Hello all you lovely makers, and happy (belated) new year from me to you! Kelly here, back with 2017's first Question of the Week.
There's nothing like the first day of a new year to get you pondering about your journey over the last 365 days. What you did right, what you did wrong, what you wish you had done differently and what you'll continue to do because hey, it worked great!
As we immerse ourselves in this state of reflection, figuring out our next moves, what is one lesson we can say we learned as a maker in 2016?
Now, as we've discussed before, being a maker requires us to stay in a constant state of transition, growth, and learning. We often find ourselves up against new challenges, and have to adapt to unfamiliar and sometimes unexpected (even unfortunate) situations.
I can't count how many lessons I learned last year, and that's not just because math isn't my strongsuit. But, if I had to choose one lesson to narrow in on, it would be this: It's OK to say no, and sometimes it's just necessary.
Saying no doesn't come naturally to me. I'm a people pleaser, and live in fear of letting other people down. You want me to make you a hat? In two days? During Christmas rush? For your adorable tiny human's tiny adorable cold head? Well, I really shouldn't take on another project...oh, it's supposed to snow this week? Well...
Yeah, you see where I'm going with this. Guilt is that unwanted, uninvited guest that always seems to show up despite my efforts to deny entry into my maker brain. That need to please, to stay as far away from dissappointing someone as humanly possible? It's exhausting, and sometimes you have to draw the line. Put your foot down. Stand your ground....(but their tiny cold head?!).
What I've learned is, even if you do manage to fill every possible order that comes your way, accept every offer, take advantage of every opportunity, biting off more than you can chew has several consquences. For example...
1) Your mental health. Hello lack of sleep, heightened stress, rising misery. Is risking your emotional well being really worth it? No, it's not. Sure, that mom may be a little disappointed you don't have the time or energy to make her child a hat. But guess what, I bet you know a dozen other makers you could refer her to. She gets her hat, you get to keep your sanity for one more day.
2) The quality of your work. Sure you're juggling 17 projects like a champ, but is each one of those getting the attention to detail it deserves? Are you able to put in the time, the energy, the passion into all of them at the level of quality you would normally strive for? Looking back, did you give your all to the lot? Or just to the first eight while the last nine start down the spiraling quality vortex of "OK I just need to get this horrible hat done so I can sleep...")?
Last year, I sacrificed my emotional well being and the quality of my work because I was afraid to say no. I was worried I was missing opportunities that would never come along again. I was scared I would disappoint people and lose customers. I took on too much for the place I was at personally and professionally, and by the time I was desperate enough to say no, I was already a hot maker mess. What I did learn though, is even when I started saying no, the world (gasp!) didn't stop turning. Who knew?
Let's take a look at the lessons learned by Drew of @knitpossible, Ashley of
@toastytribehandmade, Chrissy of @chrissy6877, and Samantha of @sohookedbysam.
What is one lesson you learned as a maker in 2016?
What is one lesson you learned in 2016?
Tell us in the comments below or share it with us by emailing 'MY OML QOTW' to
email@example.com. Remember to tag your #ourmakerlife photos with us on Instagram so we can see your beautiful and inspirational handmade!
Kelly, OML dream team
Kelly is the mind, body and soul behind @knitbrooks: handmade modern knitwear inspired by nature’s endless beauty. After completing a photojournalism program, Kelly used both knitting and crocheting as a way to relax after a long day working as a reporter/photographer. This hobby has since transformed into a way to combine her love of creating fashionable knitwear, with her passion for photography, a cozy lifestyle, and her awe and admiration of the untouched wilderness.