Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Highs and The Lows

Over the past few weeks, I've been chatting with some crafters -- jewelry designers, bead makers, knitters, painters, quilters -- who have either hit some serious crafter's blocks or have fallen into the abyss of "what's the point".


I know this feeling OH so well.

Moving along in life oh so slowly.

If you've been reading my blog for a while, you've read a few posts where I've discussed this issue, and the responses have been overwhelmingly the same -- everyone, at some point in their career, no matter WHAT their career IS, has felt this way. It just becomes extremely painful when we look around and see others seemingly effortlessly make their way while we, in our minds, plod along on a treadmill to no where.


We hate that treadmill.


Here's my thought.


EVERYONE, even the famous ones, the exalted ones, the ones who seem to get all the attention and accolades, the ones who seem to reach the stars and be able to do anything they want with impunity -- they have lows, too.  We just seem to think their highs come so closely together they never feel the crushing blow of a fall, because the ladder to the next high is in plain sight.

source

Let's think about that for a minute.


Whether we're talking about the person next door with the perfect yard and perfect kids and perfect body and perfect husband, or just a trip through Blog Land, seeing the multiple talents and personalities -- really, folks, it's all surface. It's all what we SEE. We're only seeing skin deep. Some people's gifts are on the surface.  Some people's gifts are deep inside.


There is absolutely nothing wrong with feeling the blues and feeling left behind, or less talented, or just not whatever it is you're striving to be. But there's a key word in that sentence. Can you guess what it is?


STRIVING.
via Pinterest


After you've sat back for a while, doing other things to give yourself a break, write that word down -- STRIVING. Paint it, draw it, print it out in pretty font, but write it out and tape it everywhere you work. All you can do is strive to be the best you can be.


No matter what your craft, if you want to become better, sign up for a class, buy a book, and schedule a couple extra hours per week to practice. Don't have that much time in a week? Then make it a couple extra hours a month. But write it on the calendar just like you would a doctor's appointment, and don't miss it.


And an easy one? Quit reading the very blogs that make you feel inferior. Just stop.

via Pinterest


And lastly, I want you to be proud of what you do, and realize that not everyone in the world can do it!  Wear your jewelry -- you'll get compliments.  Hang your art on the wall -- people will be amazed you did it!  Lay your quilt across the back of your sofa -- people will want to curl up in it.


STRIVE.  Own it.  And hey look -- there's a ladder. 

Via Pinterest






Lori Anderson creates jewelry for her web site, Lori Anderson Designs, and wrote the blog An Artist's Year Off.  She's also a contributor to Art Bead Scene.  She is also the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party. 

57 comments:

  1. Wonderful post Lori, you really are amazing. And you are spot on with your observations and suggestions. Thanks for making me realize, it's not just ME that feels this way sometimes.

    Namaste.

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  2. Thanks Lori, this couldn't have come at a better time. :)

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  3. Brilliant post! Thank You.

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  4. Great post honey ! I hope you have a fabulous day! kori xoxo

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  5. This is lovely, Lori, and SO TRUE.

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  6. Wonderful advice as always Lori, thank you for opening up your heart and giving us all positive feedback. It seems to be human nature that we always compare ourselves to others and not look within.

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  7. I kinda needed this right now. Thanks :)

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  8. Great post Lori! I need to be reminded of these concepts all the time :) And I think it means a lot coming from you...whom I think of as one of the "Rockstars of Beady Bloglandia". Warm wishes to you today!

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  9. Yes, yes, and more yes! I so needed this today! Thanks for helping me to prop up that ladder again.... I am STRIVING! Thank you Lori!

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  10. my guess is "the exalted ones" feel the "crushing blow of a fall" too, they just don't publicize it. everyone processes their "lows" in different ways, some just do it privately. i think the lows are to be expected from time to time (you can't run full speed 24/7, 365 days a year), and when you hit the wall, perhaps it's time to give yourself permission to set it all aside for a while. even though it might not always feel like it, we are each more than our art.

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  11. wonderful post! thank you!

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  12. Fantastic post Lori - you always have a knack of inspiring me! Thanks!!

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  14. Thank you Lori, I needed this today. Just found out that my next show consists of half the vendors selling/designing jewelry & I'm afraid I'll just be "lost at sea" among them, and customers won't understand that most of my pieces take hours to complete!

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  15. Thanks for the inspiration. I definitely feel like that turtle sometimes.

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  16. It's weird... technically reading your blog should make me feel inferior, because in 100 years I will not reach your artistic... mojo? :) But unlike others, you have this way of making people feel good. Like everybody could achieve what you have achieved- if everybody was willing to put in the same amount of backbreaking work you put in. Not many others mention THAT side of success! Thanks for everything, Lori. If I can't bead like you, I can at least try and BE a little like you!

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  17. LisbonLioness -- I feel the same crush of inferiority, all. the. time. I have come to think that most people who do, do so because they set their sights or standards so high. There's nothing WRONG with that -- it's just in how you get there.

    I used to work out in the world in high tech and hated seeing people get ahead by stepping on each other. I much preferred the system of gaining merit via ribbons and medals while I was in the Air Force -- those were hard to fake your way into.

    And setting your sights high -- just make sure they are YOUR wishes you're aiming for, and not because of someone else.

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  18. Thanks, Lori ... love your words and also that image of the pastel ladders! Hope you're feeling good!

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  19. Beautifully written. We all need a reminder of this every once in a while, and the fact that you're able to remind yourself of this and then share it with others rather than continuing to search for the words is truly amazing.
    Maybe you should become a writer =]

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  20. Thank you so much for that post - you have no idea how much I needed that today. After I stopped crying, I put "striving" stickies over everything!!!

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  21. Needed this. Well said. :)

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  22. Making me think! The hard part for me is that I struggle with what I spend my time on... I love to work in my studio but making a choice between that and doing something with or for my family often pulls me in a million directions... so the question is What is "success"... what do I really want to have happen as a result of my efforts? It is comforting to know that we all struggle.

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  23. I love that last picture. :-)

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  24. Wow, Lori! What a perfect post to read on a gloomy, windy, rainy day while sipping a cup of coffee lovingly prepared by dear Mr. C.
    My spirits are up again :-)

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  25. Your wise words had me in tears. This comes at the perfect time.

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  26. Great post Lori. You are amazing. Love the pics you found for this post.

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  27. Well Miss Lori for all you've been through yourself lately to dust yourself off pick yourself up and always look at the positve you are my dear a true inspiration thank-you ttfn L:)

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  28. Perfect advice! Personally I always think my winter blues will spin itself into a sudden burst of spring creativity, but then this year it just didn't happen. Interesting to learn others are feeling the same way. Love your thoughts on not reading blogs that we feel we are comparing ourselves to..it is so spot on perfect advice..but probably the hardest to observe.

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  29. Great post Lori - coincidentally I posted on a similar topic today and the fact that it was one of these 'lows' that led me to jewellery making as I do it today. I think we often lose sight of ourselves by trying to live up to expectations and usually our own rather than other peoples. My Mantra of the moment is 'allow yourself to be.." You can finish the sentence in countless ways but let yourself do it.

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  31. Thanks, Lori for those inspirational words! You are awesome! There have been many of times I feel just like that turtle and once in awhile I reach a high point...enough to keep me trying and not give up! Great post!

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  32. HI Lori,
    I just learnt a new word today: Striving.
    I never heard it before, but this how I live. I am the sort of person that works hard to get something that I believe in.
    Like right now, my focus is to learn to walk again, and even though there are hard times, painful times and times of crying, I just dry up my tears and I keep going. I may not walk again as a normal person, but I am giving it all, and that is what it matters. To know that you made whatever was on your hands to reach your goal.

    I always had that feeling that other people are better, but when you put all your soul on what you do, you are already a winner.

    Low times always come, but the important thing is that you get up and you keep going, and that you have people to count with on those low moments to lean on.

    Thanks Lori, you have just energize me!! I am going for it! I am going to get walking again and I will finish to set up my enamel jewelery business!

    You are a star!!

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  33. Wow you really are so sweet! I have known this for some time but to put it all out there to make us feel better about the lows is well...just plain nice. It is so refreshing to come and read your blog and know even though you say "it's just the surface" you have really put your heart out there. Thanks as always for being you!

    Hugs

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  34. Thanks for sharing your heart ♥ Seems that you're right on target with so many people [including myself] {{{{{hugs}}}}}

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  35. Great post, Lori!! Thank you for your insights!

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  36. Lori, thanks for this very poignant piece. It's very timely, and definitely needs to be heard! :)

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  37. Great Post Lori,
    Could have said "just be you and climb" any better!

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  38. Thanks for the ladders...this week has been out of reach but you and a snarky email angel have made a difference :)

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  39. I am so very thankful for you Lori Anderson and your insight and ability to verbalize amazing inspiration for all of us to take in. Thank you from my heart! Thank you, thank you, thank you...

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  40. Thank you for talking about something we all feel.... thank goodness for FRIENDS!and LOL FAMILY!

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  41. I love this post Lori. It really speaks to me!!!

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  42. Thanks for a great post. These are good things for us to remember.

    Striving.....I like that as an inspiration word.

    Have a most wonderful weekend!

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  43. Thanks for that Lori I am at that point. But when I really look I realize that after 3 years my jewelry making classes are almost full for the summer and it is only april. The first year they had 1 or 2 students or got canceled in the summer. Now I am a sucess at that. The real downer is that last 3 shows I did I made nothing literally but I also realize they were the cheap shows so I get what I pay for. I did do well on 2 shows so I know I can do it just have to find the right ones. And I got into a Summer market position granted I can't sell jewelry only my other stuff but I realize that has helped me to broaden my horizons. But I am on the waiting list for jewelry, and I did a show and I had more jewelry and magnets than I could fit in my tent so I am ready for the big time. I hope but I still feel like just giving up sometimes and wonder if it is worth it but then I really do like what I do and it keeps me going on bad days so It is good for my soul to keep going and creating and I feel great after each great piece I make. Ok Lori thanks for the counsoling session I'm back on track now lol.

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  44. Lori, I know for a fact many crafters and jewelry designers, feel like they are walking in everyone's shadow. Myself included. I have NEVER felt that way as an artist. The art world is so different and supportive. In my experience.

    You are right on about just stop reading blogs that make us feel inferior. I know I have.

    Thanks, jeannie

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  45. Yes, perfect timing, I go through large "dips" every now and then. I find, it is time to take a break, go sit and sip some latte at the cafe, (even if I am broke) or sit in my car at the beach and watch the waves. I might go on a small hike with my camera and take some cool shots of just simple things. To be inspired and regroup. I have made a commitment to myself, "I may sit if I must, but I shall never quit". For we never fail unless we quit. That is the only time we fail.
    Hugs to everyone else having a downer time.

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  46. Thank you for the encouragement Lori :)

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  47. SUCH an awesome post! And so very much the way I've been feeling for the past few months. Glad you said it out loud!!

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  48. It is always so nice to visit your blog and read your posts. They are always so encouraging. And definitely something everyone needs to hear.

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  49. This is a great post Lori! I too know "The feeling"! You always reach out and thats what makes us/we/people feel special. Its always like Loris there and you care about others. You are GENUINE you Always take the time, and you far out weigh!

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  50. Thank you for this....I need to hear it this week....and today especially after some discouraging things...

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  51. Great post Lori!

    I think being creative has a build in description of self discovery through exploration of self! And the road is a bumpy one!

    I blogged this week about a similar topic that you may enjoy reading. Thanks for the upfiftment!

    http://www.patsyevinsstudio.com/blog/

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  52. what a wonderful post Lori! I must say I have become a big fan of your writing. The more I read the more I want to read. This post is indeed very inspiring. Thanks!

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  53. Wow. Just Wow! Sometimes I think you are living in my head. Thanks for the reminder. Since my brain injury I've been very hard on myself. "Striving" has become so much a part of my life. Maybe I should be posting sticky notes to remind myself that it's okay to just be me, the way I am now.

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