|Dawn at Great Massingham, Norfolk|
Towards the end of each year I’m inclined to look back and review the progress of the plans I set out with at the start of the year.
For the past four years, I always seem to have been disappointed at the way things have gone, mostly as a result of things outside of my control, such as the ‘Economic Downturn’. But I pick myself up and start afresh with enthusiasm, in the hope that the new year will bring better things!
Each year, though, it seems to get that little bit harder and this year is no exception. Having really enjoyed my first year or so of designing cards and selling them through Greeting Card Universe, things began to change about half way through this second year, with the introduction of the 30% tax withholding and then the ‘cull’ of cards that don’t reach GCU’s rather arbitrary ‘marketability standards’.
My response to this has been to spend my time and efforts over a wider spread of outlets, such as CardGnome and SendaSmile. And I’ve already started putting more time into creating products on Zazzle with some encouraging results.
I’m also looking into the idea of setting up a new Zazzle store for greeting cards in the Welsh Language. All exciting stuff! But I can’t help wondering how it will all have panned out by this time next year and my enthusiasm is tempered with a smidgen of wariness.
But last week, a friend sent me this quote, from T. S. Eliot, we think:
'If that is what you wish
I can reconcile you to the human condition
Learn to avoid excessive expectation
Become tolerant . . .
There is another way, if you have the courage
This way is unknown and so requires faith
The kind of faith that issues from despair
You will journey blind' . . .
So should I maybe lower my expectations? That might be a solution to avoiding disappointment when it comes to the end of the year.
But actually, I know I’m not that sort of person! So I probably have to take the ‘other way’, the way that is ‘unknown and so requires faith’.
I don’t much like the idea of having to ‘journey blind’ – I do like to have a plan, a chart of my way forward, a tick-list even, to mark my progress!
But isn’t that ‘journeying blind’, that gathering up of all the faith we can muster, isn’t that often the way that we have to approach any of our creative endeavours? It certainly is the way I produce my best artwork.
So I’ll give it my best shot – and post some of the results here in the weeks and months to come, in the hope that it will give encouragement to anyone else who may be feeling a bit lost in the fog or mired down in the trials and tribulations of trying to make a living from their art in these difficult times!
And in the hope that the very act of committing myself to posting more artwork here will encourage me to get on with it!!!!
Happy New Year, everyone, and I hope that, in spite of the gloomy economic outlook, we’ll end the year with the satisfaction of having been creatively productive, even if our finances remain rather uncertain, as they probably will!