronic illness is focussed on avoiding “crash and burn”. Sometimes, just when I think I know where the limits are, they change and I find myself having to re-evaluate and rearrange the priorities.
    It helps to go back to the beginning and remind myself as to why I am doing what I am doing. What is the purpose of this activity? Finding the original focus and remembering that helps to keep on track.
    Feel good about knowing (or finding) your own limits and recognising the signs that are leading to “crash and burn” with plenty of time to change your direction. That is an achievement in itself.
    All the best with all of the changes in your life at the moment. Take care, have fun, take time and be gentle on yourself.

  12. Marie/Underground Crafter Reply

    Thanks for sharing what is going on with you, and I completely relate to your description of being an introvert and how draining (though delightful) social interactions can be. I am obviously behind on my blog reading (my way of taking a little break!) and I commend you for taking time to recoup but also for being honest with your readers. I wish you the best with all of these great changes going on in your life!

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  14. Kathryn:

    I hear ya on the introvert issue. That’s me, too. I’m not way far over on the introvert scale but even being slightly more introverted than extroverted makes a major difference in how we cope with the energy of the outside world, including people. I used to be a career counselor and we always address the personality type in working with a person. Glad you know to take care of yourself! (((HUG)))

    Gina

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