Monday, 11 March 2013

thoughts and ramblings

I hold back a lot on this blog because I want it to be a positive place - but I've been thinking a lot recently about what I want from my blog. I've mentioned before that I started this blog as a sort of online journal, and what else is a journal for if not for writing down your thoughts and ramblings, positive or negative, good or bad? so I will be making writing down these snippets of my inner monologue a sort of semi-regular feature on here, whenever the mood takes me.

lately I seem to have been almost overwhelmed by feelings of negativity and inadequacy. no-one is to blame but myself for these feelings. I always want to be the best at everything, all the time, and I find it incredibly hard to let go of things, even if I know deep down that I will end up regretting it. I have a typical spoilt brat attitude about not being the best at things - even at university, if I didn't do well in a class I would automatically start hating that class, and try to skip it as much as possible.

take for example, my lookbook. I decided I wanted to put together a digital (and hopefully also printed) lookbook of some of my jewellery on models, styled really nicely, so that I have something to show people other than just the product shots of my jewellery, and also because I think it helps create hype around a business. so obviously the sensible thing would be to hire a photographer, right? NO. zoe can do it herself. she has a camera, she studied photography. yes, a professional photographer could do a better job, and the pictures would look better, but they wouldn't be MY photos. so I take the photos myself and, predictably, I am not totally happy. partly because I am NEVER happy with anything I do myself. and partly because I am not a good enough photographer to get the style of photos I wanted.

I knew this beforehand, yet I still went ahead and did the photos myself, and then I just end up getting more and more annoyed with myself for not admitting that I need help. It's so hard though - this business is my baby. I love looking around at what I have achieved and going 'heck yes, I did all of this' and by letting other people do things like take the photos, design the graphics, build the website, and so on, I am giving up my claim on certain aspects of that. I know, I know, just because someone else took your lookbook photos for you, doesn't mean the business is no longer mine. But sometimes it really feels that way. There are times where I will just not do something important because I can't do it myself, and I don't want to let someone else do it for me. HOW RIDICULOUS IS THAT?! 

also, without even really realising it, I've started comparing myself and my business to other people/other businesses. it is something I promised myself from the start I wouldn't do - I wanted to make my own path and not try to get into that 'oh so and so does trade shows so I should be doing trade shows' and that sort of thinking. but here I am, looking on another jewellery company's website, wishing I had a flashy website with its own webstore. WHY? I'm perfectly happy with my own website (although I am giving it a makeover in the next few weeks.) it's nothing amazing, but I made it myself and it does what I wanted. so what if it doesn't have a slideshow of pictures on the front page? I didn't even know you could HAVE a slideshow on a website front page, but now that I've seen this I suddenly NEED one. whoever said 'comparison is the thief of joy' was more right than they could ever realise!

please tell me I'm not the only creative/freelancer/small business owner that thinks like this at times? I know I go through phases of feeling like this - other times I will be really happy with what I'm doing, and just be really focused on my own business. but right now I just feel stuck in a rut of inadequacy!

(I hope this hasn't been too text heavy or boring or moany for you guys? I'd love to hear your feedback if you like this style of post or not?)


  1. I constantly finish a piece of work and then HATE it, to the point where I can't even LOOK at it. I think most creatives feel very similar to this Zo, just not many of them openly talk about it.
    I love you, you're always the best in my eyes :)

  2. Zoe you are absolutely not alone!! I go through the same thing every week-it's part of the creative process I think but I hate feeling so negative sometimes! I wish I could avoid making comparisons but I don't think it's possible. The best thing is to see what others are doing and learn things from them, take inspiration but always stay true to yourself :-) xxx


  3. Hahaha, DITTO! I am the same and more (or so it feels in my own head). I go crazy looking at other people who are doing a similar thing, thinking I am not original, I may as well give up. I also look at other peoples sales on Etsy which are always more than mine. I think that's unfortunately the way it is (or so I've told myself) but I'm a total nut bar though so I wouldn't listen to anything I say.

    My dad showed me this article a few weeks ago from the weekend supplement, and I really like it, I don't know if it's particularly relevant to you but it makes you realise that a lot of creative people think the same way and worry a lot too.


    Anyway, you're doing really great. I bet the look book photos are lovely. I hope you share them :)


    1. Sorry, the 'stay on the fucking bus' looks a little harsh now I look at the comment... Haa. I spose I just mean keep going and don't worry.

    2. Ohhh, I just read this too, thanks Isabel... I think most paths are going to have been taken by someone, but keeping on it AND recognising it as your own journey is such good advice!

  4. I completely & utterly understand how you feel. I think it's almost impossible not to.
    It's so hard not to compare yourself to others, when in the modern age of social media, there are constant updates of the new & amazing things everyone is doing.
    But you have to remember your doing your own amazing things too.
    It's so easy to get so frustrated with what you want to achieve and all the ideas you have.
    But you just have to look back at what you have done so far in so little time and get excited for the things to come.
    That's lovely & you get to make a career out of something you love.
    x x x

  5. ohhh my days, I'm right there with you, id go so far as to say that there isn't a day that goes by where i feel that StuffedNonsense is inadequate compared to other businesses. I've come to realize that there is no logic to these its just something my crazy brain has to think and that working through it and continuing to try to achieve my dreams is part of life...a creative 'deal' that i didn't shake hands's just that way. So, try not to worry when you feel it too, i bet you that there is someone that looks at ladybird likes and thinks...'i wish i was that good'
    Feel better soon!

  6. Good on you for sharing, it's very brave to expose your feelings in any kind of public forum.
    I know how you feel, as I'm sure a lot of readers will. If you're not instantly brilliant at something, it is so easy to give up, especially when you start noticing all of the people that are better than you at said tasks!
    By delegating certain things to third parties, you are in no less control of your business, you are just being smart!
    I have been trying to write a novel for two years and it keeps coming to a standstill at the same point. It wasn't until I stopped trying to be like so many others I admire, that this month I decided to write in the way I wanted to, a lo and behold the words are flowing!
    Carry on doing what you're doing, girl.
    "The race is long and in the end it is only with yourself" xxx

  7. oh goodness!! I know just how you feel!! It is really hard to keep thoughts of comparison from your mind but just know that you are amazing and I love all your photos and everything you've done + accomplished!! You're doing GREAT Zoe!! Keep up the fantastic work!! xoxo

  8. I completely agree with everything you said here. Always trying to do everything myself, and comparing everything i do with other people. You've managed to explain it so much better than i ever could though!! You're detinitely not alone :) xx

  9. Absolutely. Everyone feels like this. It's when our fear of it not being good enough yet stops us from doing what we want to do, then it's a problem.

    But I think every small business owner, or aspiring business owner wants to think they can do it all themselves. It's a pride thing. And an ownership thing.
    It's ok to recognise that other people have different strengths.

  10. I hear you, Zoe! One of the things I struggle with the most is letting go, whether it's in admitting that I need help with something, or in holding on to tiny little things I said or did 'wrong'. Isn't it crazy how we can recognise what our mind is doing to us, and that it's having a negative impact on our life, but still we let it repeat the same thought patterns, again and again?! I guess the key is to try to 'beat' the mind; to watch it carefully and 'catch' it before the negative thoughts become out of control. ...easy, right?!!

    I love your work and admire everything you come up with! I do hope you share those lookbook photos :)
    Love this kind of post, too - bring 'em on! :)

  11. I think this happens to everyone who loves what they are doing... I've hit the same brick wall with my photography course - I keep looking at it and thinking 'what the hell am I doing?' 'who would pay for this?'... and then I get frustrated with myself for thinking like that, instead of just getting on with it...

    I don't think its necessarily an unhealthy thing, its just the line between inspiration and comparison is so thin and that combined with temperament, lack of sleep or stubbing your toe (anything really)... can mean you're either one side of the line or the other.

    I always try to just ride these moments out - not force myself into doing anything, because I'll just resist it even more, I'm stubborn too and my own worst enemy, but trying to be patient with myself and taking my mid of it for a bit often helps. This will pass definitely.

    I bet your look book photos are great and you know I'm a huge fan of your business and you - if you need anything, let me know xxxx

    p.s. have you seen this?

  12. p.p.s. I totally believe in you. You have worked so incredibly hard Zoe, I don't think you realise how much you've really achieved :) you are amazing!

  13. everyone beat me to it, but you are doing AWESOMELY! We are all very jealous of ladybirdlikes! Just thought I would let you know that Jacques is desperate for the scrolling photos on the website front page, so much so that I had to build the whole website with this in mind! (ARGH)




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