next?

Do you ever go all day with post ideas or to do’s or creative projects all brewing in your mind.  Little quips, or adjustments or dreams lining themselves up in your brain.  And then the noise and demands stop, you have the time to do, to unload, to create…

and nothing.

blank.

crickets.

“What am I sitting down to do right now?”

Is this just me?

SOOO frustrating.  I don’t wish it on anyone.

When the hard deadlines and demands are all met and I am faced with 5/20/maybe even 60 minutes… I get lost.  And then the time disappears.

I am sort of there right now with Seven Layer Designs.  I had a very successfully productive week last week and now… I don’t know where to go next.   I am learning, that for me to work from home where laundry and dishes are unending,  it is best to have a plan of exactly what to do, so when those minutes make themselves available, there is no wondering, there is only “next.”  This is not necessarily my nature… but it is more of a necessity.

Maybe if I dump a little here, I will start to get some clarity, a game plan for what to do next???  You might get bored and that’s ok, no hard feelings.  Kuddos if you make it to the end… maybe you can relate.  We always feel better when we see others struggle… what is that all about anyway… ok back to the venting….

I mean, I have my to do lists all made with my plans of what I want(ed) to accomplish this Fall (I mean SERIOUSLY where did September go.  I was so surprised to wake up Monday morning and realize that it is no longer the end of summer, but now well into the Fall.  Woops)

So , my plan for this fall was to (1)get a bunch of invitation designs together, and again, I was feeling so inspired months ago, and now that it is time, feeling blah about them.  (2) Get my website redesigned and up and running.  Totally intimidated to start, cause I know what’s in store… sooo much time and editing and yada yada.  This is not my strength… but I’m ballin’ on a budget.  and what else… oh yeah (3) get Etsy back in action and (4) maybe do some marketing/advertising/small investing type of things.

So of course, under each of these headings are many, many tasks… all of varying sizes.

It feels like I should get onto the invitation designs next.  All of the other stuff is not so helpful without the new product line to be displayed and hopefully sold.

Things I know:  It is hard for me to do designing when I don’t have open ended time frame… or at least an hour or 2 free from distraction.  So this means, weekends,or maybe if the stars align for both kids to be napping (though this is TERRIBLY hard to plan for at this stage in the game), or maybe take Saida to Amanda’s but again Camille is fairly unpredictable.  Basically, I find it very difficult to plan creative time.  Once I have the designs fairly well laid out, then implementing them can easily be done in the here and there minutes.  So there… It seems like I need to plan in some good design time to get a start and then the rest can happen in the inbetweens.

This is sort of the same for the website.  Once I get on and familiarize myself with the site and get started the filling in stuff should be easy to do on the fly.

For Etsy, I just have to polish up some things in my info and appearance and my listings.  I have some additional listing to do and I have to start playing around with the milieu of ideas they offer for getting your shop noticed.

So I know what I need to do… I just can’t start.

And as soon as I think I know where to start, then I remember all the things I want to make for Christmas presents, and the projects I want to do for our house and the pictures that STILL need organizing and uploading and photo albuming and all the rest.  And I’m confused.

And then I start to scream.

and then a baby starts to scream

and I think, tomorrow.

Tomorrow.

That did help.  Thanks for listening.

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blogging insights to share

Here are some great posts I have read over the last week that contain some more lovely advice on blogging.  I couldn’t resist sharing.  Hope you find them as helpful as I did.

Martawrites has another installment of her 5 tips, this time, on getting personal.

And over at a beautiful mess, emma and elsie are sharing some project fails and how they stay positive despite them.

I finally have my camera back, so I will be back soon with some original posts!  Until then, enjoy!

 

Still in Process: Some blog-clusions

As I have mulled over what this blog is to me and what I want it to be to you, I have come to some, and I use the word loosely, conclusions… still feeling very much in process with all of this.  This post is following-up from this one, if you missed it.

1.  It dawned on me that I am focusing too much on my dream blog and not so much on my own blog.  While it is good to have goals, and dreams, and aim for what you want, this can also give me tunnel vision.   Tunnel vision that makes it impossible to really be where I am planted, and in the end, never really experience what  I am doing or give myself the opportunity to grow to where I want to be…or rather, am meant to be.

2. In the quest for an “expanded audience,” new clients and contacts, I had lost sight of those who are reading, those friends who I know from “off-the-blog”, who are faithful readers and also bloggers themselves.  Why have I been so focused on reaching an “out-there-in-the-blogosphere-audience,” rather than authentically communicating with the audience I already have and letting the rest fall into place?  I have noticed that a wonderful way to do this is to read and comment on others blogs.  As I have started doing this more over the last couple weeks, I have already found this to be a huge piece of the blogging puzzle that I was missing.

3. The “am i blogging for myself or blogging for my audience” question hit me with a little more clarity.   If this blog is going to be fun and interesting to others, it will need to be fun and interesting for me. I need to focus on blogging for myself and not trying to reach an audience.

So… what are the “me” reasons to blog??

  • for the creative outlet
  • for a place share my stay-at-home world of mothering and nesting and domesticating which makes it feel more concrete and connected to the world outside of the small spaces I travel in a days time.  (And this helps me stay sane sometimes)
  • for a place to connect with potential clients and fellow biz-ladies
  • for a place to feel like I am sharing what I am learning about the world of small business, home life and balancing the two.
  • for a place to showcase my creations as well as inspirations from the web.
  • for a place to call my own.

3. But… if this is out there for others to read, isn’t it really about communicating with and drawing new clients?  Yes, that is my end goal.  I am not going to lie.  But I am realizing that, for me, it has to be an indirect goal – not the driving force.  If it comes, it comes.  If not, back to the drawing board.  Before I can start marketing and trying to draw clients to my blog, I have to create a space that people want to be in.  And since I don’t usually want to be around people that are focusing on trying to win my attention by being something they are not, I figure other people probably aren’t interested in that either.   Whether it came out that way or not, I have, at times, been more focused on my blog looking like and becoming a ranked and awarded blog with over 1k followers (a place I may, but most likely will never reach).  If I just want to be around people who are real, authentic and maybe a little bit like me, then maybe I should be that way in my blog. (A-DUH!!)  I can do better at accomplishing success in my blog and business and life by standing back and looking at the big picture, rather than trying to focus so hard on where I want to be (or worse, where others are) that I loose sight of that which is already around me. 

So… what do I want for my blog to be to other people?  Or better, what do I hope to provide for my audience

  • a place to feel welcomed, and supported in what they are doing… specifically in the area of momming, domesticating and small biz from homing
  • a place to be inspired… especially by the beauty of paper and it’s many uses, qualities and old timey charm
  • a place to learn… well more likely to catch a glimpse of the highs and lows of attempting to build a small business at a very slow pace with a very small budget and small people pulling at your pant leg.
  • a place to find tips and support and resources for hand crafting a wedding or event on a small budget, no matter what your DIY skill level.  ( A longer term goal)
  • and primarily for my friends and family… a place to hear about the goings-on at Chalet Gustafson

Bottom Line, this will be my creed: My blog is going to be a place where I come to share, encourage, inspire, and connect.  I promise to be authentically me, and resist the urge to be envious of others success.  I will be true to myself and my goals without comparing or developing “how-do-I-get-my-business-and-blog-to-be-like-that” tunnel vision, all the while enjoying the day-to-day moments, success and lessons.  As I grow in the comfort and process with blogging, I do hope that I can use this as a tool to expand my business.

The End….

{for now}

on blogging

This post has been rolling around in my head for a while now.  I have mentioned that I am taking some time to focus on blogging as I work on setting up a new website and blog.  I am reading through Blog and Business Workshop Workbook that I found over at Marta Writes.  She, well, rather her blog has quickly become my personal blog coach.

When thinking about the purpose of my blog, I have been going back and forth since I have started writing.  When I started blogging, I called it At Home and was blogging about stay-at-home mommy stuff.  When I started Seven Layer Designs, I decided to focus more on business and blogging and keep the personal stories, except those that related to being a small biz owner and all that comes with it, off of the blog.

My reasoning varies from moment to moment.

Before I go into it, I have to apologize in advance for any potential offending that may occur.  Many of those who read this blog, blog themselves, and I just want to say that I am in NO NO NO way referring to any specific blog or style of writing, these are just my own thoughts on what I want my blog to be about.  How am I contributing to this wonderful community and why should people spend their precious time reading?  I love reading blogs of all shapes and sizes some are all biz tips, some are all mommy life, some are paper and inspirations, and I love them all.

First there is the issue of blogging jealousy.  Sometimes I read blogs of seemingly perfect women, being perfect moms, stellar wives,  running amazing businesses, looking hip, cooking and baking and decorating like a champion and I end up feeling so inept.  Like my life is a mess.  This is my own issue, I know,  but at the same time, I found myself not wanting to contribute to other people feeling inept.  I didn’t want to start down a road of trying to paint a picture perfect portrayal of my life.  Trying to seem like I have it all together, cataloging all the perfect moments from my life and living to find bloggable moments.  Again, I qualify, these are my issues, I am not trying to suggest that other women do this.  I did read this post on blogging  jealousy (guess where I found it?!?!), and I found some encouragement there.  As I start to think of blogging as interacting with a community of like-minded people, it makes more sense to me to write about the day-to-day stuff,  but on the whole, I am still feeling unsettled on the topic.

A second issue I mull over, is when I don’t get personal enough, I think it can get boring to read… and write.  Some of my favorite posts were written over on At Home, like this one and this one.  And they had nothing to do with Seven Layer Designs.  Plus, I really like looking back through it and remembering what was happening at different times.  I think that focusing solely on the business, takes some of my passion away.  Blogging used to be like a home away from home.  Like I was so excited to sit down and share.  But when it became solely about business, it somehow became more of a chore, and adding in the personal information when it was necessary for context, just felt awkward.  This is not how it should be.  Blogging should be like a cozy, comfy place.  Like a cup of coffee and a fresh journal.

So is that it, is it just a journal…for narcissists??  There has to be some reason to do it for all to read, right.  Something to say?  Is it just to find a connection?  I have a difficult time answering the question, ‘Am I blogging for myself or for my audience.’  I feel like authenticity demands the former, but why am I putting my thoughts on the out in the blog-o-sphere if it is not for the latter?

And why do I love it so?

So I feel like I am constantly looking for that middle ground.

No fancy conclusions here… hopefully I will continue to find more clarity as I read and write on the topic.

What about you?  If you are a blogger, what do you want your purpose to be in blogging?  And for the readers, what keeps you lingering? what brings you back?  What topics interests you when you are reading a blog?  I would love to hear from you!