Take the leap and learn as you go

2016 is the year I face my creative fears. I call it my Fear Year. Every month I publish a report, looking back on the month, sharing my thoughts, fears and lessons learned. If you want context, you can read more and find the earlier reports here

Fears faced: Selling something I've created myself.

Struggles: Letting go and taking the leap.

Lessons learned: There are lessons you can only learn once you've taken the leap. Don't wait until you've figured everything out, because you can't figure everything out before you leap.

December 7

The day is here. The shop is open. Finally!

Yes, I'm a little bit nervous, but mostly I'm just happy that the launch is here. I'm tired of waiting. I'm ready to see what happens now!

Launching my art shop

On December 7th, I launched my art shop and sold something I'd made for the first time in my life. It was a weird and happy experience. Getting over the first big block of selling was a relief and it was more worth than the money that I made.

Over the first two weeks, I had 12 sales, which was more than I expected. Had I made big goals, then those 12 sales may have seemed few, but I'd intentionally set my expectations low. I knew it was a good choice not to demand too much of this first try, seeing it more as a learning experience.

I had a lot of fun, hosting a giveaway on Instagram, packing up orders and updating the shop. After popular demand, I added an option to get a custom word painted on a mini original. It was a happy launch that I was completely satisfied with.

My predictions of what would sell most turned out to be wrong, which I found to be both interesting and a tad hilarious. I'd expected the art prints to sell the most and the mini original painting to be a small addition, but it was the complete opposite. Originals disappeared quickly, leaving only a few left after those first two weeks, but I only sent out three prints.

It was the learning experience I'd wanted. Things didn't go wrong, orders turned up quicker than I'd expected with a few exceptions and I had fun. This selling thing really wasn't so scary now that I was finally doing it.

December 18

Phew. The year is coming to an end and it's time to wrap things up.

What will next year be? What role will Fear have then?

Wrapping up 2016

When the first burst of attention that a launch demands slowed down, it wasn't much left of 2016. I'd decided not to make the end of the year a scramble to try to squeeze in as much as possible, but wrap things up early and rest during my Christmas vacation.

So the weeks before Christmas, I handled my shop, wrote the year's last blog posts, including the last letter in my Dear Self series, ending it with a letter to myself. Then I looked towards 2017.

The decision to make 2016 my Fear Year was an important and profound choice that has changed my life. I knew I'd keep facing fears in 2017, but not as my main focus. When contemplating a word for 2017, I thought back and forth until one word stood out.

Connect.

To focus on my own fears had helped me connect to others, but now I wanted to learn more about other people's fears too. I wanted to understand more about how we handle our fears, I wanted to listen, and see how I could better help others face their creative demons. 

To reach out to others actively has also been a fear of mine, and a longing, so I knew it was an area I needed to deal with. Going forward, I would let connection lead me to new insights.

December 27

What a year. Time for rest. Time for books.

Resting through the end of the year 

During my Christmas vacation, I took a break from everything creative and went into a world of books. I read, drank tea, went to the movies and generally had a slow week. 

After this long, wonderful year, it was just what I needed. And like I expected, after a few days the creative itch was starting to creep up on me. 

I ended my Fear Year with writing the full recap of what I've learned.

Thank you for following along!