Sunday, 5 July 2015

Fearless


Not really. But quite some time ago, I wrote this post about stepping out of my comfort zone, trying new things, pushing myself that little bit further than I usually might.

A week ago today I met up with a small but select group of fellow bloggers: Nina, Rachelle and Catherine. I was the first to arrive and stood waiting at Piccadilly station for the others to arrive, knowing them only from photographs I'd seen on their blogs or their Messenger profiles. I felt a little bit anxious; meeting new people isn't generally something I relish. Small talk doesn't come easily to me and 'outgoing' isn't a word I'd ever use to describe myself.


But I'd got up early, done what needed to be done at home, driven to Manchester, parked the car and power-walked across the city to get to the station for 11am. We all met up. We all got along. In fact it wasn't long at all before we were talking ten to the dozen, swapping ideas and discussing a million and one things.

Any sense of apprehension disappeared almost immediately. It was so good to meet people in person at last, to go and eat delicious food and wander around lovely places like the Craft and Design Centre.


And, of course, Fred Aldous. You can't go to the Northern Quarter without going in there and gazing in wonder at the art materials and the stationery. Oh, the stationery...


We made plans for future meet-ups and collaborations. And it turns out that Catherine lives not too far away from me. She works nearby. We'll get together for coffee and lots of talking very soon.


So you see, it's good to feel a little bit of trepidation and push through it and do something new. I made some great friends, lovely people who appreciate the things I do and who gave me ideas and advice. We all came away feeling inspired and excited, and the few who couldn't make it on the day will be joining us next time. I can't wait.


It may sound a little pathetic, feeling a bit uncomfortable at the prospect of meeting up with new people. 

More challenging has been knocking on doors trying to sell my product. I'm not a natural saleswoman; the very idea of self-promotion makes me wince. I don't possess the gift of the gab by any stretch of the imagination. But I've been visiting local shops to see whether they'd be interested in stocking or even displaying my drawings. I was told to expect a lot of 'Thanks but no thanks' responses. 

But through these visits I have again met some lovely people. One or two have been unable to offer me wall space (due to business rates, commission costs and so on). But they have been very helpful and given me some great advice and suggestions. 


Last week I arranged to speak to a man who runs a cafe where local artists display their work and sell it. He was very dismissive. Actually, he was downright rude. I picked up my bag, left and went straight to the next place. The lady there said she'd be happy to stock some of my drawings. You just have to keep going. It was a small, significant win.

Then on Thursday I received a call from someone who'd seen my website and wanted to speak to me. I went to meet him (and had to take Joe with me - fortunately he behaved beautifully). He runs a large mill shop nearby with an interiors section. He offered me a display area and ordered a lot of stock. As in, a lot of stock. Which I'm now frenziedly working away on whenever I can carve out the time.


I don't actually get worried when I go and speak to potential stockists. I'm not exactly brimming with confidence or expertise, but I just go in there and try my best. I've been quite lucky; after a few weeks my success rate is exactly 50%.

The library where I display some work has asked for enough to hang in another three libraries. My order book is filling up. And I even picked up a commission yesterday when I was getting some copies made (to go in my portfolio). One of my paintings will be going to Australia next week, to hang in a newborn's nursery. That's a strange but quite exciting thought.

So yes, I could do with an extra few hours in the day. I could definitely do with more energy. And I need to speak to a business adviser. But it just goes to show, after years of self-doubt, that sticking your head above the parapet - even if it's just an inch or two - can bring all kinds of opportunities. What with the painting and my new writing job at Tend, I feel as though things are finally going in the direction I've always wanted them to. Better late than never.

Here's to being just that little bit braver than I used to be. I hope other people do the same; I'd highly recommend it, even though I don't know what the outcome of all this will be...



25 comments:

  1. So happy to hear things are moving in the right direction. Keep it up. You are a beautiful and accomplished artist. It can only get better.

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  2. what a lovely, inspiring post, and very best wishes for your myriad of ventures! x

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    1. Thanks Katie. I'm in a bit of a spin at the moment but it's all exciting stuff :)

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  3. I very rarely step outside my comfort zone. Well done you for doing so, not just once but many times in the last week. I am very happy for your success, a 50% success rate does sound brilliant. Happy drawing! xx
    P.S. As Joe grows older, your days will feel a bit longer again. At least, this is what I have experienced as mine are growing older.

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    1. It's so hard isn't it? You find yourself wishing that things will become a little easier but you're also aware that babyhood goes too fast and you want to hold onto this time before it disappears forever... x

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  4. I'm really happy for you, Sarah. It sounds like things are moving in exactly the direction you've been wanting them to. Here's to continued success and good news. You have a lot to be proud of.

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    1. Thank you Jennifer. It's taken a while to get here (and a lot of dead ends and detours)!

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  5. Nice post Sarah and great photos.

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  6. your blog meet up sounds wonderful, and fantastic news about the gallery successes.

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    1. It was great, I'm glad I went along and met some truly inspiring ladies. As for the gallery stuff - I'm working very hard indeed but it's nice to do something you actually enjoy.

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  7. Well done for being brave. It takes a lot of courage to get out and meet new people. I remember being petrified the first time I met blog friends for real but it was all absolutely lovely and I'm still in touch with then now, years later. As for taking work to galleries that is really brave. So pleased it is working for you... You offer a classy product!

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    1. Thank you Gina. As for meeting new people - I know someone who used to go on blind dates (via online dating sites) for fun. That's really brave!

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  8. Oh, well done you for dipping your toes in strange waters. It ain't always easy. Best wishes for your new ventures and looking forward to reading about them on Mitenska.

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  9. well done! Congratulations of all your orders. your pictures are beautiful just like all of your photographs

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  10. Sounds like you had lots of fun, firm friendships in the making I'm sure! Glad you're having success with your design work too :) xxx

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  11. It really was a wonderful day. I can't wait until we get the chance to do it again. And to think I was so nervous on the train - how daft we are and how wonderfully we all got on.

    Your designs are amazing!

    Nina x

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  12. Your blog meet up sounds great and so pleased your art work is taking off too.

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  13. Well done for stepping out of your comfort zone. I hate meeting new people and trying to sell your skills is so very hard, but sometimes needs to be done! There really are some lovely people in the creative community. I am so glad opportunities are coming your way and meaningful ones too. You don't need to be working with people like Mr Grumpy! Keep busy, but happy! Elaine x

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  14. I'm so pleased you've taken the plunge to be braver - it does take courage but you're reaping the rewards. I'm really pleased your artwork has taken off. I can see why it has - it's wonderful!! Have a fab week xx

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  15. You description of yourself sounds very, very like me! But I think I'm getting worse as I get older instead of braver. I wish you all the best with your paintings. You're getting on well already and you've only started.

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  16. I like your honesty about being braver. It's inspiring. As is starting your own work. The day out looks fab. I also feel I'm not good at small talk and meeting new people.

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  17. How envious am I of your meet up. I don't 'know' Catherine but I'd love to meet Rachelle and Nina, both of whom I do feel I 'know'. Believe it or not I'm only an hour from Manchester, that's the joy of living where we do, tucked away in the top corner of Wales but very close to good roads.

    Brilliant news re. your art business taking off, I'm so chuffed for you :o)

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  18. Congratulations on all your business success so far, each positive is a great boost and will lead to more I am sure, your talent is obvious. We are making great progress and success with our nursery venture too, each day makes us feel we made the right decision to take the plunge. Keep up the good work :)

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