During the last few months I’ve had a lot on my mind. Most of the “things” seem pretty big, and I’ve been frustrated as I can’t seem to find my way through them. This all sounds very dramatic, but it isn’t really. I have probably made it more stressful through my usual way of needing to find a solution RIGHT NOW and wanting to get cracking. This has always been one of my short comings, not having the patience to just let things unfold as they should.
It’s no secret that I’ve been wanting to find a way to turn my love for fibre, wool, knitting and fibre crafts into a business. What that business should be, I have never been sure of. I’d love a shop. I help a friend out from time to time and enjoy the work. I’d like to be a better writer and have articles featured in magazines and on websites. I’d be happy to be a “go-to” person for fibre-based businesses needing extra help with their brand marketing and social media management. It would be a real adventure to set up an artistic retreat “space” where fibre goodness, wool schools, water colour weeks and other classes can coexist with a shop, a tea room and a glamping site. Easy peasy!
So why do none of these ideas really take over my entire day? Why do I not have the oomph, drive or determination to make it happen? I’ve worked out business plans in one shape or form. Some are more detailed than others. I’ve looked at premises. I’ve researched other people doing similar things. I’ve done the analysis, measured the risks and worked out costs.
But something is not catching that spark and turning into my burning ambition. Still I get drawn back round to the same thing every time. I love doing these things for myself, but is it really the same when it becomes your career and essential for your monthly earnings?
I had an interesting conversation with an LYS owner a few weeks ago. She said that knitting and wool used to be her passion, but as her business has become more established, she doesn’t get the same benefits from it as she used to. Her knitting time is hugely reduced. In fact when she does have the time, she doesn’t actually want to sit down of an evening and pick up a project, as it is all “work”. Her old hobby now has pound signs in front of it, and everything she does links back to the success or failure of her business, not the pleasure she got from just sitting with a group of like minded people for a few hours stitching.
In a fortunate stroke of serendipity, I listened to VeryPink podcast episode 113 earlier today which reinforced this very subject. On the podcast is an interview with an American journalist Brigid Schulte about her new book “Overwhelmed: Work, Love and Play When No One Has the Time”. It is only a short interview but it just felt to be the right amount of information I needed to remind me that I should let go of the outcome. Why is there pressure to turn your passion into a career? Why can’t you just have a job, and have a passion? They don’t have to be the same thing, do they? Why do we feel the need to monetise what we enjoy?
I know there is a lot to be said for not going to work every day in a soul destroying environment, and on the flip side how many times are we told “if you have a job you love you never work a day in your life”. But is that really true, or realistic?
I find myself asking if what I am looking for is actually something that will allow me to indulge in my passion in a more fulfilling or different way. This might actually mean going back to my “old” career and earning the salary that supports attendance at a fibre-arts retreat, Shetland Wool Week, or even a trip to Rhinebeck. What about the disposable income to enhance my already ridiculous stash? Then knitting and fibre-arts become my down-time pleasure, my mindfulness during a commute, or my weekend relaxation, guilt free.
So as you can see, none of this is life and death decision making. My health has improved so much that I am desperate to get back to “something” but I’m putting myself under a lot of pressure for that something to be fibre based. I’m not sure I need to be giving myself sleepless nights over monetising my passion and making it my career, and in doing so losing sight of all the benefits I gain from it remaining my hobby.
So for the rest of the week at least, I am letting go of these internal wranglings and any possible outcomes. Wish me luck!