How not to go mad when you work on your own!
I’ve worked solo for about 4 years now - I have a lovely little studio/shed/workshop in my rather messy and overgrown garden, and I’ve come to love working out there in all weathers. But, I have found a few ways to stop myself going completely bonkers!
Not my best quality, but I do try to practice it. I loosely plan my day, literally when I will be having lunch, making dinner or meeting a friend for coffee. I find if I walk into the workshop with the day spreading out like a blank sheet in front of me, my stomach sinks. So I might allocate 8-11am for making up orders, 11-12 for coffee, computer time and hanging out the washing, a bit more workshop work till lunchtime, then a walk to the Post Office, coffee with a friend, then home for a chat with the kids, a spot of sewing and dinner making. Each day is different, and fluid, but planned.
To myself, to the birds, to the radio (thank goodness for Radio 4 and 6Music!) and ‘virtual’ chatting - Whatsapp, texting, messenger, instagram, words with friends! I try to give myself 10 minutes off here and there to catch up with friends and family.
In the house I’m pretty tidy, I find visual noise fairly annoying and will try to keep everything neat and tidy, but in the workshop?! Hah! It’s very small, and it’s very messy. But I can shut the door at the end of the day, and walk back to my neat house and not worry about it. And there’s no one to tell me to tidy up!
Even if it’s just to walk around the common, go to the supermarket or drop the parcels off at the post office. I’m lucky that my job isn’t sedentary - I’m up and down all the time, I have a bench and a desk and I’m always flitting between the two - as I think sitting still for too long makes me sleepy, and tiredness and hot flames, or sharp blades, don’t mix well!
Do something outside your comfort zone
Not every day (though apparently that’s a very good thing!), but now and then or even regularly! I started volunteering a few years ago with a local charity that helps street sex workers, One25. I’m one of their Creative Volunteers, and every Tuesday afternoon I head into their centre and make things with amazing people. I’ve met interesting, unusual and fabulous women, both those that use the service and other volunteers, and when I’m there, I’m just a helper. I’m not a jeweller, business woman, mother or any of the other day-to-day roles. I highly recommend volunteering - it’s so good for you!
I have a TERRIBLE voice, but only the birds can hear me in the workshop, so I do it at the top of my lungs. Poor birds.
about the author
After almost 20 years as a designer in children's publishing a short silversmithing course in 2006 prompted a change of direction.
The following year I enrolled on a part-time jewellery course, and found a local studio where I could make and sell my work.
In 2009, together with five other crafts people we found a shop space to rent on our busy local high street, the gloucester road, called Fig. We are open tuesday - saturday, 9.30am - 5pm (except August).