Sometimes I have a lot to say about life and I start to compose a Facebook post and I stop myself and go, "Wait. This needs to be a blog post."
This is one of those times. :)
I was just on Instagram and I saw someone's lovely work for some lovely company like Simple Stories or American Crafts and all at once I kind of couldn't breathe and I said in my head,
"Thank GOD I'm not on a design team!"
It surprised me that I felt so strongly about it but it just hit me like that and I realized, I need to say that sentence out loud, in public so I won't ever go back on that feeling. I have decided I could just never, ever, ever cope with being on a design team. This will come as no surprise to those of you who listen to Live Inspired but I've been asking myself recently why I'm so against it for myself. (Since the standard "get your name out there" move in my industry is definitely to be on a well-known design team.)
After much contemplation, here are the reasons why I could never be on a design team:
1) I am not a multi-tasker. I used to multi-task. Maybe I multi-tasked until I fried my brain but now, I simply cannot multi-task. I must focus on one task or project at a time and work on it until it is done. I also must give myself more time than I think it will take because I am easily distracted by the shiny glint of the internet or a sunny day with blue skies and white fluffy clouds. Now that I work for myself, I primarily focus on creating classes. If I had a design team assignment, it is very possible that I could be in the middle of creating a class and have to stop, switch gears, make a layout with a totally different theme or topic, photograph it, write a blog post about it and send it in before returning to my work. I just couldn't do it. I get in a groove and rhythm that works for me. Today I made two class videos and by the end of the second one, I was cookin' with grease (as we say here in the South). When I'm in class creation mode, I think, eat, breathe and sleep the topic until the class is done. I barely do laundry and dishes, let alone make a product-driven layout for another purpose.
2) I don't work well on someone else's timeline. If someone says to me, "How long do you think this will take you?" I always feel nervous. When it comes to creativity, I don't really know sometimes how long things will take me. Sometimes I can whip a layout out in one hour and last Tuesday I spent 12 hours making two layouts. I hadn't created anything in 6 weeks and I had to get back on track and find my mojo. It was okay because I had given myself the time but if there had been any kind of pressure, I would have probably sat on the couch and watched Andy Griffith and lived in the land of perfectionist procrastination because that's my home away from home when I feel pressured. No, I have to be the one steering my own ship.
3) I want the things I create to be of my own choosing. I don't want any parameters or guidelines unless I create them for myself. That's why the sketch class I do with Crafty Jen Schow works so well for me. We work on 15 sketches and then what I create with them is entirely up to me. I can use any picture, any story, any technique or product and say as much or as little about them as I'd like. She trusts me explicitly to be a good teacher and designer and I feel the same way about her. Because of that, it's a totally enjoyable experience to work on the class. If my favorite product manufacturer said, "Here are some of your favorite products. Now make us a page by Wednesday about family, using them all." my head would spin off. I just don't operate that way. I go, "Wait, what?" I have a long list of classes I'm creating this year and some of them are with other people but I will be the one in control of the time frame and ideas. That's just the way I'm wired. I like to be the boss I guess. ha!
4) I don't want to be compared with other high profile designers that are on design teams. I am pretty good about not comparing my work to other people's and being happy with what I make. I think if I were on a design team with super talented people, when it came time to create, I would feel the pressure of living up to being chosen for that team. I would live in fear of being good enough to cut it. I know me. I am a perfectionist with a capital P. I hold myself to a very high standard and everything I do, I try to do well. So if I felt that my layouts weren't up to par, design wise, with everyone else's, that would shake my confidence. I am such a fan of so many designers who put themselves out there. I know myself enough to know my work beside theirs would mess with me. I care less about what my critics say and more about what I think of myself so it's not that I would be worried about being judged by others. I just feel that it's an added pressure that would be a part of my creative process and it would affect the way I feel about memory keeping and my creative time. I would be setting myself up for failure and I've learned lately how to avoid doing that by making good life choices.
5) The payoff (product) wouldn't be worth the investment (time) to me. I know many people truly enjoy receiving boatloads of product they'd probably be buying anyway. Not me. Too much product actually overwhelms me. I don't like a lot of anything in my house: it starts to feel chaotic. I am a slow scrapper so I can just imagine all that product piling up and the guilt I would feel for not using it quickly enough. It would be hard to let go of and hard to keep. Also, there is only so much time in the day that I can spend being crafty. I don't want any part of that time to be spent doing something just so I can get free stuff. I just don't. I'd rather pick and choose what I want and then order it. I am perfectly happy sharing my work primarily in my classes for the people who like me enough to support what I'm doing here in Tracie-land. :) I know many people participate in design teams because it's a great feeling to receive a lot of positive feedback about your work but I am blessed enough by the kindness of others on a daily basis that my cup runneth over in that department. It's great to get praise on something you create for fun or for free but it's a beyond wonderful feeling to work hard on a class and then receive praise. I know because the testimonials I've received on my classes have been the highlight of my creative career. It makes all the time I work for free (on podcasts) and the time I work on my classes totally worth it!
These are the main reasons I've never applied to be on a design team and never will. It really boils down to creating parameters for my creativity that allow me to enjoy my life. I think the older I get, the more I realize how I want my life to look. Time is truly my greatest asset so I must spend it wisely. I also know my own strengths and weaknesses and that's why I am able to make the list above and share it without reservation. It's okay that I don't want to be on a design team. Honestly, sometimes I do consider it but I am writing this post to remind me of why it wouldn't work for my life. I recently quit the Write.Click.Scrapbook team for many of these reasons. I love those girls to pieces but I just couldn't make the necessary commitment to them that was requested while I'm creating so many classes. I think if I weren't in "build a business" mode, I might feel differently on this topic. I am open to guest blog posts and have one coming up that's exciting but I can fit that in every once in a while and on my timetable. :)
So having said ALL THAT....it makes me even more thankful to all the lovely ladies who take so much time to inspire me every single day! I hope that by listening to Live Inspired, the creative community is getting a glimpse into the amazing amount of time it takes to inspire others on a regular basis and I hope that glimpse cultivates an attitude of gratitude for our favorite designers. If you're reading and you're on a design team, bravo and thank you! I'm sure you have your own very valid reasons for investing your time into the creative community and I admire you for it.
I celebrated a major milestone yesterday. Live Inspired hit 100K+ downloads. In just 20 weeks and one day, 101,400 listeners enjoyed the shows. The moments I've spent taping the shows have been some of my favorite moments of my life. I sit there with my headphones on, mic in front of me, thinking, "I am a lucky girl." So thanks to all of you who have listened and continue to support me with your kindness. You are all so very lovely. I have grown to truly love so many of my listeners that I interact with online. XO!