Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Staying Motivated in More Situations

Last week I talked about motivating yourself when your stock isn't selling and when you get rejection emails.  Today I've picked to talk about staying motivated when craft fairs don't go as planned and when your inspiration has dried up.  I've fallen prey to the latter of these two recently and it can be so difficult to stay focused and keep going when these happen.

Craft Fairs

Most of you will know my craft fair experience started out reeeeeeally badly, I've had some absolute stinkers, the type of fairs where no one turns up, it's completely unorganised and you go home and have a good cry (and a large glass of wine).  You can read about my experiences in my previous posts here and here.

It's just disheartening when you've spent a lot of money on stock and packaging, you've made sure your stall looks beautiful and you've put in so much time and skill to ensure your products are the best they can be, and then craft fair is a major let down.

So how do you stay motivated, well first of all, you are not alone, anyone who sells at craft fairs has these days, ask around and I'm sure you'll all have horror stories!  It's nice to be able to laugh about my bad experiences and I have certainly learnt a lot about doing craft fairs from those first three (I'm sure they will haunt me forever!).

How to tackle it! - When you get home from the fair, just have a little 'me' time, enjoy a nice cup of tea and a huge wodge of cake or something similar, and if it's been that bad, have a cry, then sleep on it.  I just look after me when I get home after a bad craft fair, if you ponder on it too much you'll end up feeling really down and things like 'I'm never going to make it...' and 'No one likes my work...' will begin to play on loop in your head.  Don't let this happen!  So a little 'me' time and then have a good sleep and you'll wake up feeling much better.

Next step is to write down what the good points from the craft fair were, what did you learn, who did you meet (other stall holders?), was there anything that happened that made you smile or laugh.  My craft fairs were as bad as they could be, and I still managed to take away something from each of them. Write all of these down and when you have another bad craft fair in the future read these back and just see how far you have come!  I still smile at the little boy from my second craft fair who loved my designs but didn't have enough money for a notebook, I let him have it for less and his beaming face will stay with me forever. He won't even realise the impact he's had!


Next up, how to stay motivated when your inspiration has gone out the window.  I'm having an awful time of this at the moment so would love to hear how others cope with this!  I need to get on and design my Christmas range (yes I know, Christmas, already!), and yet when it is sunny and hot outside I don't feel like thinking about the winter, let alone sit and draw snowy scenes, holly, mistletoe, penguins and other such wintery things.  I honestly struggle with this and some advice like I've heard of is to get away from the computer, go and take photos or do something you enjoy, but this just doesn't work when you need to get something done soon!

How to tackle it! - So my advice here is to just keep drawing, to put time aside everyday for your designing and just keep at it, you may end up with pages and pages of rubbish but there will be some lovely illustrations in there that will have potential.  Sometimes there isn't the option of putting it off and waiting for your inspiration to come back, sometimes the only option is to plod along until you power through and the ideas begin to flow again.  It's like what they tell writers to do, just keep writing, even if it is utter rubbish, eventually it will come together.  If anyone has any better advice for this let me know!


  1. Interesting to read your last 2 blog posts Emma. It's not something most people feel able to talk about so well done for putting it out there! I get asked a lot by people I mentor how to shift stock that's not selling and/or find new outlets, it can be tough for makers when you don't know who to approach. The inspiration block is actually one I handle in a completely different way. My answer to it is always to get out and see a new exhibition or visit another gallery or (my favourite one) to do a workshop in something completely different. I find it gets me re-excited and full of ideas. We're going to be doing lots of workshops when we move the gallery to the new premises and I can't wait - play time! It can be hard to justify taking time out when you've got lots to do and very little time to do it but I try and reason it out as I would when I'm very tired: Really tired, need a nap but lots to do. Options are either continue working very slowly because I can't afford to stop OR have a nap, wake up feeling refreshed and get everything done on time anyway because I'm so much more productive than when I was over tired. (Plus naps are much more fun than paperwork!) x

    1. Yeyy it worked! :) It can be incredible difficult when stock isn't selling, and I'm sure everyone will have this problem at some point. It's trying to come up with new ideas for getting it seen, especially when you're just starting out and don't have the online presence or contacts to help you.

      I do agree with you about the inspiration block, I often choose to do something different and something I know I'll really enjoy. Every now and then I just don't have the time to do that and have found that if it is my drawing I am struggling with, and I power through, something will click eventually and I'll produce come really great ideas. (Naps are definitely more fun than most work!)