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Wednesday, July 11, 2012


I'm aware the title to this post sounds somewhat dramatic, but I have become aware that whenever I have completed a major project, in this case, Coronation Knits, I suffer an emotional and physical crash. I usually come down with something, a bad cold or flu, am extremely tired, can't focus on tasks yet can't sleep and can't stop thinking. These 'symptoms' have now occurred after each book I have worked on or each major event that has taken place over the last few years. In one of the forthcoming interviews in the Coronation Knits blog tour, Woolly Wormhead asked me about the good and bad about being a self publisher and running my own business. And without a doubt 'PPCF' is one of the bad. Once a book is published the hard work continues with publicity, sales, marketing, distribution, more promotion, costings analysis, all sorts of less exciting tasks than designing but as a self publisher, all tasks that have to be performed and done by me. And this is were it gets so hard. How do you balance needing to take a break with what should be one of the busiest periods of a book project? Up to now I would say I basically haven't been very good at finding this balance and have either made myself more ill by trying to push through the physical and mental barriers or I haven't followed up the publication of a title in the best way to make the most out of things. Any one or two person small business with the sort of limited resources that many really small businesses have must surely experience the same problem. How do you get it all to balance? Is it even possible to do so? This blog tour has been a great aid to some self analysis and has given me a lot of food for thought about how I need to go about dealing with this whole process in a far more organised and planned way. I'm not saying I'll actually manage to make it happen but I'm going to give it a go. I can't afford a Project Manager unfortunately so I'm going to have to get better at it myself. And for me that seems to be the reality of being my own boss – at this point in time, I'm my own everything! And there isn't a way round that. I have been on business planning courses where they tell you to concentrate on the things you are good at and the unique benefits you bring to the business and get other people to do the things you can't do as well or don't feel are valuable ways to be spending your time. In an ideal world that is what I should do, but in the world that I live in, where finding the money for the mortgage each month is a real achievement, outsourcing any task is a major decision which may impact on being able to pay the electricity bill when it arrives.

I do hope this post isn't coming across as a feel sorry for me post as it certainly didn't set out to be that. But micro businesses in the UK make up a huge percentage of all businesses in this country, and many of them are run by women, trying to balance all sorts of work and family commitments and I'm sure many have the same issues as I do. And I would be really interested in any thoughts anyone has about how you may have made it work, made it easier, found more hours in the day, managed to grow a money tree in the back garden! Anything really. Because despite PPCF I really love what I do but I need to find better ways of doing it so that I can continue to do this for a long time to come.

Now I am going to go and knit without feeling guilty. And don't forget to keep following the Coronation Knits blog tour. I'm currently visiting the amazing Tasha's blog and will be stopping at Tom's next where there will also be a chance to win some beautiful Juno Fibres yarn to make the Diamond Stole from the book.

For now
Ruby xx


Gerry said...

Rewards & treats to get you through, that's my theory. Not always cake-based (but increasingly so in my case).

I feel childishly rebellious when I've had to discipline myself over a long period of time, or an ongoing project drags on & on. I want to do something inappropriate and silly - sometimes not a bad idea to give way to it by way of catharsis ... a stupid evening out with friends or afternoon in town can feel like a reward, you get it out of your system and then knuckle down back to the hard graft!

Well that's the theory anyway ...

fourkid said...

I am afraid I am not much help on that problems - though it seems to me it is a normal result of anyone involved in a challenging project when they come to the end of it. Maybe just recognizing what is happening is an important first step - then trying to make some down time each day until you can get back to normalcy. Maybe even schedule a complete day off as needed.

I also wanted to say I just received your book and so love just looking at it. I am a novice knitter - and know these are not beginner projects - but I intend to slog through one anyway; I love a challenge. I was wondering which project or two you would consider the least challenging. I can't really tell.

And finally - I just noticed you sell your own yarn! Do you only sell in the UK?

knutty knitter said...

I'm well acquainted with this syndrome but my answers are mostly to take a couple of weeks off. Maybe you could do this before publishing the book. I've never found a cure but one of my teachers way back then used to just cancel classes for a fortnight after a big event because she knew jolly well that nobody would be capable of turning up.

viv in nz

Anonymous said...

I feel a bit the same way about my dissertation. I got my proposal in last week, after weeks of work with no break. Really I needed to get on with writing the thing straight away, but the fatigue set in.

I find the best thing to do is to take 1-2 days off. Properly, deliberately off - don't think about things you should be doing, just think about relaxing and regrouping. By relaxing I don't mean doing nothing though. Housework, laundry etc is permitted if you subscribe to the tidy house, tidy mind philosophy (I can't relax until my flat is tidy so that's always first on the list). Get 8 hours of sleep, get up in the morning, eat a good breakfast and go and do something. I actually find that's a better way of beating the fatigue than doing nothing or sleeping in.