17 June 2013

I forgot to tell you that I took a break...

Me (left) and my sister (right) colouring with crayons in our childhood backyard
I have a long-standing relationship with crayons. When I dubbed myself a "Life-Long Crayon Enthusiast" on my business cards, I wasn't kidding. So I started telling the world that I wanted to make an amigurumi crayon line, cos "Do what you love and love what you do," right? But I guess that telling the world what you love and showing them are two totally different things.

Showing them requires a lot of hard work, scary leaps of faith and hope for it all to turn out right.

Somewhere along the line, I seemed to run out of all those things.

In the past 4 years that I've been running nerd JERK, I'd like to think that I've been pretty transparent about how I've lived my life - creative and otherwise. I've taken big leaps of faith and you've all joined me for the ride. And I'm very grateful.

But most of 2013, you've all been waiting for me to come on back... to join you on this creative journey again.

There have been those folks who knew me when I was a power work horse. I'd stay up all day and all night for weeks, just to get things done for my creative business. I set HUGE goals and, much to my surprise, I MET THEM! I got to work with my freaking heroes! I got to give speeches and classes at successful universities and huge conferences. I was invited to travel around the United States and help people learn about this creative industry that I've always loved. I even got married with the help of my creative peers to the most creative guy in my life in front of all the folks who helped make it possible.

It's crazy-amazing how blessed I've been.

The walkway to my wedding reception, lit up by The Society of National Industry's amazing pyramid lights - photo by Stefanie Renee
So I really don't why it was that I just shut down at the end of 2012...

Everything seemed to be going my way. I was working with Rena Tom at Makeshift Society in San Francisco, helping her spread the news in every way that I could. To this day, I still rock the MSS calling cards and give them out to people I think would be interested in her vision and what it has to give to the world of creative dreamers, movers & shakers. I even pay the dues every month even though I haven't much in my bank account, nor have I been to the clubhouse in 6 months. I do this because when you believe in something, you support it as much as you possibly can. And even though I've been absent, I believe in Rena and her vision - I've seen MSS change lives. And it certainly changed mine.

After my work there was finished, I started concentrating on my other projects (of which there always seem to be so many). Then I suddenly stopped.

And it never occurred to me to ask myself why...

It occurred to me to feel a lot of shame about not doing more, not going out and seeking new partnerships and opportunities. So I tried to reach out and make more of those partnerships again at Craftcation in March this year. And with a minimal amount of effort, I had a butt-ton of new friends! I told people about new things and helped them with little hitches they kept hitting. I was amongst friends and I was enjoying myself.

In fact, I found myself in a whole new pool of amazing folks with even more new opportunities. There were even some people who referred to me as a "Craft-lebrity!"

And I was shocked. Cos how could I be considered a craft-celebrity if I'd been absent for the first quarter of the year?

I'll post this ultra-unflattering selfie to drive the point home
I guess the truth of it is that I just ran out of steam. I ran out. And I didn't know where to get more.

Since I ran out, I'm not where I want to be.And I only kinda have some sort of inkling of how to get back to that place where I'm helping people out and feeling fulfilled.

But, like I said earlier, it requires a lot of hard work, scary leaps of faith and hope for it all to turn out right.

Judging by how I nearly worked myself to death the last time I started from scratch (nerd JERK no longer means Mario, after all... and now I have to make crayons the next big thing) and I've lot a ton of momentum on this overwhelming pile of projects... what do I do to get back there? To regain the drive to even embark on the journey.

The truth?
I have no idea. But I think it started with posting those crayons. Maybe it starts with this post. Maybe showing how human I actually am helps me regain my faith... or just enough to make a few scary leaps.

I guess we'll have to see!


  1. "…when you believe in something, you support it as much as you possibly can." TRUTH!

    But also, right in the feels. While I'm still in the early stages of my business, I did shut down from Sept 2012 to Apr 2013. It happens — and sometimes you do need to take a break and rest. I took two vacations during that time period because my body and brain absolutely needed it. Since my re-opening at the beginning of May, I've felt totally refreshed and ready to dive into new realms and meet tons of new people!

    Mental vacations (as well as physical) are ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY! Don't feel guilty, we'd rather see you push forward when you're at 100% than to see you try to drag on while you're not feeling your best. :)

    And also: YES CRAYONS!!!

  2. I'm hugging you Stephs! NERD JERK SHALL RISE AGAIN AND CONQUER THE EARTH (and beyond...)

  3. DUDE! You may never know why you took a break, but your mind and body were all like, "nope, we're done, taking a breather," which means you probably REALLY needed it. It could be that you were burning the candle at both ends (been there), got married and just wanted time to chill with the new hubs (done that), you needed some time to pull off the road and enjoy the scenery.

    And now that you're carving yourself a new identity (getting married AND changing what you do/what you make changes you), it takes time and energy to get your momentum and mojo back. Hell, I just swapped my studio with my son's room and it set me back an entire month. You have made and done some amazing things, and you'll get right back on track, even if it's a different track from the one before.

    Which totally won't take you very long. From the teeny bit of time I spent with you at SchoolHouse Craft, you left SUCH a huge impact on me and my business, and I'm the one taking huge and scary steps next. I have you to thank for instilling the confidence in me to just go for it.

    Don't go be beating yourself up for losing steam. Look forward. Boldly go.

    Imma be stalking you now, helping you get back on track. Why?

    Because you are SUPER AWESOME.


  4. I've been as inactive as possible without shutting down since last fall. I can't bring myself to unlist everything, but I internally groan everytime I get a sale because my heart's just not in it right now; I've got so much else going on that I didn't when I started my shop. I didn't even realize when PinkyCrafts 3rd anniversary came and went. I know how you feel. We need to take care of ourselves, and sometimes that means taking a step back so you don't get so burned out that you start to hate what you used to love.

    You'll get back to where you were - and ps, you are totes a craft-lebrity.

  5. (I second what Rosalie said :)
    Also: Taking a break is essential for growth. Gaining energy and momentum from seemingly unrelated projects is sometimes exactly what we need to make sure that what we claim to love to do is really what we love to do after all. You are figuring so much out - and all at the same time - so please be kind to yourself and know that those who know you love you for everything you are and would never judge you over the number of listings you put up in your shop every week ;) Love and Hugs to you, my friend!!

  6. Your creative stew had to brew. You are in it. You will do it. You will make it!

    I feel SO lucky to have met you at Craftcation!!!! You are an amazingly kind soul.

  7. Welcome back chum! Your the craftiest !


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