For the past couple of months, I have amassed an ominous collection of (long!) lists of a gazillion things-that-need-to-be-done. And I’ve been thinking, planning, working, researching, ruminating – and generally obsessing – over stuff like this:
- The book! The book! How do I market and sell the book!??
- How do I get the book “out there”? How do I promote it? How do I even write a press release? Who would I send a press release to?
- How do I get distribution (both local & international) for the book?
- Why is international shipping so horrendously expensive? Am I now expected to register as an “exporter” if I want to regularly ship my book off to international clients? What if I don’t want to register as an exporter?
- Shouldn’t I be just focussing on my website, blog and online store?
- Who can help me with the mess I’ve made of attempting to merge my (old) Living Differently site with my (new) Mad Hat site… (preferably without charging a fortune?)
- Should I have a special sign-in place for Tribe’sters?
- I really should be far more consistent – and especially when it comes to timeous blog-writing and social-media-posting and replying to people when they write on my Facebook wall…
- I haven’t sent out a newsletter in ages. I really should send out a newsletter.
- Maybe I should create a video? An online course?
- Should I advertise myself? Should I write up some kind of promo PDF and mail it off to people, telling them that I’m willing to do speaking engagements and creative workshops? Should I create a video to demonstrate to potential customers what that might look like?
- Should I design a new logo… a proper “Hat Brand”…?
- Are people going to get offended if I say “fuck”? Do the blog followers and social media peeps (apart from Tribe’sters, of course)… think I’m something I’m not? Do they realise I’m a potty-mouthed, irreverent agnostic? Will this offend them? Should I just not… uh… speak about “that” kind of thing?
- How do I keep readers and blog followers engaged? Do I utterly suck as a blogger (because I’m not consistently producing new, interesting, like-able “content”)…?
- Should I try to be more consistent and diligent?
- Should I try to get more “likes” on social media? Will it help book sales?
- How can I get my book to Australians and New Zealanders (because Amazon is also expensive for them)…?
- Is it possible to find a traditional publisher willing to take on my book and market and promote it *for* me? Should I be writing pleading e-mails and brown-nosing the corporates?
- Are people still viewing me as a “children’s book” author – when the Hat book was never intended as a children’s book? Should I rectify that?
- Have I shot myself horribly in the foot with that?
- I should write a grovelling e-mail to every person who has written to me who I have forgotten to respond to.
- Should I be writing a business plan? Shouldn’t I be trying to make some money?
- Should I be hiring an assistant? But hang on – I can’t afford to hire an assistant!
- Shouldn’t I be writing more “answer” blog posts – instead of weird, random ramble-posts (like this one)…?
- Shouldn’t I be offering people ADVICE and HELP and ANSWERS? Isn’t that what people want? “Answers”….? Shouldn’t I be creating some kind of life-coach-like workbook, handbook or online course? Something that can HELP people... ?
PS: If you read all of that – wow! You’re patient with me!! Accept my virtual-hug and sloppy coffee-kiss.
So… needless to say….
With all this working, ruminating, website-building, endless researching, attempts at creating an online store and workable website, attempts at writing out marketing plans and what-not… endless faffing with WordPress, Woo Commerce, Amazon and payment gateways (long-long story)….
Guess what I haven’t been doing?
- I haven’t been drawing.
- I haven’t been creating art.
- I haven’t been writing new songs and poems.
- I haven’t been art-journalling (or at least – I’ve only done a teeny bit)…
I haven’t been doing the stuff I love! The stuff that makes me come alive – the stuff I’m good at!
I haven’t been doing HAT-THINGS!!!
Instead, I have been spending hundreds of hours doing the following:
- Stuff I’m just not good at doing… that I’m not designed to do!
- Stuff that I pretty-much suck at.
- Stuff that drains me of all my creative energy.
- Stuff that makes me feel useless and stupid.
- Stuff that overwhelms me, frustrates me and paralyses me.
- Stuff that makes me feel continually guilty – as though I’m failing and letting people down… and not measuring up… and not being “enough”.
Mostly – because of all these crazy expectations that I have placed upon myself. All these long, long burdensome lists of things that I tell myself I should do… I’m supposed to do… I ought to do…
Sheeeeeeeeeesh! Some of us really need to learn the hard way, don’t we?
I KNOW that expectations are damaging and hurtful – and yet, I so easily… easily… fall straight back in to those same old patterns of…
trying… trying… trying…
…because… there are still remnants of a belief… deep inside of me… which persistently tries to remind me that “Hat”… is just not enough – exactly as she is.
My request to tribe’sters & long-term blog followers:
So – for those of you who are Tribe’sters (you know who you are)… those of you who have connected with me – who continue to walk WITH me on this mad-fascinating-challenging-crazy Journey… those of you who chat with me over e-mail… those who have shared stories, poems and photos with me… those who have read – and who get my book….
Please HELP me to stay HATTY! – and to NOT fall back in to the big, black pit of expectations, duties, mask-wearing and trying to please others by trying to be who I’m NOT.
Please tell me that you’re not all irritated and offended (when I take forever to post a blog or respond to your comment on social media).
Please remind me that I’m an ARTIST and a STORYTELLER… and that I really need to quit with all these ridiculous “Good-Blogger” or “Astute-Organised-Online-Businesswomen” ideals that I continually place upon myself.
Please tell me that you’re okay with me being me….
That you’re okay with my sporadic, inconsistent, messy way of being in the world.
That you’re accepting of my strengths and my weaknesses… and you’re not offended if I occasionally say or write rude words (or draw things like bums and boobs and ugly knickers!)…
That you’re not EXPECTING me to be anything other than myself.
I would be SO grateful guys… for your help – reminding-me-to-be-ME… reminding me to stay HAT…!
We walk this journey together. As I’ve often said… I have not “arrived” and I don’t have all the magical “answers”. But I do want to grow and learn from you as we journey together… (that is – if you can tolerate my sporadic, inconsistent communication!)…
Whether you reply to this post in the “comments section”… or if you reply on Facebook… or if you e-mail me… I am going to print out your words (photos, quotes or anything else you’d like to send my way)… and I’m going to stick them on my studio wall… and every time I’m tempted to put on a fake mask and morph into someone I’m NOT… I will read your words and be reminded of who I really am – and why it matters to remain true to that.
Zillion hugs… X Hat X