Since my last post about the cat bags I have been hard at work creating, designing, and organising ready for what I’m hoping to become a successful collection of cat themed art and Bethanie’s Place merch. I’ll scatter photos of what I’ve been up to in this post. I’m currently waiting on two designs of prints, two designs of stickers, and the rest of the pieces I’m working on will be handmade by me. I’ve also received several pet portrait commissions this month, which has been the one of the most time and energy consuming things I’ve been working on. Putting the physical creating aside, the pressure of having a constant and engaging presence on social media is something that has been a huge player in my growing anxiety and that’s what I want to talk about today.
In mid April when I started to put more effort into Instagram, connected a Facebook page, and later jumped into Twitter I found myself balancing a lot and I was relatively unprepared. At first I felt myself able to keep on top of it, and the rush of the impact that it had on my sales pushed me to keep up and keep posting. However, coming towards the end of May, several group chats deep, and with a more present audience, I began to feel overwhelmed. I can’t begin to imagine with my anxiety as it is how it would feel so be actually known online and have something that a large and demanding audience wants. The reality for me is that no one expects anything at all from me yet, and I need to tell myself that when I put pressure on myself to keep up with the algorithms and other artists. Even if someone somewhere did have expectations that still would not call for my putting anything before my mental well-being. This is something I hope everyone who finds themselves in a similar position can learn to do.
Regardless I continue to make bigger and bolder plans, and I am still reaching for those goals of making this a business that can support my family and provide a comfortable life for us. This desire is in a constant battle with my anxiety, on one hand my brain wants me to create and succeed and the other side wants me to do nothing, avoid failure, and stay unknown. I’m working on a schedule to take the pressure off of managing my social media, and I’m setting myself realistic goals that don’t inevitably lead to a sense of failure for not having reached an unattainable goal. Too many times in my life I have let my anxiety prevent me from jumping in head first and doing the creative things that I really wanted to. I wouldn’t like to guess quite how many blogs, social media pages, YouTube channels, and projects I have started and then shut down because my anxiety became too much.
We have all found ourselves in this terrifying new world and we’re all handling it in our own ways. To begin with my anxiety pushed me to be more creative, and to keep creating until I felt better. Without meaning to in pushing myself to be more creative I added more to my plate to be anxious about, and I’ve ended up in a tricky to navigate mental state. Honestly writing this out is helping me figure it out already, or at least understand what’s been going on in my brain recently. I feel positive coming out of this, and I feel like I have the support system and strength where I am in my life now to see this through and not let this be yet another project that I drop.
I have so much to share here and on my soon to be active Youtube channel. As difficult as this will be, it will be worth it! I’m so grateful for the support I’ve received over the past two months, and for all of the wonderful artists I’ve met. I have been so inspired and encouraged by so many wonderful people, and I’m excited to continue to build Bethanie’s Place so that I can share my excitement and successes with others who have been where I am or who are on the same journey. I hope you’ve enjoyed the glimpses of my incoming cat pieces I’ve scattered throughout this post, and I can’t wait to share more about that with you. I really wanted to write this piece to kick off the week as I feel it’s important to be open and honest, and I hope that in time this might become a place people who are starting out can come to and seek reassurance and find encouragement here to continue to grow.
Thank you so much for stopping by today and reading, I have so much more to come. See you soon!