Monday, July 31, 2017

Throwing in the Towel on the #100DayProject, ADD or the Challenge of a Multipotentialite?

It's been a month since I quit the #100DayProject challenge. It wasn't my Attention Deficit issue that led me off-course and I'm glad I recognized the difference. I wanted to finish the challenge. Instead it's the fact I am an artist AND writer, I work and create more than one line of products that aren't similar in production and design. When I scan ETSY shops I'm envious of the illustrators who stick to selling just prints, or artisans or jewelers with branded signature shops featuring one kind of product instead of offering a variety of collections in one shop.

Aside from dreaming up new funny stuff for this shop: SmirkingGoddess, and working on my illustrations for this shop: SuzanneUrbanArt,  I also manage a shop for my husband's Vintage Hi-Fi Museum. The latter two aren't getting the updates they need yet. Add to the Urban plate that I take on wholesale orders and freelance commissions, including a weeding service for local residents to keep money flowing, and a volunteer for this program: The Windsor Monarch Project  and I'm all tapped out for time. Oh and then there's the basic household chores so my home doesn't look like a frat house. So you see, even a woman who doesn't have kids, who works at home–(full-time), finds it hard to commit to a seemingly simple challenge-framework because creatively speaking, her fingers are stuck in too many pies.

 Time management is an issue for we Attention Deficits, this stumbling block leads me to silently chastise myself for not getting enough done in a day. But, I'm also aware that I like to delve into a variety of creative areas. My concern over not finishing the #100DayProject challenge led me back to Puttylike a Blog by author and creative entrepreneur Emilie Juliette Wapnick who coined the phrase "Multi-Potentialite" a term to describe those of us who literally can't narrow down and specialize in one field or in my case in one medium.

And of course we live in a culture, as described by Ms. Wapnick that demands we follow one career path. But there are some who succeed in defying tunnel-vision expectations.

So here I am working on new gag lines for my line of magnets and pinbacks, check, trying to finish my new line of signs–taking time as I try to find the right wood planks to order for this line, and the other shop? I'm straddling the fence between my new Pink Pussy Hat illustrated bookmarks, I re-drew the characters recently, this happens a lot where I am two-thirds done with a project and it just doesn't set right with me and back to the drawing table go I. I've also put shooting several gingerbread men ornaments on hold–they're finished, but need to be photographed; and I'm now investigating the new medium of spun cotton.  And to finance my ETSY business and help pay bills, I placed an ad on Facebook that I'm available to weed area gardens, and inquiries are rolling in.

So it goes, for those of us Multi-Potentialites who want to succeed but are juggling what seems like as many balls as there are stars in the sky.

Are you a Multi-Potentialite? Please comment below.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Day 51 and 52 #100DayProject My Newest Work Tied Up in Product Development

 My #100DayProject

Perform one simple task a day to assist me in becoming more creatively productive and consistent in my studio. All tasks can be followed with a reward to encourage consistency.

Back In the Saddle Yet Again

Now that the community volunteer project I was involved in has wound down for a while, I'm back in the studio after a two-week hiatus. Resting on my desk were two WIP's-(works in progress). One I'm creating funky angel/fairy ornaments from sheets of plastic I've kept to upcycle. This project so far has no hitches. But the other project. . .

The Other Project–Shelf Sitter Christmas Blocks

I'm expanding my funny magnets and pinbacks onto signs and blocks for the upcoming season. I've put this project off due to busy orders and product development snafus. What sounds easy to do isn't. so the signs are on hold, but staring at a basket of vintage children's play blocks left by the former owner of our antique home, I had an idea to create small shelf sitters with some of my funny quotes on them.

First in Product Development–Decision Making

First I had to decide which of my copy to select for this line of vintage blocks. Secondly, I had to measure the blocks and re-create my round magnet design in a rectangle shape. I decided to create a line of Christmas themed blocks that one could purchase as a set, or alone.

The Snafuls 

Despite accurate measuring, I had to adjust the size of my template for the image. Secondly, when working with your design on a computer screen, text is readable, the design looks bright and crisp. Upon printing out, three of my designs didn't read well, the font I chose was too thin in line and curly. Back to the computer to fix fonts. I also found a typo after this print out. I re-printed out and this happened. The color was totally off. Since I have a high end inkjet printer my print-outs usually need 24 hours to dry, I switched to painting the blocks a deep burgundy and called it a day.

Moving Forward

I reprinted on the second day and the color adjusted correctly, yay! I sandpapered the blocks for an aged look and varnished for protection. Next, hopefully with no further snafus I can complete this project.

The Christmas block snafus tied me up for two days, but sometimes a project is more challenging and gets tabled for far longer. This is part of the process of a creative maker who needs to get their work up online, in front of the public to sell so she/he can return to their studio and do it all over again. But to the non-makers out there, this is why our handcrafted items are priced to protect our time invested. So much more goes behind a handmade product than you'll eve guess.

My Reward for Sticking with Studio Tasks:


Back in the garden I finally completed some much needed rock-scaping between my two raised-bed garden boxes. Hallelujah!

My name is Suzanne Urban I sell my funny magnets  pinbacks here: SmirkingGoddess and my art here: SuzanneUrbanDesigns

Monday, June 19, 2017

Day50 #100DayProject When I've Piled Too Much On My Plate

 My #100DayProject

Perform one simple task a day to assist me in becoming more creatively productive and consistent in my studio. All tasks can be followed with a reward to encourage consistency.

I've been absent from posting for thirteen days. I'm sure some thought I failed again in sticking with My #100DayProject challenge. The Challenge is over for many who started earlier than I. And many stuck to it with no roadblocks, they kept their heads firmly bowed over the drawing table.

Why I've Been Absent from Posting:

I created a roadblock for myself that pushed me off track. I got swept up in an exciting community project without realizing how much it would impact my studio time. I am a people-pleaser as well as an artist/writer who suffers from ADD. I'm glad I got involved,  and plan to STAY involved with this project, but it taught me that I never put the brakes on and eagerly respond "Yay!" without qualifying what is expected of me.

After being absent from my studio for two plus weeks, thus getting behind on work to be launched in my ETSY shops this Fall, I finally admitted to myself; in this world today, with so much help needed by so many, I still don't fit the criteria to be a volunteer, my time is maxed out. I'm also on a tight budget right now so I'm frustrated that I can't  give beyond signing online petitions. I'm not saying others aren't busy, I'm simply stating for the ADD artist in their own business, donating time must be carefully scrutinized.

Most Artists/Artisans/Professional Makers aren't the Volunteer Profile

Creative professionals perform several functions, we are the Product Development lab, the photographer, retail clerk, order processor, PR and marketing person for what we make. In corporations each of these assignments are a whole separate department. Everything we create is made from scratch with with our own two hands. Our job is more than 9-5, so where and when can we find time to volunteer? If we don't sell, we don't eat and paying bills stops. We aren't the best demographic for volunteer jobs.

Product Development is the Most Time Consuming of our Tasks 

 I have tons of WIP's (works in progress) waiting to finish because of snafus in product development. For one I need to buy electric scissors, another take out the sewing machine, another test a variety of clays for ornaments.  I have ten webinars in the queue yet to watch to help me build my small business, the list goes on. Oh and I have a deadline on a small painting at the end of this month.  All this needs to be done around managing my magnet/pinback business for my first ETSY shop. On top of this I am on the board and am the webmaster/graphic designer and PRperson of my husband's museum:

Know that Your Time is Valuable No Matter What:

Just because I don't get paid for some of my behind the scenes work, or I haven't soared my ETSY shops into a higher income producing bracket yet, it doesn't mean my time isn't at a premium. And I need that time to succeed as an entrepreneur. The creative ADD adult has to learn they can't do everything and drop a project when a new thought comes into their head. And the people pleaser has  to stop being the avid joiner–or if you do join, let the team know what you can and cannot do up front. Luckily in this case the organizer is an incredibly professional person and understood that I couldn't show up for one of the days. But as time went on, I was becoming more forgetful, and this not only doesn't do me any good, but also the team that's working on the volunteer project.

Now that things have settled down for a bit, I will be back on track tomorrow with my #100DayProject self-challenge.

The above magnet is available my Etsy Shop SmirkingGoddess™ it also comes in print form. I am also an artist and and sell my illustrations here: SuzanneUrbanArt

  •  Ask the organizer what your tasks would be and a breakdown of time involved share that you're in your own business so your work hours are longer than nine-to-five

  • Is Organizer a pro? Or are they using guilt to coerce your involvement, do they seem to know the lay of the land in working with others? Mine did, I've learned a lot from her
    and this project, I also value her time-involvement too. In other words this volunteer job has some win-wins for me and on a greater level for our town, it may very well become a tourist/visitor draw. Hello economic development!
  •  Is a larger entity behind this project, in our case it was the town, are their sponsor to help pay for supplies and anything else you might have to buy to help get the job done
  • Are you passionate about the cause and really believe in it? Or did you say yes to people-please?
  • Are you being asked to donate your Art, or other product made by you for free? Learn from my lesson. I used to donate two weeks to create something for a charity event with the lure of  "we highly publicize this event and your work!", I never gleaned any patrons and lost time and money (supplies). As a former professor of mine said, "first time is experience, second is exploitation". WHY? Why does the musician get paid, the caterer get paid and the Artist is supposed to perform for FREE? And mind you I was asked to perform for free in two of the richest communities in America.
  • If you're asked to donate an already made work of art/handmade product for a charity auction, be aware that if the bids are lackluster, this can impact your art marketplace value
  • This may sound terrible, but is there a win-win for you if you volunteer? Will your task look good on a resumé? Can you trade for free advertising? Think in terms of a trade on some level and you might see that the organization will work with you in return for your donating reasonable volunteer time

    I'm all for helping out and volunteering, but I'm also all for those like me who find time management difficult and our budgets are tight.



Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Day 49 #100DayProject Self-Challenge-Adding more to the Plate Makes Me Forgetful

My #100DayProject

Perform one simple task a day to assist me in becoming more creatively productive and consistent in my studio. All tasks can be followed with a reward to encourage consistency.

ADD Doesn't Mean you're Stupid, it Means your Mind is Overloaded

Due to working for a community project I and a neighbor started up, I've added more work to my plate. One thing I've observed during this time is when I take on another project, one that requires working with others, and assimilating new information, I get more forgetful. First I panic and think something's really wrong with me, then I realize this happens when my workload is increased, I get scattered until I mentally adjust to the new influx of information.

Back when I was in school, I actually believed my mind could only contain a certain amount of information in a learning environment, why? Because I thought I wasn't that bright. Although there were many instances where I realized I knew more than someone whom I assumed was smarter than I. I put everyone on the smarter than Suzanne pedestal, this was because back then, ADD hadn't been discovered as a legitimate learning disorder. I didn't understand why I could be so forgetful, why I had trouble retrieving information from an article I just read. ADD wasn't acknowledged then, if you were forgetful, you were stupid or irresponsible. For me, it meant designating me into "C" groups until I worked my way out of them into B groups and even got invited into an advance history class in high school, I declined as I didn't think I would do well in it. I constantly protected this invisible learning disorder  because, again, I thought I wasn't very smart. ADD means you're not stupid, in fact, in my last job working in an elementary school, I learned that intelligence and ADD can sometimes go hand-in-hand. Wow, imagine that! I often wonder how much easier my life would've been if I'd been born 25 years later. . .

My Small Task for the Day

My small task for the day was two-fold, due to current POTUS, I find I'm signing more petitions, and emailing my representatives on a regular basis. The social cause emails were clogging my two work-related email addresses for two separate ETSY shops. I finally created a separate email address for signing petitions, and contacting congress. I also unsubscribed from a lot of online garden catalogs. A shorter influx of emails helps me to become less distracted. Secondly I made time to listen to some small business webinars that had stacked up in my email boxes.

My Reward for Tasks Completed

My Reward for the day was planting a purple Spiderwort next to our mustard colored house and a few in the back garden area I'm creating. Adding beauty and order in our yard is profoundly calming for me and my nervous but active mind. So glad our home is situated in an area where we don't have deer visitors.

My name is Suzanne Urban I am an artist and gag writer. I sell my work here on ETSY: SmirkingGoddess and my art here: SuzanneUrbanArt

Friday, June 2, 2017

Day 48 #100DayProject Estimating Time for a Project

 My #100DayProject

Perform one simple task a day to assist me in becoming more creatively productive and consistent in my studio. All tasks can be followed with a reward to encourage consistency.

Oops! I Might not Make it in a Week

My tactic of rewarding myself after performing tasks to further my creative productivity is working. However,  this recent success has made me overly-enthusiastic in estimating a time frame for finishing some projects. In this case, painting my studio ceiling.

Lesson Learned 

 I think I'm going to need more than one week to finish. Why? Because I can't use a roller, rollers make paint spatter, moving all my furniture out of the studio isn't an option, no room to do so. So even with Pandora Radio playing, I'm finding boredom and weariness take over and I have to take-a-break for the day. What I forgot is labor intensive bland jobs are hard for my Attention Deficit mind. Painting the walls were easier, but a ceiling? Uncomfortable and hard. Well, a lesson learned. Normally when I discover that I was off in my estimation for completing a job, my confidence level falters, or I plow ahead so hard, that mistakes are made, or I push myself beyond exhaustion, none are good alternatives as I suffer through the chosen response, even with a reward at the end. But now I have a new tool to use. For future tasks, I will keep in mind what kind of task I have to perform and complete–is it rote? Boring? Physically uncomfortable–before estimating the time-frame to finish. 


 My name is Suzanne Urban I am an artist and writer. I sell my funny stuff on ETSY like the magnet to the left here: and my art here: SuzanneUrbanArt

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Day 47 #100DayProject-Almost Half Way Through the Challenge!

 My #100DayProject

Perform one simple task a day to assist me in becoming more creatively productive and consistent in my studio. All tasks can be followed with a reward to encourage consistency.

I'm almost half way through my #100DayProject self-challenge. I'm finding my simplifying my challenge and being honest about how my attention deficit issues interfere with finishing projects has helped me to move forward to create a studio space that will enhance my creative productivity.

Let There Be Light.

I'm almost done painting my studio, walls are done, but ceiling yet to do. The lighter color already is reflecting more light streaming in from my studio's one window. I feel confident I can get the ceiling done by next week. However, I'm frustrated that I haven't been working on any art projects for my second ETSY shop: SuzanneUrbanArt but I need to get this larger task done first. I'm methodical by nature, and though I can work on a couple of projects simultaneously, Larger projects need my full attention to complete in order to move forward, otherwise I get overwhelmed. I continue to reward myself with gardening projects or other fun activities and this is why I've been able to stick to this challenge.

Above, I opted to paint the back of my desk a.k.a. as drawing table, some artists don't notice aesthetics when it comes to their work-space, I do. I need to work in a visually attractive and organized space to produce. This isn't totally due to my ADD issue as much as it's having grown up in an environment where there was a lot of disorganization. As a child I would clean up after others, straighten areas, and at times be too embarrassed to invite playmates into my home. This experience profoundly affected me. I'm not like Mr. Monk, with a sterile house, but I do prefer order, and planned decor to keep me focused and happy. Some don't mind disorganized homes, and can work among the mess. I don't know how they can do that. Sometimes I wonder if that is a control issue, as I've noticed this in past jobs where the manager kept  a disorganized department, making it hard for subordinates to find files and other pertinent documents without the help of said manager. That way, they're always in charge.

My name is Suzanne Urban my funny stuff like the magnet to the left are available to purchase in my ETSY shop here: SmirkingGoddess
and my art and art products here: SuzanneUrbanArt

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Day 46 #100DayProject Returning to the Challenge

My #100DayProject

Perform one simple task a day to assist me in becoming more creatively productive and consistent in my studio. All tasks can be followed with a reward to encourage consistency.

Yet again another dreary, cloudy day in Connecticut. But I'm ready to finish painting the last wall of my studio and start on the ceiling. I can't wait till it's all finished, already the new color, Golden Straw is cheering me up. Due to the dreary day,  I was feeling a bit sluggish, but the work got done! I even started in on my my desk project as seen here. My biggest challenge today was keeping our Calico's inspecting nose out of the paint.

What Was My Reward Work?

I allowed myself to surf on Craigslist, there is an antique garden cart I so want, and a Rubbermaid shed storage for tools. I need to sell more on ETSY to acquire each.

My name is Suzanne Urban I sell my funny stuff like the magnet to the left on ETSY here: SmirkingGoddess and my illustrated art here: SuzanneUrbanArt