June 5, 2009

a landmark and lots of reflection

a couple days ago i realized that i missed my 1 year anniversary of being self-employed – kind of a big deal, pretty freaking awesome!  i honestly didn’t think i’d make it a year without getting some kind of part-time job or taking work i didn’t want, but i did it!  so, in traditional blog-related anniversary fashion, i made a massive (2-part) photo mosaic of images taken from my blog posts over the last year…

first year of self-employment, part 1

first year of self-employment, part 2

it was fun reading back over all i’ve done! that’s a smattering of worky things, designs, fun (craft-related) events/outings, etc…  so i’ve been doing a lot of reflecting the last couple days, and it’s funny that it seems my state of mind now isn’t too far away from where it was a year ago.  i’m so happy that i’ve made it here, but this whole freelancey self-employed career is just as scary now as it was then!  it’s also amazing and exciting and totally worth the stress and constant working and any other downsides!  but yeah, i’m still just doing a few solid things that i know will bring me a little rent money, and the rest is up in the air, just like it was a year ago.  the big difference is now i know i made it this first year, so i don’t see any reason why i can’t make it another!

maryspinning1.jpg

moving on, diane is doing a craftypod giveaway for my ten 10 yard cuffs ebook!  to win, you just have to comment on the post with your thoughts on ebooks – there are some interesting comments so far.  i feel similarly to a lot of people – i love to hold a book in my hands and flip through the physical pages, but buying ebooks saves paper, ink, other resources, shipping, and money, so it’s a trade off.  as a self-publisher, pdfs are soooo much easier to sell than anything physical that i have to mail out (especially knitting pdfs thanks to ravelry!!), and they save me so much time and money that i can sell them so much cheaper and everyone benefits.

cuffs pdf cover kit book cover

i do make a physical version of the cuffs book, but only for the kits – i give the option of getting a kit with a pdf instead, but i don’t give the option of getting a real book instead of an ebook alone.  this is mostly because of my own resources (time and money) but also because each book i make up uses paper (even if it is recycled paper) and ink and i try not to be wasteful.  but, it’s all very hard for me to make decisions like this (ebook vs real book) because of my love for real books, so i totally understand the people who say they don’t buy digital.  i think it’s this major adjustment we’re all going to have to slowly get used to because it just makes sense (economically, ecologically) for both self-publishers and buyers to go in the digital direction.  and as far as publishing companies go, well that’s a whole other subject, but i think more and more writers will go in the self-publishing direction, and therefore end up going digital.  generally speaking.  what do you think?

and then this topic leads to another of diane’s recent posts – how to kill your favorite website.  this is a fantastic post about the financial demise of craftstylish, as it followed many other craft publications in its inability to successfully monetize and keep up its awesomeness.  you should go read the post – it’s a tough subject and diane did a great job of concisely breaking it down.  basically, this world needs to evolve, because what used to work just doesn’t anymore.  as for what you, the reader, can do, i’ll copy diane’s conclusion here: “For now, when you watch TV, read websites, or flip through magazines, consider asking yourself these questions: ‘Who made this? Did I get value from it? And if so, how can I support the people who created that value?'”

craftstylish tutorials mosaic!

and she inspired me to create yet another mosaic, this one featuring my favorite craftstylish projects from my 8 months of tutorials over there.  and i’ll quote her again because she said it best: “I think it’s good to point out: all this content was brought to you by them. There’s no way I could have created the time to make so many how-tos if they weren’t paying me for them.”  so true.

so now that i’m going in this new direction for my own career path – trying to be a bit more self-sufficient instead of relying on the continued success of outside sources (like i was doing with craftstylish), i do plan to devote some time once in awhile to quality tutorials here on do stuff! but, of course, this is part of my “job” and unfortunately it does all come down to money (hey i may live in a cheap apartment in portland, but rent and food still cost money).  i think it’s obvious that this blog’s purpose is, in part, to help crafters and potential shoppers become aware of my stuff and patterns for sale.  but i don’t plan on ever putting ads on my blog and i hope that i’m able to make ends meet doing what i’m doing, so that i can afford the time to put valuable content here for you to enjoy, cost free!  (one thing i did just add while working on my site redesign is the little share this page! button at the bottom of each post. sharing any of my posts that you like, via twitter, facebook, email, or a ton of other methods offered, is an easy and free way that you can help support me!)

double take

which leads me to yet another craftypod topic, from the latest podcast which i just listened to – craft blogging: what should you write about? the part that spoke most strongly to me was about writing your passion.  when i first started brainstorming about making a zine, which then branched off and became this blog, i was so excited to think up the concept/title do stuff! because, as silly as it sounds, that it my passion!  doing stuff!  my whole life i’ve always hated the idea of boredom – i’d get angry at my brothers for saying they were bored – i’ve always had a million projects going on at once (even as a little kid), multi-tasking whenever possible.  so instead of just starting a craft zine/blog, i wanted to start a “stuff” zine/blog, so i’d have the freedom to write about any stuff that i like to do!  sure, i’m passionate about knitting and knit design, and crafting in general, but i’m also passionate about photography, and i also have bursts of passionate phases in printmaking, cooking/baking, sewing, web design, dyeing+spinning, art, music, beading, home decorating projects, and who knows what else in the future!

me with mug me out shooting respect the needles. tame the yarn.

so, i created do stuff! and sometimes i lose sight of the point.  so i need to remember my passion: doing stuff!  i can’t let myself blog so often about things i’m selling (i try really hard to keep that down to a smallish percentage of my posts) and i need to remember to blog more often, in general, because there’s always some fun stuff going on in my life!  it may not be craft related, which is why i might not think to blog it, but if it’s doing stuff related and i’m into it, then hey, it’s blog material!  so i’ve come up with a few different blog topics that i hope to make regular quicky posts – things that i can get up here without so much time and writing required, so that i’ll be posting more often, and with more variety.  i’ll leave the topics a secret for now, but you’ll start seeing them soon!

Filed under: craftstylish,lots of links,personal,photos,self-publishing — leethal @ 9:17 pm
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