Monday, February 19, 2007

groovy contemplation



I've felt loopy, which is why I haven't posted. I'm fighting cold #3 of the season, which leads me to think that either a) there are a lot of bad viruses this year or b) my immune system's stressed or c) both.

I'm staring into space, which might be because of cold medicine. It also might be because I'm at a crossroads. The latest small snowstorm slowed life down and provided us with ample time to look out the window, take snowy walks, and enjoy the winter weather.



Part of my contemplation is this. I've now been freelancing as a writer and designer longer than I've done any other single job in my adult life. In some ways, it's been a success and gives me lots of pleasure--my recent grant from the Arts Council, for instance, or finding out that the yarn museum posted my latest silk skein online in their Anything Goes Gallery . (scroll to the right, you'll see my Kool-Aid silk there)

In other ways, it's been a struggle, even as I've had more articles and designs published. I've recently discussed some of this with Lynae as I've tried to sort things out. I'm a stickler for having patterns edited, for working with editors to do final, detailed readings of my patterns, even if the editors sometimes resent this. Yet, designing is not a lucrative--or even financially viable--field if you want to pay your bills. In my efforts to market my patterns without traditional publishing, I've tried some self-publishing on my website. While that's been rewarding creatively, it also hasn't been a huge success. For instance, I've only sold two Heart's Ease sock patterns. Since there are fees associated with selling via paypal, etc., I've made $7.16 off that design. It means that it's a labor of love, but not a living. I depend on article and photo sales for actual income...and it's not much.

I've been thinking about this, especially because I had one dependable ongoing university freelance job terminated, out of the blue, last week, without explanation. I suspect it's because they've run out of funds, but as a freelancer, no one owes me any more information.
What are my new goals? Where should I go next? What is my next big challenge? What's next on the horizon?

Sally the dog reminds me of creative joy whenever we mention "dinner" or a "walk". Here she is, doing her groovy dance of excitement, accompanied by urgent staccato barks, while the professor fixes her dinner.


I still feel this way, ready to bark and dance, about the creative aspects of what I do. Knitting for a few hours gives me a reassurance, a meditative bliss, and I'm captivated by the milky-tea light of the night sky before a good snowstorm. I want my "creative" snowstorm to be one that brings much needed water for the next growing season, peace, and beauty to the landscape. I don't want it to flood the basement and in the end, cost me money rather than bring me abundance. It's no wonder I'm pausing at the crossroads. In a big enough storm, one could get lost.

8 Comments:

Blogger Denise said...

I'm sorry you've been ill, Joanne, I hope you're feeling better soon. I believe the virii this year have been exceptionally nasty, but I may be biased due to personal experience this year!

I don't have any real advice about the career direction. I know that you are very thoughtful and will come to good decision.

February 19, 2007 at 1:10 PM  
Anonymous marti said...

what a heartfulled post. it is so hard to know how to fulfill all the muses. i echo your thoughts on the park fiasco, it is so hard letting my bratlings learn to fly and there are so many uncontrollable factors that are truly frightening. i am thankful for my blogging world and greatful that you are a part of it.

February 19, 2007 at 2:08 PM  
Blogger e's knitting and spinning blog said...

Good luck Joanne. I agree with Denise. You seem to know yourself and what works for you. I think in the end you will find a new path. I'll be thinking of you while you find your way:-)

February 19, 2007 at 7:05 PM  
Blogger June said...

Hope you are feeling more "Springy" soon, Joanne! It's just around the corner and yes, the dogs are being leashed while we go out now, to eliminate some of the mud!
Hopefully, you will find the path that makes you happiest. I know this is a very over used saying, but I believe it: "everything happens for a purpose" we may not know right now, but we will in time -

February 19, 2007 at 7:15 PM  
Blogger sarah said...

I've been at similar-but-different crossroads at least twice. Once when we emigrated to the UK and again when we moved to our current home. Each time I was forced to leave what I'd been doing and find some other way of earning a living without having any idea what that 'other way' might be. You have what may be an advantage or a disadvantage: you know what you enjoy. So... can you find other ways to do what you know and enjoy? Can you teach knitting and spinning design, or self-publish books about it? If selling via your website isn't working, are there other alternatives? How long did others take to establish their online businesses?
Alternatively, be watchful. It may be that the opportunity to do something completely different will saunter across your path, waiting to be recognised.
They're both hard roads, though. After a decade of making a living from what I enjoyed, I no longer enjoy it. It's work. You'll not catch me doing fibre stuff for profit... unless that's the road I take at the next crossroad.

February 20, 2007 at 3:31 AM  
Blogger annmarie said...

being at my own crossroads, I felt your words in this post very deeply. sending lots of positive thoughts your way.

February 20, 2007 at 12:27 PM  
Anonymous Lynae said...

I already feel like I said enough. (uh oh)

I took a class at my favorite LYS -luckily, there are more than one LYS close to me. I was talking with the owner and told her of my problem with that pattern. She rolled her eyes and said that it was a common problem - mostly just small details left out, like everyone would know what to do.

I think I mentioned that my boss used to be a publisher. I plan on talking to him one of these days, not only about this, but also about the seemingly large number of fabulous out of print knitting books that are selling for amazing amounts on e-bay. It will be interesting to hear his take on this whole thing.

I am sorry to hear about the loss of your freelance job. I hate when stuff like that happens.

February 20, 2007 at 7:05 PM  
Anonymous Jan Clark said...

Great dyeing and spinning on your silk, Joanne! Any plans for it?

Do artists ever take a sabbatical to change venues and restoke the creative fires and replenish their professional energy like professors do?

February 21, 2007 at 10:04 PM  

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