No more updates (probably. But definitely no more here.)

Blogging has always been really fun for me and this blog has been, at times, a combination of a journal and something I thought might help me as a business/marketing tool. Many people have used blogs (very) successfully and, although I don't crave fame or anything, I, like many artists, love the idea of being able to monetize what I do enough to make a living. I decided a little bit of trying to create an online presence might help me do that if I ever managed to hit that narrow strip between working hard at it and just getting downright lucky enough that some of my online accounts ever took off. Eventually I started to figure that blogging just isn't as populated and easy to break into as I thought. I've always put a ton of creative energy into trying to blog and never accomplished much with it besides the personal satisfaction of seeing a collection of content I'm generally proud of.

Eventually I figured that if I was ever going to make it to the point where I might be able to make a living on art online, I would need to try harder at social media outside of blogging in order to connect with more people. I dabbled on Instagram and Pinterest and Tumblr but have never managed to stick to those. I'm not what you call a natural at social media or self-promotion. I'm also painfully shy online and freak out about interacting with people. I've never even tried Twitter because, where many people seem to get excited by someone responding to them directly and getting tagged or whatever by other people, that's actually my idea of a nightmare. I'd love to have the things I -do- on the internet, I just don't like -myself- to be on the internet, if that makes sense.

Anyway, it's a sea out there, as anyone who blogs or tries to do business online knows. And since I'm just not really interested in any personal attention and just want to not end up as a barista or filing paperwork for a living, I pretty much just want to be able to sell some artwork. Don't get me wrong, it's always great to be able to share something I'm excited by and maybe hear a compliment. I have really liked those couple of times I've interacted with people about what I make and what they make and had a good ol' time and whatnot. But actually "making it" online in terms of sales, or popularity which often leads to sales and opportunities for sales, is a full time job that I'm just not well suited for. My best month in online sales has just, only one time, not been beaten immediately by any live event/art fair/etc. I've ever attended. Even the slow ones blow my online experiences out of the water. I also have way more fun at these events because I get to talk to individuals on a one-on-one basis and have real conversations with people and connect. It's usually only for a few minutes but it feels more real than the connections I've made in a sentence or a hashtag exchange on social media with people.

For all of these reasons, I'm just not going to continue blogging here. It's a lot of effort for what is, essentially, a scrapbook for my own viewing. Trying to network on Instagram/Tumblr/Pinterest etc. is overwhelming to my brainzone and personality type and I just can't handle it when those are the things I must master to make my job work for me and pay some bills. I'm much more capable of handling real life stuff. Sales events, teaching art, in-person retail. So when they're more lucrative and more fun and less stress for me anyway, the math is pretty clear on what I should be doing. That means Etsy is getting emptied/maybe just used as a vehicle for processing custom orders. I'll probably keep up casual blogging/sharing of creative things on Facebook or occasionally take a stab at Instagram or Tumblr, but without a ton of commitment. I'll always happily stay open to custom orders or making sales/shipping online, but it's just not going to be sales that I actively try to generate. I intend to simply create and present a portfolio of my work and if someone wants to reach out and get something online, they can. The rest of my energy left over after creating will go to hauling stock to events and setting up tables. If I ever do want to start blogging again, I will also be putting it on wordpress and will provide a link here if that happens. I will still probably blog at my angry vegetarian cutelunch and bento blog when I'm inspired.

We'd all like to feel useful or appreciated for what we do or what we're passionate about. I guess I'm just saying I get that from meeting people in real time and seeing someone go home with something I made that made them happy. I've come to this decision after many years of going back and forth on why I actually do this. I've done enough of the online game to see how numbers suddenly become meaningless. 100 subscribers felt like a huge milestone. Then I had 1000 and suddenly 300 views on a video felt like an abject failure. One of my videos had 60,000 views and it felt like being royalty. But these days, that's the new 300. It's just too much. It just feels like a race to get more instead of enjoying the process. I just want off that ride, I guess. For many years I felt pressured to get back to video making, because it was the only place I had ever generated any substantial numbers but the truth was I didn't actually enjoy trying to create content that I was being expected to do or needed to do in order to pursue making a living. The last video I created and put up was something I was way more pleased with, but then proceeded to be not at all successful in comparison to my old numbers. For a moment I was stressed about this 'failure' and then I forgot about it. As soon as I stopped caring about if the content I'd shared could help me generate business (or more following that might lead to business) then I just really enjoyed the video. That moment stuck with me as really when I crossed over from talking the talk about doing something for the enjoyment instead of doing it for the payoff to walking that walk. While the internet can be a huge business tool, for me and how I feel right now, I'd rather have it be a joy and keep my business old school.

So.... Considering I've not got a ton of readership in terms of blogging anyway, I doubt anyone will be glaring my direction for this change anyway. And I like that. I have heard that popularity is exhausting and demanding. From the mild success I have experienced, I found them emotionally draining and stressful so I imagine this is very true. I think that Eliza Doolittle said it best (no, the pop singer, not Audrey Hepburn.) "The whole world is trying to be somebody, kicking themselves about what could have been. What's wrong with being a nobody?" As much as I love making art, I see fighting hard for attention for something like civil rights and social equity as a better use of passion anyway. All in all, I'm just clearly not cut out to fight my way to the top of the internet for celebrity and adoration. I just want the world to be a better place and to feel proud of my ability to make a living with my trade.

So, what I'm really saying here is: 

And thanks to AcidBetta for the art and Douglas Adams for the best sign off phrase of all time.

It's been good fun to blog for all these years and I've really been grateful to the people who popped in and tried to show me some support and commented and interacted with me in my little space. And to everyone for supporting me in my sale to raise money for treatment. I'm pleased to update that briefly to just say that I was glad that, at the last moment, it was determined I would not need to undergo surgery to remove my tumor and I've been happily treating myself with daily hormone injections that make a huge difference in my life. Although I'm still in the process of recovering and improving and the shots are cumulatively far more expensive than my surgery would have ever dreamed of being, I'm grateful for my access to affordable health care that allows me to keep pursuing a trade I'm passionate about, instead of seeking money above all just in interest of affording injections and supporting prescriptions. And I'm really grateful to people who shopped in that sale that helped me afford almost 2 months of care until my insurance kicked in. I hope the pieces you bought from me made you as happy as it made me to sell them.

Wishing everyone, very genuinely, the very best and a life filled with what makes them happy and grateful and shit!