Hey there! My name is Megan and I'm the sewing, pattern making girl behind Dolly Henry. This is my blog, where I share my own creative adventures and hope to meet fellow fabric enthusiasts. I also design and sell sewing patterns through my online boutique, alongside a beautiful collection of clothing and dolls. Thank you for stopping by!


Finding my Creative Rhythm

I've been taking part in the Business Bakery 100 Day Goal, which started May 1st. My goal was to improve my health and also gain some organization back into my daily life. It was a pretty loose goal, I had a few habits I wanted to start making a part of my daily routine but other than creating and sticking to those, I wasn't sure what to expect. 

It seems just having in mind that this is a goal I have set for myself, however casually I have approached it, has done quite a lot for me really. I've become braver and more confident. I'm learning to say no without feeling like a bad person for doing so, and I am also learning to put in boundaries with other people without those guilty feelings.

I've also found I am quite capable of working myself too hard and it's been in the last few days of the 100 day goal that I decided to sit down and make the creative schedule that had been on my goal to-do list (these are called micro-actions) The reason I haven't done so until now is because I have tried countless times before and a working schedule has never worked well for me.

The days have always been too unpredictable and my creativity with it. Throw in a shoulder that decides to be evil two weeks out of three and it's a very hard to create a rock solid schedule. I decided I needed a new word for it and I found Creative Rhythm was more to my liking. It feels more fluid and natural than 'Schedule.'

I sat down and decided I really needed to simplify this business of mine. This came after a particularly painful bout with my shoulder and I realized I had been complicating matters, as I am prone to do. I had also started the extremely bad habit of having a huge amount of tabs open in my internet browser again in an attempt to get more done, more quickly. I think I did this in my brain, too.

I'd leave the computer feeling like I needed half an hour to be sociable or even think clearly again, while my brain resurfaced deep from cyber space. I would take photos, edit photos, upload photos to website, write a blog post, write a product listing, put together a newsletter linking to those, facebook and instagram it....all in one insane session.

I'd stopped doing that a long time ago and there it was, slipping back in again! Multi-tasking and busily running from one tab to one screen. I was feeling frazzled! It also started making it hard for me to go to sleep because my brain was on overdrive and I had to make a concerted effort to start calming it back down, instead of letting that whirl of thoughts and ideas continue well until 1 am the next day. When my shoulder fired up badly again after a dormant period, I knew I had to change something.

So with my piece of paper, titled "My Creative Rhythm' I wrote a list of things to keep and things to stop. I realised that even if there were some things I really wanted to do or things that business advisors/gurus say to do to 'make your business better', trying to cover all bases wasn't working for me in my present season of life and with my physical limitations.

Sometimes good has to be good enough.

I made the decision to send a monthly newsletter from now on, instead of a newsletter each and every time I blog. I thought this was funny as I once struggled to do even a once a month newsletter and now I was making the decision to cut back!

I have decided to blog less, putting down once a week at the most. I love writing but I have to strike a bit of a better balance with creating because I can't run my arm and body ragged all day.

I was starting to get into the habit where I thought I had to be super active on social media again - well it's all a bit difficult pulling all those strings all by oneself! So I'll be reducing the hours I spend doing that. I spend a lot of time talking to people via message and that's important to me, along with replying to comments and chatting with my followers. (I don't really like that word!) I love interacting with other people online.

I'm going to work in sensible blocks again and take breaks, I won't take a huge amount of photos and then edit them afterwards. I'll have a break first! Or gulp, do them the next day!

I have grabbed a notebook and kept a running list, every time I think of something I have been jotting it down, instead of trying to remember it all in my head, which I do surprisingly but it's less stressful with paper.

Creatively I also feel really pulled towards making my dolls to sell right now, not the patterns or clothing, so I am going to go with that direction, for however long it lasts or for whatever purpose that is.

Making patterns takes me so much work in developing the design, testing the design and then the work that goes into the instructions and photography - it's enormous. I'd put the pressure on that I should be producing more patterns after I made Hazel - which oddly enough was a complete accident. I just made her for fun, then released the pattern months later at a plodding pace. Part of the reason it takes me so long is I have to be in the right frame of mind to write good clear instructions (lol!) I also have to spend awhile on the computer which is the arch-nemesis of my shoulder right now and creatively, I can't spend day in day out on a computer...if I could I might have gone into graphic design! It is also really important to me that my patterns are really good quality and give the maker a great experience not a stressful one, so this takes time. I also don't want to publish patterns for the sake of it - when I do write or share one of my designs, I want it to be something different!

On my goal list was to do Yoga each day - I have a 20 minute routine that I like (see it here) and I haven't really done it! It's necessary that I do because it helps realign my body after all the computer and sewing work, where the body is bent for quite a long time in very unnatural positions. My shoulder thanks me for Yoga.

I am going to VALUE MY TIME instead of thinking of all the things I didn't manage to get done! (yes I am yelling at myself here!)

It struck me when I went to town the other day, how insanely busy everyone is all the time. I imagine from a bird's eye view, we would look like ants when they are out in number and running around like the earth is about to flood for the second time. That in this particular point in time, it is really quite difficult to make the decision to slow down. To not push, push, push. To let good enough be good enough and to not pile the weight of the world on your shoulders. I heard once that busyness has become a badge of honour and I think that is a good summary of what society is like now. To make the conscious effort to not be busy is a bit weird to a lot of people. As if the idea of just accepting there are 24 hours in a day, sleep is necessary and therefore it is impossible to do it all (and to what end anyway!) so we might as well breathe deeply and relax just a bit. There are times when life is insane, I know that. It's just when it becomes a daily habit over a prolonged period of time, something has to give. And if we aren't careful it's usually our health (guilty!!) or good relationships with those closest to us (lots of people I know! Sadly.)

My creative rhythm is simple - to do less with greater impact. To choose quality over quantity. To take the time to enjoy a slower pace. To accept that I have a limited amount of time each day to accomplish something and to not feel bad if I don't achieve it right then and there. To breathe and smile and go about my work with more purpose and less 'chook running around with her head cut off'......

Can you relate?

Megan x

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