09 July 2010

Countdown...Fish Out Of Water

The phenomenon known as Parkinson’s Law states: “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.”

If you give yourself a week to do a task, it will take a week—but give yourself two days, and it will take two days.

I started my Inspired by... exhibit in January. I naively thought that by starting that far out that I would be completed with the entire exhibit plans today and I would just be coasting until the big party. I would be wrong. As Parkinson's law states, my work is expanding to the time that I have to complete it. Like the children's story I love called A Fish Out of Water. I feel like that fish, that is outgrowing the spots of water that the little boy keeps dumping him in until he winds up in an Olympic-sized swimming pool. All because the boy fed him too much. Perhaps I am like that fish that was fed too much. Or maybe bit off more than I can chew.

I am faltering a bit right about now.

I had promised back in June to blog about my progress with my pending Gallery Q art exhibit. I haven't made good on that promise. And I won't start making excuses, except to say that blogging does take time. Time that I can't bear to steal from creating.

I am staying up waaaaaaaayyyy too late. Well past my 9pm-1am limit.

I am getting frequent headaches. Literal and figurative. Yesterday I had a migraine (that I get very infrequently) because of the lack of sleep and stress.

I went home at lunch today to photograph all the pieces that I have made thus far for my exhbit which officially opens one month from tomorrow. And my computer crashed. I need to get all those pictures off the camera so that I can clear it out and get to the business of photographing the baseball traveling team at our tournament this weekend. So that I can make slideshows for all the families since that is what I have done for 4 years. A self-imposed necessary task.

{My new business cards... aren't they pretty?}

I have new business cards coming courtesy of my friend Jodi at rethink ink designs. But I need to order postcards that can be mailed to Gallery Q patrons, left out at the Gallery, given to friends and family, mailed to my mailing list {wha?! I have to have a mailing list?!}.

I also need a bio and a press release for the PR committee to send out for me.

I had expected to make a booklet of all the different art pieces and bios on the artists including what inspires them. Not sure that will be a reality at this point. That is disappointing.

And this coming Wednesday, at my regular BNI meeting, I am the featured 10 minute speaker. That means that I have 10 minutes to educate my BNI colleagues about my business and what sort of referrals I am looking for {how about anyone that has money to spend that likes one-of-a-kind jewelry?}. I planned to share information about my gallery exhibit, complete with those postcards and brochures about the Gallery. That means that I will have to check out some of the artwork so that I can show the inspiration.

I finally got the last of the beads that I had contracted for last week. They came all the way from artist Dora Schubert in Germany. I guess I can cut some slack for that. They did travel halfway around the world for me. And they are some of the most beautifully crafted glass beads I have ever witnessed. And they were not cheap.

I worry that I will not have time to complete all the pieces.

I worry that I will not have enough pieces for each piece of artwork. Because I also worry about what will happen if I sell every single piece at my opening event {I know, that would be a great problem to have, right?} and then there is not one piece of my jewelry left for the exhibit that will last until the end of September. What then?

I am parsing out my art beads to make as many pieces per artwork as possible. Because I also worry that I am walking a fine line between pricing things so that they sell and getting top dollar for them to recoup my investment {and it has been a hefty investment, let me assure you.}
I wanted to have my Etsy shop filled {sorry, not one bloody thing. But you can favorite me if you want! I am not sure how I got somebody to heart me already with out one thing for sale!?} and my website revamped by mid-July. Looks like that ain't gonna happen.

And in addition to my computer freezing, my credit card froze. Seems that the payment that I made online in mid-June didn't actually take on their system. Even though I swear I saw the message that said that my payment had been scheduled. So I was delinquent by 10 days even though I ALWAYS pay my bill on time. I had even written it in my check book at the time that I did it. Either that or I thought that the screen was shown to me saying that I had paid and I really hadn't but yet I still chose to remove that money from my checking account voluntarily. So I just made a double payment to be sure {ouch}. And then I got locked out of my banking online because I did that from a different computer than I was normally using. I am so glad that they are making me safe......um, from myself.
My brakes are grinding. And my other house is Still.Not.Sold {pending offer...but contingent...grrrr}.

I am sure that you would rather see the glamor that my life apparently is {not}. But you would be wrong. It is not shiny and bright. It is not all sunshine and roses. It is not always fun to spin straw into gold, as my favorite Zen Master-in-training, Margot Potter is fond of saying. It is not easy to be uber-creative under duress. Because although this is a fabulous opportunity, and I never shy away from a challenge, it is becoming a tad bit unbearable. And that is making me insufferable. And that cannot be tolerated. {Just ask my very patient, loving husband. And my two kids who never see me unless they want to string beads.}

I feel like a frown has taken up residence on my face. But I am not sure that I can get it to leave. And let's not mention those pesky gray hairs. I hope they will vanish next Tuesday.

So please forgive my rant. And my rave.

So...I have to lift this funk, this haze, this weight from my shoulders. I have to square around, pull my big girl panties up and realize that I am only one. That I can do only that which I can do. And I know that with the right circumstances I can do it quite well.

Because I am making a whole hell of a lot of beautiful jewelry. And just as soon as I can get my camera and my computer to start playing nice with each other I will show you. I promise.

And then maybe I can get my fish bowl in order so that I don't feel as if I am about to burst.

What do you do when the whole world seems hell-bent against you?
Do you turn to chocolate?
Or wine?
Do you watch sappy movies and just cry it out?
Or would you rather put in a comedy and laugh yourself silly?
Where do you turn to when you need instant inspiration?
Tell me about your triumphs this week so that I know that there are others out there having a better week.

And if you would rather tell my your tales of woe, bring 'em on. We can clink glasses of whatever your poison is and commiserate.

Enjoy the day! And have a great weekend!


Silver Parrot said...

Well, I have no triumphs this week thanks to my back (unless you count actually being able to get myself vertical today as a triumph), BUT, can I offer a couple of unsolicited suggestions that popped into my head as I was reading your blog post?

1. Can you grab some other baseball team moms to help you with the picture taking? You could still make the albums, but surely there've got to be some other people with cameras who could pitch in? I know, I know, you wanna do it all yourself like you've always done, but desperate times call for desperate measures!

2. I have a background in PR, Marketing, writing and copy editing. If you want, I'd be happy to take your basic info, and at least DRAFT your bio and press release - then all you need to do is edit. MUCH easier than writing from scratch.

3. You've probably already thought of this, but in making your multiple pieces for each artwork, try to make things in a range of prices. Some less expensive stuff that's guaranteed to sell, some mid-range and some uber-pricey stuff that, if it sells, will be SO AWE$$$$$ome, but also, if it doesn't, will ensure that you have inventory to last through the show.

You are uber-smart so I'm sure you already figured all this out, but that's just what hit me as I was reading through. If there's anything else I can do to help, lemmee know.

We can't have your head exploding with migraines and stress and such!


Jannie Funster said...

I didn't make good on my promise to myself via Tess, Bold Tess, that yesterday I'd videotape me singing a new song I'm writing. But this blog post has made me feel like an okay human being about it! And that I am still worth a lot. And still happy today.

And that tomorrow, and the next hour, and the next second is meant to be.

I am fine NOW.

I have about half my CDs left from my first pressing (well, my only pressing.) :) I will not worry that they will sell out. Or that they won't! They are who they are.

I like Silver Parrot's idea about different price points!

And Erin -- we sound like 2 peas in a pod on looking forward to great photos we'll be taking with wonderfully cooperating equipment.

Wine? Sometimes. Perhaps later. But definitely chicken, coffee and a brownie. Simple pleasures to enjoy.

Money? Similar glitches. :)


Be~Jeweled by Jana said...

Just hang in there, Erin. I don't know why things like computer problems and such always happen when you're the most stressed. But they do. Just take some deep breaths and try to relax. You can only do what you can do. It will be great!

Brandi Hussey said...

What do you do when the whole world seems hell-bent against you?
I moan and whine and curse at nothing. I got all frowny in the face, and I glare at everything because everything offends me. I can't laugh till it's over (or until I've slept), and I know I'm miserable to be around. So..

When I need instant inspiration, I dig down deep. I put on angry music and just let myself be angry for a while. Then, like you, I put my big girl panties on (because by this point, there is no time for a break) and push through it. Failure is not an option, and the show date's already been set - there's no changing it now, so I do whatever I need to do to get it done. I turn into a production machine. I let the little things go (cleaning? cooking? please), and I prioritize like no other. What needs to get done first, second, third? What absolutely HAS to get done and what doesn't? What NEEDS to be at the opening and what doesn't? If I can put something off till after the opening, I will. And it sucks to make a tough decision, like the booklet, but if you don't have time, you don't have time.

KJ's got some excellent points - ask for help from the baseball moms. Ask your husband if he would mind being awesome just a little while longer. Ask the kids to help you address and mail out the postcards. Go online and order the postcards tonight or tomorrow (I recommend overnightprints.com if you're looking for a printer). Take KJ up on her offer to write your press release. And as wonderful as that booklet sounds, it's got to come after your pieces; finish them first, then, if you've got time before the show, write it up and print it out at Kinko's.

You can do it, Erin. Don't worry about blogging - go get it done then come back and tell us all about it!

EmandaJ said...

Hi Erin, I wish I could give you a hand. I think you need to take Kelly up on her offer and her suggestions -- good ideas all. Good luck and hang in there. We're all cheering you one and know you can do this.


Christine said...

Oh my goodness, Erin. I wish I could help you...

But, I can share...

My triumphs:

Sent my packages to publishers.
Sent images to an editor with a query.
I've been consistent with exercising (pretty much).

And I eat when I am stressed, especially chips and chocolate.

Right now, I am drinking a Starbuck's mocha frappuccino and eating a double chocolate brownie. I raise my cup to you and send you all the positive energy I can muster.

You're only one, and you can only do so much.

And you will get done as much as you can, and when the deadline arrives, it will be what it is. And it will be fine.

Nice business cards, by the way.

peacockfairy said...

Hi Erin! Thank you so much for the nice postcard - it was such an unexpected surprise in my hectic week. I know exactally how you feel - we can all feel that way at times. I can not believe that I went from total relaxation during my "staycation" last week, to total chaos this week. Long hours at work, trees falling apart, my husband's Grandma passing away. And just like you, I took on a self imposed project - making shower invites for my soon to be sister-in-law. You hit the nail on the head - us creative minds have wonderful ideas and plans, but things can sometimes add up to be too much when time is running out. You can do it though, and I can't wait to see the work for the exhibit!

SummersStudio said...

Deep, soothing breaths. Nothing lasts forever, especially not the stress you are going through right now. You make incredibly beautiful jewelry. I think you could make beautiful things in your sleep :-). Here's my little triumph. I pretty much sold out in 3 hours on my first studio tour last year. I grabbed more things and they sold as well. But you know, that was stressful as well. I think, when all seems overwhelming, nothing beats chocolate! EAT CHOCOLate. It has wonderful endorphin and serotonin releasing properties. That aside, I wish you the very best in getting through all of the many things you face right now.

stregata said...

I think KJ is on to something there - obviously, only you can make the jewelry, but what about all those other tasks - can someone help you? The computer problem - can your loving husband help?
Let someone else take care of the slideshow this year - or postpone the making until after your deadline. Really - get other people involved in taking the pictures.
Your deadline can't be postponed. And you can't do your best work if you are juggling migraines, other commitments and designing, plus tossing in some postcards, speeches ...
Wishing you some serenity in the midst of this turmoil.
(BTW - I just gave you a heart...)

Alice said...

You've got a lot on your plate! At this point I would say that setting your priorities, asking for help, and learning to say 'no' should be your strategy right now. Being honest and taking a good look at everything you need to do is key here.

Ask yourself what things need to be done now and what things can wait.

Ask yourself what things can be shortened or let go without setting the earth on a different rotation.

Ask yourself where you could use some help and be ready and willing to give up the reigns on some projects.

Take a good look at your processes and see if any can be streamlined or worked from another angle. Ask for help from hubby. Sometimes someone not close to the business can see things differently and offer suggestions.

Can you have your bills set up to be taken out of your account automatically so you don't have to do it yourself and take the chance that it does not go through?

Buy an extra card reader for those times you can't get the photos onto your computer, but need the card space for other photo shoots.

Maybe hire a part time helper (teenager) for mailing, running erands for both the family and for your biz etc.

Get a mini portable recorder or laptop so you can keep up with ideas, writen articles, and to-do lists on the go. Even a small notebook would work.

I struggle most with tring to make quality pieces without forcing the price up and out of range for my customers. I love to use art beads, but many times it just makes the piece to expensive. I try to make jewelry in all price levels, but will probably always struggle in this area.

Get some rest, and take some time out for yourself.

Barbara Lewis said...

Oh, girlfriend, I feel your pain! I have two months until all jewelry is due to the publisher and I don't want to send the jewelry without doing the write up because I'm afraid I'll forget a step.

What I have had to do is to ask my family for help. My husband has taken over all of the office paperwork I used to do. Everyone is chipping in ... if even just to give encouragement.

PRIORITIZE ... the most important thing is to get the jewelry finished! Take some of that to your meeting ... let them imagine the inspiration piece ... you want them to go to the exhibit don't you? Explain what has been going on behind the scenes, the preparation, etc. Don't do anything special but to give them a day in the life of an artist.

So, if you're MIA on etsy, blogging, etc. ... like I have been ... so what. This project has a shelf life ... you can get back to everything else later. Forget everything else and get the jewelry finished! I wish I were there to give you a big hug ... but I'm afraid if I were we would both be crying just from the release of tension. xoxox

Pearl and Pebble said...

Oh wow Erin!!:)Well first, what you can't fix, you can't fix I guess. So try not to stress about the credit card thing too much because it's done and will eventually be back to normal. I know easy for me to say eh? As far as your show inventory-there I have been- can you add at a later date as pieces sell? So just do your best like you always do and what you have for opening night is what you have. A few great pieces are much better that many so-so pieces any day! Can each artist contribute their own bio? And finally I will have a nice pitcher of margaritas with you anytime! It will all work out. It always does doesn't it? :D

Pretty Things said...

LOVE the new business cards!

sasha + max studio said...

Poor Erin - what a time you have been having! At least it sounds like you are sorting through and regrouping.. I too had a pretty rough week at work trying to get a tender package out working 11 hr days and not sleeping too well (am a commercial interior designer so we do lots of technical drawings) with some technology hurdles and some HR issues as I try to anticipate how my new colleagues approach things. Have had no time to bead, and no inspiration to update the blog...Enough of my complaining! I try to tackle rocky issues head on, and when things get really stressful I start dreaming of beading and thinking about my family and cats, and how lucky I am that they put up with me.
To wind down I have a good surf of the internet,catch up on my favourite beady blogs and beading sites.
I hope that the technology gods start smiling on you and that the camera/ computer issues are resolved. Have a good weekend, Vicki

Jenners said...

As Dory says in Fining Nemo, "Just keep swimming." Just do the best you can ... no one can ask for more (not even you). And it certainly isn't worth your health to experience this type of stress about something is supposed to be fun and good.

Stories They Tell said...

OK, you conceived this "baby" and now it's time to birth it!! You can do it! I believe that most of us come up with a big project and then get stage fright at the enormity of our talent and pull in reasons we can't and other obligations to keep us from completion.

Here is what I've found that works:

Go to Plan B. Plan A was to do everything else that needs to get done in your everyday life AND complete the huge, all-encompassing project. Obviously, that ain't gonna happen. So Plan B.

Be responsible. Cancel/reschedule/reassign some obligations. As others have said on this post, Inspired by... has a shelf life-- it has to happen now. But make sure you've communicated with everyone that you need to to make sure that nothing is dropped out. Then there's no guilt later.

Look to your network of help. Ask others for help. VERY IMPORTANT!! It's a gift to others to let them help you. I will say this again. It's a gift to others to let them help you. They love you, they want to help. Let them.

Last but not least: allow yourself to have this moment, to be great, to be a star. You deserve it. You've worked for it. Let yourself have it. Get some rest, be good to yourself. Take a day off (not as crazy as it sounds) to renew and rejuvenate.

You've already taken the first step-- you asked your friends for comments and help.

Jeannie said...

Erin, Erin, Erin, you need a massage from a master, me. How soon can you get here?

I can relate to all of this. Deadlines, BNI, migraines,stress...on and on. If I could help you, I would.

You know it will all work out in the end. You'll make it all happen. I'll send you some good thoughts and energy today with some deep charka breathing.

Love the new business cards and don't forget to breathe.

Beth Hikes said...

Oh my gosh, Erin! Sounds like you have a lot spinning out there. In the past this has been one of my common pitfalls...having lots of ideas, inspiration, direction, things I desire to do and unfortunately inadequate time, energy and resources.

This year I've learned to dump a lot of personal goals and focus on what I'm able to do. Ironically, daily yoga has allowed me to finally give myself permission to do this with more ease. I'm so wiped out by hot yoga that I've stopped caring about the level of my performance.

My way of thinking over the last year is that I give myself three goals for the week and work on one of them a day until accomplished. It forces me to look at what are my top goals and what unessential ideas I have been hoarding and need to let go of. Both painful and liberating all at the same time.

I love Parkinson's Law. This is a new idea for me, so thank you for sharing! Also, this fishy book. I'm going to have to check it out of the library -- it sounds like something I know to well :)

Joann Mannix said...

*Sigh* I understand quite well. It is so hard to manage all we take on, isn't it? And not to diminish anyone else's life, but I think as artists, whether it be visual or through the written word, our work is that much more affected by stress. It is so hard for me to gather up my creative spirits when I feel my life is spinning out from underneath me, which is most days.

I try to remember that no one expects me to be perfect. After all, we're all on this same boat together and I just dive right in and get what I can accomplished when I can. Balance-it will always be a woman's most difficult card trick. And on most days, I falter.

Wine helps. So does laughter and the strength and love of family and friends. A step away, a good dinner out, a sunset to watch, a bubble bath. All helpful. And so is letting it all out in your blog.

Good luck, my friend. Keep fighting the good fight and know you are doing the very best you can. That is all that matters.


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