Welcome to the final part of a IV part series on vulnerability.
Through this series I’ve tried to share with you what vulnerability can mean to us artists as we struggle to define ourselves in the creative space and build small businesses that, let’s be real, are direct reflections of us and our hearts.
In part III of this series, Lisa Hetrick of IndigoJade Creative and IndigoJade Art shared with us how she navigates social media as a business owner and creative who for years has helped small businesses tell their story.
And in this final part I share my story and how vulnerability led me to start this blog.
I hope you enjoy. Here’s to being vulnerable!
Okay guys, I’m finally doing it. I’m finally sitting down to write this blog post on vulnerability. I’m pushing that big old ego aside that has been telling me not to share, that has been dwelling in fear, and I’m diving in.
Before the Blog
I’ve never been a particularly outgoing person. As a child I adopted the approach to life that it was best to just blend in to the background…to not draw attention to myself. I learned to be a good listener versus a talker because that was safe.
Now fast forward several decades. As has happened to many of us, I met and fell in love with surface design. along with this love came an overwhelming urge to share what I was learning and to do it in a way that would help support other artists.
So I bit the bullet. And even though my ego was saying no, I started this blog and quickly jumped on Instagram. I decided to step out of the shadows into the light. I decided to put myself out there, to be vulnerable, because I wanted to be brave. I wanted to share what I was learning. I wanted to share something I was passionate about.
Deciding to Do It
So, how did I convince myself to start blogging? Well, I kind of tricked myself:
- I told myself no one would read it. It would just be an online journal to track my experiments in surface design.
- I started the blog anonymously. I didn’t put my last name on the blog and didn’t post a profile photo. I kept a distance between me and what I was putting out there in the world
Still, even after taking these steps I procrastinated like crazy! Guys, it took me two months to finally get over myself and just publish the blog!
What I’ve Learned
But now, ten months into blogging, I will tell you that I am so happy I did it, that I decided to be vulnerable.
- I’ve grown as a writer and have learned how to manage a blog. I have a whole new skill set I can add to my resume.
- I’ve had the opportunity to meet and interact with amazing designers and artists. Every single one of the designers I’ve featured here on the blog I now consider part of my tribe. I hope I can support them and their work for a long time to come.
- I’ve learned a lot more than I think I would have about what it takes to be a surface pattern designer. By researching content and returning week after week to this topic I’ve learned. A lot.
- Most of all, I’ve learned that I can put myself out there and show myself to others and that they will embrace me and encourage me. I’ve learned that when you put yourself out there, and are your genuine authentic self, others will respond in kind.
There is freedom that comes from being vulnerable, from letting out a deep breath and saying here’s me, here’s my art. This is it.
And yeah, about a month after I started blogging a very sweet, well-intentioned friend outed me as the person behind the blog. So there you go, no more anonymous blogging!
Advice for Other Designers
Embrace vulnerability on your terms. What looks right for me, the way that I am vulnerable in this world – to my peers, to my friends – will be different from how you are vulnerable and that is okay.
Set limits. I am happy to talk to you all day and night about design, about my pattern work, to tell you how my day has gone and to share with you fun things I’ve been up to, but I do not talk on my blog about my family and what our personal life is like. I’m keeping that to myself. And I’m willing to be vulnerable enough to say, here’s what I will share with you and give to you of myself, and here is what I will hold back. That has got to be enough for you and if it’s not then feel free to walk away.
Don’t let social media control you or your art. It is so easy to become obsessed with how many likes you have or how many people are following you. To be swayed to design in a specific way because those designs get lots of attention. I’d encourage you to use social media as a tool to make connections and share your work, but not let it control how you create. Your creativity is yours, hold it close.
Set your intentions first. The main reason I write this blog is because I want to use it as a vehicle to support members of our surface pattern design community. Maybe someday I will sell my patterns, but for now this is my focus. I love connecting with all of you and I love sharing designers here in this space. And while I enjoy showing you my pattern work too, that is secondary. I always try to remember my focus and why I’m showing-up here with a new blog post each week.
And so that’s it, my vulnerability story. And because I don’t quite know how to end this post, I’ll leave you with these words from Brene Brown:
“What makes you vulnerable, makes you beautiful”