Putting yourself out there and the fear of the unknown- the life of a creative

After over a year since the idea was first materialised I hit publish on my Esty store, creating a listing for what I hope to be a fun little hobby in the making.

For those of you who don’t know Etsy is a global, online market place that mainly holds small, home-grown businesses. The majority of things sold are hand-made or of limited amount and the people behind the shops are really accommodating and helpful. I try to make an effort to buy as much stuff as possible from Etsy to support the small businesses there.

Since day one of discovering the platform I’ve wanted to sell on it. I make things for fun and thought it’d be a nice hobby that could bring in a small amount of pocket-money. The only problem was that I could never make the same thing consistently, and anything I did make was never a high enough standard to sell to people.

It wasn’t untill I was studying business and I took part in the £5 challenge that things changed.

The challenge was simple on paper, we had a few months to start a mini business with £5 and whom ever made the most money at the end was the winner. Simple right?

The task was daunting to say the least, we had been given the task in induction week (we hadn’t even taken a single class on business yet) and non of us knew each other either. Being the antisocial creature that I am, I decided to work alone (a bit of a mistake in hindsight) with the intention of making Christmas themed candles. I can’t say that candle making was something that excited me because belive me, it wasn’t, so part way through I started getting distracted and experimenting with a different idea – making stickers and selling them on Etsy.

Ten designs later I had to pull away from the idea because my tutor said the product had to be sold at the local towns artisan market and my stickers wouldn’t sell. However, I kept all the designs with the plans of finishing what I started.

Today I finally put those plans into action and posted the first, of what I hope of be many, Etsy listing.

book edit

Belive it or not, I’m not sharing this for self promotion. I’m sharing it because when I hit publish I felt a level of vulnerability that I hadn’t experienced in a while.

I have tried to sell on Etsy before (long story short, it didn’t work out) and I had felt a similar thing then. It’s the same sort of feeling that I get when I publish a post here or submit an article I’ve written for someone. There’s almost a flash of panic, like when one of my friends or family members asks what my blog is about and if they can read it.

It comes to no surprise that when you put your work out there you’re opening yourself up to criticism and judgment. This is particularly hard when you’re a creative. The items you make, the words your write or the rows you stitch together all come from you. Creating something isn’t a fly away thing, it takes time and a level of exposing yourself in the process and it’s that level of vulnerability that is really daunting.

In almost two years of blogging I haven’t come across too much opposition. I aim to create a safe space on my blog and it’s not my personality to stir things up too much so in general I’m not a target for trolls or harsh criticism. But even though I’ve never experienced that it’s still a fear of mine.

But that’s the life you walk into if you’re a creative.

Not everyone is going to like what you do. Some people won’t understand why you’ve made a particular item and probably won’t belive anyone will ever want to buy it. I know I haven’t shared my blog with certain people because I know they won’t understand why I talk so openly about my battle and eventual recovery of anorexia. I know they’ll probably criticism me for it and to save myself too long pointlessly defending my actions to someone who won’t want to listen, I simply don’t share it with them.

I know that many people will look at the stickers I’ve made with confusion and I don’t blame them.

The fear of the unknown is also a factor with being a creative. Not knowing what the reaction will be to the item they’ve lovingly created can cause a level of anxiety when the moment arrives to show it to the world. No matter how much reasearch you do, you’re never going to 100% know what the publics response will be and that’s a tad scary.

I’m grateful for my creativity, the way that it challenges not only my mind but my resilience. Thorough blogging on here I’ve developed a thicker skin, more assurance and confidence in myself and the understanding that not everyone has to like my work. These are 3 major life skills that I will take with me where ever I go, and for that I’m thankful.

And even though being creative means I’m facing the fear of the unknown and putting myself out there, I don’t think I’d have it any other way. Having a mind that is that bonkers, easily excitable with the unrelenting desire to create random things is fun. It keeps my life and spare time interesting and gives me a sence of accomplishment.

So what about you, how do you feel about being a creative? Have you found much opposition in your work, or do you still feel a level of vulnerability when you hit publish? Let me know in the comments and let’s see if we can get some conversations going.

To find the stickers featured in this post please click here!

Please note that they are only available to people in the UK at them moment whilst I work out shipping costs to elsewhere. If you’re not UK-based but are interested, pop me a message and we’ll work something out.

Happy creating all!

4 thoughts on “Putting yourself out there and the fear of the unknown- the life of a creative

  1. Interesting thoughts.

    I’ve always had a creative side to me that I’ve kept relatively hidden, except from close friends, and from people on the Internet who don’t know me in real life (i.e., you). I have my fiction blog, my nonfiction blog, and an animation project that I don’t think you know about. Part of the reason I keep it relatively hidden is because everyone is so hyper-sensitive about things these days, and working with children at a vulnerable age, I need to make sure I’m not saying anything that might be hurtful or damaging, or trying to promote myself to a captive audience for profit. I’ve wondered if I could ever make a career out of being creative. Who knows… maybe I could have. But I also kind of enjoy keeping my creative endeavors as hobbies not for profit, because then I’m not under any pressure to create, I can just do what I see fit.

    Good luck on the stickers. I can only see the “I need some space” sticker right now; is that the only one you have, or am I missing something to click on? I’ll keep an eye out for when you have details for shipping to the US.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The animation sounds interesting, would that be part of maths or something separate? I agree with what you’re saying, having to almost tiptoe around is difficult and creatively exhausting, especially for yourself with the age group you work with.

      Thank you, and yup just the one for the time being. I’m hoping to make more at some point.

      Liked by 1 person

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