February 23, 2007

Stamper's Neurosis

Sometime last week I seriously considered packing up all my craft stuff and going back to my long lost love of reading. Way cheaper (why don't they have libraries for stamps???) and much less stressful. Yes, the hobby that started out as a major means of dealing with stress had become a source of stress. How could this happen? Competition. I was competing every day. Blog Counters, Stampers Top 50, Comments, Views, Favorites, I was back in high school. Yes, it was 1967 all over again! I love splitcoaststampers but I got swept up in the competition over there. It's the white elephant in the room that I put there and never talked about. How many of my cards are viewed, how many receive comments, are they anyone's favorites? I think the last straw was a list I saw of the galleries that are most viewed. This isn't a criticism of SCS, but of ME. There is no reason for a 54 year old woman to feel less worthy because my strengths don't lie in the papercrafting world (I make a mean brownie cheesecake and am not too shabby of a lawyer....) LOL I would find myself thinking -- oh, that tool looks cool, if I get it, I'll make stuff as nice as she [fill in name of great stamper] does. Why is her [again insert name of great stamper] stuff always fabulous and my stuff a pale imitation? Maybe if I try no layers I'll be better, or maybe if I try lot of embellishments . . . maybe if I spend my life at this I'll be perfect... Oh, if I don't post something on this blog that I've stamped every day (pictures with descriptions please!!) my readership will drop . . . Am I the only one who is neurotic enough to feel this way???? So, I took a major deep breath, thought about this for a while, had an email exchange with a stamper whom I admire (thank you soo much) and decided to change directions. I'm dropping out of the competition I got swept up in. I'll stamp what feels good to me and hope to reconnect to the reasons I started this hobby in the first place. I'll post when I have something I'd like to share. Edited to add: Based on the number of comments, emails and private messages I received, I see you guys are neurotic too!! Yippee. I feel better already knowing there's company in this madness. Between taking my Mom to get a chest x-ray, picking up her prescriptions and getting a few groceries this morning, I managed to squeeze in an hour whipping up a wedding card I need. I'll be honest. The card is ok, but not great. I'm posting it anyway!!! I had fun making it. Wasted tons of paper, but I had fun.

85 comments:

  1. I know how you feel about the "validation" that comes from this "hobby". I guess I just came to the realization that I would accept any compliments that came, offer lots for others (and not fake ones...I just don't comment when I don't like it) and plug away at my efforts so I would be happy with the end result. And, the thing that kills me about SCS is that I can love a card and get no comments and be indifferent about another and get lots...who knows?

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  2. I understand you, Joan. Congratulations on making the decision to do what feels good to you. At our age there is no reason to get caught up in the competition. I have gotten into "The Secret" as shown on Oprah, and I do believe it is changing my life. Congrats.
    Cheryl

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  3. Great discussion and I, too, have had similar feelings and thoughts. I finally decided that I am who I am and my skills are what they are (although I work on improving them) and I can't be like the Dirty Dozen or any of the other fabulous stampers - I am ME! My family and friends appreciate the time I put into things I give them and if I feel satisfied with the results then I'm cool with it. Life is just too short to not enjoy what we're doing. I think your stamping is wonderful and I do enjoy your blog and have you connected on my Blogger Reader for updated discussions. (No pressure for daily things meant by that, however.) Now, about those brownies - do you share recipes?

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  4. Joan,
    "To thine own self be true" is a motto I try to live by. Everyone has a style and everyone's style is different. I am my own toughest critic; I can get compliments on something I've made and yet not be thrilled with it myself. I love your blog and your artwork. I really admire people who can keep up their blogs on a regular basis but this is not a commitment I want to make. Good for you for making the decision "to thine own self be true".

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  5. It's amazing to me that others feel the same as I. A friend of mine, who got me into this 'art' told me she thought my stuff was beautiful. I said that I'd never be as good as she. "We are different " said she, essentially, we cannot do the same work as the next person and we all are good.

    I love your work Joan and I wanted to be able to do stuff like you, and her, and her..... I'll be me! and I'll work toward 'improving myself.

    Thank you for all the work you put into this blog. I will keep checking back, often, to see what you are up to.

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  6. I am new to this craft but I can tell you that I'm heading down the same road. I started my own blog last month and joined SCS. The very first thing I think about in the morning is, I can't wait to check to see if anyone has posted comments and check my blog for hits. Its just so silly. I haven't gotton the guts to join swaps or challenges yet. I just see all those beautiful cards everyone makes and its very intimidating. I do think that you are very talented and love to look at your creations. Take Care...I'll keep checking back to see what you're up to.

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  7. I guess I'm part of the group of my art isn't good enough, too. I've done that all my life. Time to stop. I so love seeing your art. Do what makes you happy. I'll also keep trying to stop being my own worst critic, if you will:) I'll also keep checking your blog. Please know that you do inspire in many ways. Thanks.

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  8. I hear you! I don't have a blog and don't post on SCS but I do sometimes feel intimidated when I see some of the gorgeous things the others post. I spend way too much time every day browsing blogs and the link and as a result don't get much of my own stamping - or anything else - done. Come to think of it, I used to love to read, too.....hmmm...where did I put those books??

    You have to do what makes you happiest and no one else! Enjoy the library :-)

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  9. Joan, I'm sorry that this has turned into a "competition" for you. I absolutely love your work and your blog. I have to say that I am sorry I haven't posted to let you know. I have limited time and just rush thru my browing without taking time to validate those who are taking time to put it all out there. I respect your decision, but hope you can find a way to enjoy your stamping just for you and those you will bless with your cards, 'cause you really do have ability there.
    Kathy

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  10. Joan, I hear you. I love your gallery at SCS and your blog. You gotta be true to you, and it's so hard not to create a competition out of it, even if the competition's just in your head, LOL! Just know that lots of us hope you appreciate yourself as much as we appreciate you and that you keep sharing your wonderful work and wisdom!

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  11. I completely relate to what you have said regarding the competition of "her work is so much better...why can't mine be like that? If only...." etc. It is tough. And like you, I am an educated professional. I am successful in my career and in my personal life. Why would this cause such stress? So now, I just do what I like! It makes life so much easier! I fell in love with the stamping and scrapping craft all over again...Good luck with making yourself happy. Keep posting your creations when "the spirit moves you"...because I enjoy seeing your wonderful and creative work...and besides, you ahve already inspired me to make mayself happy today!

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  12. It was so weird for me to read your blog today! I have only just recently done my first stamp competition and I couldn't believe the stress I felt over it. Also, lately I'm finding it hard to just calm down and stamp b/c I always have such time limitations (due to naptimes) and so I stress about making quick decision. Funny how something you enjoy can become so stressful.

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  13. 3 things, first: I TOTALLY understand, I have and do feel the same way, I know my stuff is gorgeous until I look at some others, then I want to be Better, Better, Better. Second: I think your stuff is Amazing, and you have been a great inspiration to many. Third: I respect and admire your decision, I will be looking for anything you want to share. Thanks and Enjoy the Reading. :)

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  14. I know exactly what you're talking about! Is'nt it funny how creative people are always so hard on themselves? Think of the many GREAT artist, writers, dancers, and actors that led such miserable lives and died from abuse to themselves. The ones that come to mind at the moment are Hemmingway and VanGogh. I am so proud that you had the where-with-all to recognize and analyze the issue. I will continue to check your blog each day to see when you've come up with a posting. When you write a post like today you can't imagine how many other people you are helping. I think you do a wonderful job of getting things into perspective.
    Please don't give up the blog...you can post recipes, fun tidbits about odd laws in your state, or tell jokes, LOL I'm new to your site but I really like what I've seen of you so far. It's like making a new friend and they move far away just as you were finding out that you like them.
    "To thine own self be true." TFS.

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  15. YOU GO GIRL!!! The wonderful hobby of stamping SHOULD NOT be a competition. I LOVE your work and read your blog every day. Your stamping style is such an inspiration to me! Do what makes YOU happy. Don't let "competition" turn this wonderful hobby that you're SO good at into something you no longer enjoy.

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  16. You go girl!! I totally understand what you are talking about. That is why I went a different direction with my blog. I knew that if I made it public then I would be come obsessed with it. Who checks it out, how many people comment, etc. If it makes you feel better I LOVE your cards and your work. I think you are an amazingly talented lady. If only I could get a thimble full of what you have I would be happy. Love you Joan!!
    Robyn

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  17. I know exactly how you feel and funnily enough just this week I decided that I would start making things that I like rather than cards that I think everyone else will like.
    I got caught up in the challenges, comments, views, favorites merry-go-round and it does just suck you in.
    But like you, I am trying to re-connect with why I do this, why it gives me pleasure and what can I do to make it fun again. So thank you so much for sharing your experience, it really did resonate!

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  18. Wow Joan! You just summed up my feelings exactly. I am having some family issues to deal with (not pleasant) and I just went to my blog to let people know I would be back. Why does it matter if people look or not? I too have been craving the validation. I am just going to keep playing when I can and post my beautiful (in my eyes) creations. If someone likes it fine. If not, I will survive. Thanks for putting my thoughts into words.
    Lesa
    (scs name lesarapp)

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  19. You are not alone...I feel the same as you do. However, I'm not brave enough to have a blog or post, etc....You made a terrific decision - to do what feels good for you. That's what counts-You. You have beautiful work that I can only aspire to do!

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  20. i love your work and will definitely miss it, however, can certainly understand feeling overwhelmed. i have recently come down with a chronic illness and have found that i have to set my priorities differently and not be as fussy about the "little stuff" anymore. i am 71 yrs. young and love stamping. i have always had to do something creatively and this fits well for me. blessings, jo anne

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  21. Joan,
    You do beautiful work and I am glad that you have decided to stop being so hard on yourself. In the words of Stuart Smally, "I am good enough, smart enough, and dog gone it people like me".
    Keep up the great work and have fun!
    Heather B

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  22. Joan,
    Wow. You've said (and so eloquently, I might add) exactly how I feel sometimes. I guess that's why I never kept my "oh, so sad" blog going or upload that much.
    I have to add though, I visit your blog almost every day. I've always enjoyed and admired your cards and creations very much. I'm sorry I don't comment much - it's the time factor more than anything.
    I understand and respect your feelings and I will still visit your blog to see what you've been up to and to see how your mom is doing.
    Take care and know that you are admired. Please don't stop stamping but maybe just find the balance that works for you.
    I'll be thinking of you.
    Rubber Hugs,
    Renee

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  23. Shelly in the NW2/23/2007 02:57:00 PM

    I've been spending less and less time on SCS just for the reasons you mention. If I post something and it doesn't get looked at I feel bad, if someone looks and doesn't like it I feel bad...this hobby should bring us joy not anxiety.

    Sometimes I like what I create and other times not so much. Isn't it funny how many people can use the same supplies and have totally different results!?

    Someone I know is coming to the end of their battle with cancer and it really has shown me how much more there is in life and question what we concentrate on...for me, trying to concentrate on the positive is an effort...

    Thank you for posting your feelings and having so many agree.

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  24. Now you're talking! I can just feel the relief in your post! And by the way, I am very much impressed that you are an attorney...oh my gosh, what an accomplishment that is! Think about the effort that you put into that....comparing the two....much more impressive to accomplish something like that then get 40,000 comments on a card and be featured on the most viewed galleries list! You rock.....

    Happy stamping and I do mean Happy Stamping!

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  25. And another thing.....

    your cards are beautiful and your talent for stamping is there! Where is the wedding card? I went to go find it and I didn't!

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  26. I love your creations and check out your blog every day -- even if you haven't updated (I receive the notice when you do) -- because I love to look at your work and read how you've created them. Thanks for doing such beautiful work.

    I agree, though, I need to get back to creating just for the enjoyment and not for kudos.

    Thanks for explaining how I feel!!!

    Denise

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  27. Oh boy - do I know how you feel. Funny thing is - I got so frustrated with it that I packed up my stamping stuff in suitcases for a few weeks - out of sight, out of mind.
    I've come to the same conclusion -do it for fun, not for the numbers or the hits or the whatever.
    Strange thing is - I've hardly done anything since I got my stuff back out again.
    However. You know what? I'm okay with that.
    But I'm still stressing about the loss in blog readership....
    Good luck to you!!
    Tami

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  28. don't know where to post my name so I always end up as anonymous! I've already posted my thoughts but was coming back to see if you posted the wedding card.. Can't find it! If you ever don't feel like posting one of your awesome creations... you could always post the recipe to your brownie cheesecake!! It sounds mighty good!

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  29. You're definitely not alone! I love SCS, but it can be more clique-ish than high school ever was. Good for you in deciding to step back and regain some of your sanity, as well as your enjoyment of a most fulfilling hobby!

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  30. Um. When you said a 54 year old woman whose strengths DONT lie in papercrafting-you meant you? Yikes. I come here for inspiration because I love what you do. this is the only stampers' blog I keep coming back to, even though I've glanced at others (mostly from your list on the right of the blog). Hope you're feeling better - looking forward to seeing what you stamp - but you don't 'have to' stamp anything for me, I'll read even when you're just talking about transporting mom around :) Thanks for a great blog.

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  31. Terry Molineux2/24/2007 07:35:00 AM

    Joan....you are not alone. Of course I do not do anything quite as large as you do....I work full-time, do a part-time job at home and I am a SU demonstrator. I have classes every Sunday and sometimes it's a struggle to come up with something new for my classes. I do case a lot because I do not have the creativity some of you stampers have but like you, I decided I will do what I feel best doing. When I go to my upline's classes I always feel intimidated because I am a VERY SLOW stamper. I am a perfectionist and most of the girls there just stamp to get the idea and remake the card at home....I CANNOT DO THAT!!!! So I now how you feel sometimes I feel so overwhelmed I say "WHY AM I DOING THIS!!!" But then I think again and say "I LOVE STAMPING' and nothing is going to make me stop....I will stamp what I like and if you don't like it....that's okay too because everyone is entitled to their opinion....I feel I do what I feel is acceptable to me and if I feel comfortable with it then it's okay!
    So NO MORE STRESSING....do what you feel is right for you!!!!!

    Enough said?

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  32. I totally admire you for following your convictions. I remember when I sent some cards into a publication only to get back. I was totally defeated. I even scaled back on my stamping. Then I realized that I got started stamping because I liked and it was fun. I never was very crafty, but stamping I could do. Now I dabble in smaller contests, just for fun. I stamp mostly for family and friends. It is a very competitive arena, but only if we let it be. This your blog and you can blog if you want to(like the song, get it?). I just started my own blog, but I am only using it as a means to share and store some of my favorite cards. Your blog under your control!!! You go, sister!

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  33. I love your work. You have given me so many ideas that I can adapt to my own style. Many of these comments mention that everyone needs to do what works for them. I would love to create like some of the artists on SCS and other sites that I look at but I know it isn't me. This 'concept' did take some time to learn though. Keep up with what you are doing now. It will work.

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  34. Joan, your entire post moved me deeply. Stamping is a GIFT I give myself, and it has saved my life. I was a smoker for 20 years, 2, sometimes 3 packs a day. I quit cold turkey when I picked up my first rubber stamp. Just walking into my studio and smelling the ink immediatly calms me. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and I LOVE seeing your work. Stamp and be happy.

    Julie

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  35. Oops. Didn't know SU has embossing folders. I really must look at the catty.

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  36. Hugs, Joan! I feel just as you do sometimes. In fact, I recently decided to do some scrapbooking simply to take a break from the card competition! While SCS and other sites are great sources of inpsiration, they also can create a "keeping up with the Joneses" kind of atmosphere. I try to focus on what I love - paper and ink - and make cards and projects I will actually use, which is why I started this whole obsession to begin with! Thanks for reminding me to keep doing that!

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  37. Hmmm yes, it has got to be fun, otherwise why do it? I'm easy I like to participate in challenges but I usually don't compete, just with myself, like to see what I come up with in a certain topic. To me as in all hobbyies and crafts, what I really like about them is that I don't have to follow rules and can do whatever I please. If I want to make a blue valentines card, so be it, who's gonna stop me :) Its about letting your creativity out and your inner child play, even if you throw a day's worth of work into the waste basket. Just have fun!!!!

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  38. Joan - how timely your post is! A friend/customer of mine and I had this email conversation on Friday, she has been very distressed over the apparent lack of response to her cards in her gallery...I am so in agreement that it shouldn't be about the # of posts, comments and competition - although it is all too easy to get sucked in to keeping up and it seems the more validation we get the more we want. My advice was the same as yours in that one should do what feels right, follow your own style, your own path - if other's appreciate what you do so be it - if not, oh well! When it comes to stamping or anything else in life - we all want to be the best we can be, it seems the hardest part for most of us is to be happy knowing we've done our best. I receive validation every day from my kids and family - they even appreciate my cards and other artwork (most of the time, LOL) as well as satisfaction knowing I've made something uniquely me. Many others have posted the same or similar comments, to enjoy stamping for what it is, and appreciate that it can be more or less for each of us - so on another note, I hope you'll keep up with your stamping and blogging...I enjoy reading your posts, you tell it like it is and your straight-forward approach is refreshing!

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  39. Bravo, Joan!! I commend you for taking a stand and getting back to what matters most about stamping...your enjoyment of it.

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  40. KUDOS to you!!! I did something similar back in the fall. I stopped worrying about my SU business and went back to being a STAMPER! I have been a stamper for 10 years and I was missing stamping just to stamp. Playing just to play. Creating just to create.

    It was a wonderful decision. I stamp so much more now!

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  41. Thank so much for sharing your feeling on this subject. We all feel the same way. I even stopped posting cards on SCS cause I wasn't getting any comments. But decided lately, to heck with them...lol..(meant in a nice way of course) I still care but don't put a lot of weight on it anymore. Just have fun! That's what it's all about...Hugs to you

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  42. jen (genie1314)2/25/2007 11:59:00 AM

    wow! so well put and let's us all take a look to the inside instead of worrying about the outside.

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  43. What you said is exactly why... after joining months ago, I have only 6 posts (one from yesterday which went unanswered) and have never started a gallery on SCS. I was doing some reading and saw something another member had said about what goes on over there sometimes, so I decided to stay a lurker, enjoy the gallery and continue learning from the outside. I never want to feel "less than", I just want to enjoy stamping! I even started a blog that nobody knows about! LOL If someone sees it fine... if not it doesn't matter! I will continue happily stamping either way!

    Joan... because of this you don't know who I am, but I follow you're blog and think you're terrific! Not to mention brave ~ HUGZ to you!

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  44. Joan

    Big cyber hugs. I think we all feel this way from time to time. It (like most things) can be very competetive. I just go with my own style. I can't design like some of my favorites, and thats ok. I have my own thing that makes me unique ( I think-LOL). I find if I try to be like anyone else when I create I have a hard time. Variety is the spice of life. If everyone did things like Susie Stamper life would be boring. I enjoy your work, your honesty and posts on SCS. I think that coming to this conclusing will really help you get back to enjoying this again.
    Lauren (mytime)

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  45. Good for you!! I have been thinking about starting a gallery , but have decided that I would not be able to handle it. I have gotten better the older I get, but I still have a tough time if I think that someone doesn't like what I have created. I can be very sensitive at times... For this very reason I am glad I am a hobby demo with a small group that does occasional stamp camps, etc. I have also decided to det time aside to play reather than creating for events only. Best wishes as you move forward and hoping to follow in your footsteps1

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  46. I just saw the edited info and really, that's what my comment was going to be

    You forgot to add in a great DW, LM and especially, DD! When we get to our age (I'm 56 {yikes}), many new chapters in our own little book await. Being a caretaker or having roles of LM/DD reversed is something not everyone gets to experience - good or not so good. KWIM? Be good to yourself - the problem, to me, is not just about a stamping. Hug yourself for me!

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  47. Hey others who feel the same way I do! I have had all the same feelings as you do Joan. I always feel that if I just spent x hours every day stamping or crafting I might develop a 10th of the ability of the others I look at and go why can't mine look like that.

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  48. Thank you Joan. You just gave me permission to breathe.
    Gina K.

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  49. This was all rather interesting to say the least. I read each and every post on it. First off I must say that I have both a gallery on SCS and recently started a blog. My main focus of doing both was to share what I love with others. I enjoy stamping and want that to always be my main focus. I will confess though to enjoying it when I do get comments on SCS or on my blog. I just need to remember that the most IMPORTANT part of it is to stamp for fun and to share with others. If people leave comments on my gallery I always try to leave them a personal thank you because I think that's important. I hope you'll continue posting your work here and on SCS just because you love stamping. God Bless, Ida

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  50. I love this post! I really appreciate your thoughts on this subject.

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  51. Yup...me too!! I found myself the other day really down, because I hadn't posted to my blog in about 4 days, and I wanted to vent on there about all these "BLOG CANDY" posts out there and it seems like such a competition..."oh, now so & so's offering blog candy, go check it out!!" Well, I'm not a demo, and I'm not rich, so I just post whatever I create, but I felt pressure to post blog candy (and didn't!). I even subscribe to someone's blog that basically has a bunch of posts every day saying who's offering the blog candy, and I felt bad, but I wanted to cancel my subscription to hers because of the hype! And I didn't vent as a post because I thought, nobody wants to read a complaining post. They just wanna see creations. *phew!* wears me out.

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  52. hope50Joan,

    I sent you a letter. :)

    MAry

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  53. Leslie Springer2/26/2007 01:49:00 AM

    Joan,
    You have said it ALL perfectly!! We have to do what is best for ourself. If it means stepping out of the rat race, then that is what we have to do. I too can not keep up with the "in things" on SCS. I would go broke. I work with what I have. I know there is an "in crowd" at SCS. I try my best. That is all I can do. I just don't have the time like some people do to "devote" to stamping. I take my own journey in life. I found that I need to step back and do things my way and life is more enjoyable!
    SMILE and have a GREAT Day!
    Leslie

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  54. Wow. . . I guess I missed that thread (and about a thousand others, probably!) Joan, first, you do *beautiful* work, and I always enjoy seeing it when I have time to surf (or when I'm avoiding doing things I ought to be doing--same thing!) But I also appreciate your candor, your passion over the topic du jour, your courage, your just being YOU. I think I need to slow down on the blogging too. After a while it becomes a pressure to top yourself, even if no one else is applying pressure. Thanks, eh?

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  55. Bravo to you! I also decided to stop trying to make my cards more shabby or more chic and just stick with what I like! I've stopped buying the latest new trend too. And you know what.. it works! I'm happier and less burnt out! Bravo for making a fantastic decision!

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  56. Thank you Joan for for facing that big ol' elephant!!! I'm sure that more people than you could possibly realize totally relate. I know I do!

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  57. Joan, This may be a duplicate entry. Bravo!! Bravo!! I am thrilled for you to have so much insite into your self and for having the courage to share your thoughts with us. I am soon to be 56 and have found myself falling into the same "popularity trap" as you. Thank you for writing this especailly as I needed to read it right now. I love stamping and painting and that is the only reason I need to be involved in the craft. I almost feel like I just stood up in an AA meeting and said "hi, I'm Kittie and I'm a stampaholic" and "hooked on popularity". Things come to us just when we need it if we let ourselves be open. You are a treasure, Joan.

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  58. Thanks for the great food for thought post! I was never a popular gal in HS and truly believe I was better off for it! I would rather be me and be happy than be someone else and have their problems to deal with!
    Have a wonderful week Joan!!!

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  59. Joan you are a "talented" stamper and have a lot to offer! Sorry that you somehow got caught up in the "Jone's" syndrome that seems to effect so many these days. It's my understanding that our blogs are "personal journals" of ourselves that we are choosing to share with others... it's not and shouldn't be viewed as competitive?! *wink* As an individual you have so much to offer... look at the fact that your a lawyer (incredible accomplishment), mom, care taker of your mom and the list goes on... it's about being the best person we can everyday! You don't strike me as one needing to be validated! *wink* I love to come visit and would miss you if you decided to just READ! (((( BIG HUGS ))))

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  60. Hello Joan, Kudos to you. I think is great to stepback and take a deep breath. I know full well what you are talking about. I posted a few cards on SCS and waited for the comments to come in. When I received only a few I thought, I will try it again, same thing happended...I made the decision to stop posting cards because I was losing sight of why I started stamping to begin with...to please the ones I love with a handmade card. I still pop in on SCS and great blog sites like yours for inspiration. I came to realize my audience should be closer to home. Blessings to you. Thanks for being so honest I truly respect you for it.

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  61. Joan:

    I think the competitiveness you have is one that was drummed into us in law school. It's what has made us successful attorneys, but has an unwanted side effect of spilling over into other unwanted areas. I can certainly appreciate where you're coming from.

    It sounds like you have come upon a healthy balance in all areas of life. Good luck and keep up the good work- I enjoy reading your blog, however often you have the time to update.

    Colleen
    (a lawyer & a stamper!)
    www.stampingoddess.com

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  62. Joan,

    You are definitely not alone and I'm glad you put a voice to this topic. I read your post all the while thinking "How did this lady get into my head!?" I feel exactly the same way! My husband keeps getting on my case to stop comparing myself to others... there will always be someone better, someone with more time, more ability, more stuff. Thank you for the lesson in contentment and for bringing me back to the reason I started stamping in the first place... because it's FUN!

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  63. Michelle (MilwaukeeMommy)2/26/2007 12:21:00 PM

    I just came across this post through someone else's blog, & just had to comment. You are not alone!! (as you could already tell from all the posts). I am not in the "clique" either, just like in HS!! A few weeks ago I posted a card that had been favorited over 100 times in the first two days. I thought "THIS is the week I'll be mentioned on the favorites thread". Sunday came & went, & not one person mentioned my card. It really bothered me, until my son said "Mom, why are you so crabby today??" OMG!!!! My kids could tell I was crabby, & all because of a stupid card!!! I decided right then & there that although I will still post my cards, I will NOT let comments & validation & favorites run my life. It's a card, for goodness sake --so much more important stuff out there!!!

    Now, I'm off to look at your gallery & read up on your blog!!!

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  64. I found your blog from AmyR mentioning this post.
    I feel the same, but hang in there. I don't know how many times, I've thought (esp lately), what is the point and realize how silly that is. For me it's because I lost my friend to cancer on Christmas day and we swapped so many cards and gift ideas as well as stamped together and I just feel lost without her.
    I did start a blog and I think the most posts have been two on a post I've made. I just decided it's ok. I'm not popular (wasn't in school either) and this is about my love of stamping, not the popularity thing.
    So hang in there. I am loving your blog!
    Debbie

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  65. Joan -
    I am sure that you feel very validated by now, but I wanted to put my two cents of support in for you!! You are so right on this topic - this is a hobby, a stress reliever, fun, but ultimately it shouldn't take over our lives!! I am so glad that you were able to put into words what I have been feeling. I have actually been feeling guilty about not having a blog or a gallery - "I'm not a real stamper because I don't post". But I am, and I like what I do, and I thank you for helping me see that!

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  66. joan...

    I want to say.. I LOVE YOU!

    You said what I felt for awhile. I couldnt figure out how to express it. Ijust figured that I over extended myself, and it will all get better.

    I, too wanted to shut down my whole stamping sweat shop, I was too consumed on wondering if people will like my creations, how many will like it, what they like aboutit.

    I also worry that no one will come to my blog, so I have to update everyday, making sure its interesting enough for people to come back.

    But then I realized (and your entry confirms it) I AM DOING ALL THIS FOR MYSELF, BECAUSE IT MAKES ME FEEL GOOD, BECAUSE I ENJOY DOING IT.. if it's not that, then its nothing but a task, chore, work..

    so what would be the difference between this hobby and a job?

    thank you for speaking out, and making all of us sane again :)

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  67. I think you speak for more of us than not. I do have to say this is my 1st time on your blog & I have been missing out. You do wonderful work.

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  68. Anonymous said....

    Thank you for speaking for many of us. I have been a part of this craft for many years, and when I found some of these little communities on the internet, I remembered high school all over again. What I mean by that is this... when you visit most of the top blog sites, ever notice that they only refer to the same people????? ever notice that they mention each others cards etc.????? It really remindes me of high school with the popular people, and then the rest of us. I have seen some beautiful cards both on SCS and different blogs that are NEVER MENTIONED on the top sites.

    I do have a blog, it's not that popular and that is O.K. However, I do have some of the top blogs under my favs, but I do look for those sites that don't get mentioned in other places to try and give them some exposure. Let's face it, we all want to be rewarded for what we have created. For me that reward is to share what I have done, and what I love.

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  69. I have said for a while there needs to be a stamp library around here...hehe.

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  70. I totally agree .. I was there but in a different type of eay .. ya know been there done that saying .. It was me .. Funny thing is when I 1st started blogging I was sooo hurt by so many bloggers out ther that seem to only link to the "CLICK" group of stampers out there and to be honest it seemed like no one else could "fit in" so I have given up on those " I just want to fit in feelings ".. I love blogging and I figure if I dont fit in with the "Click " then so be it . I am not lossing any sleep over it .. I really enjoyed reading your post today How wonderful it is to be able to share your feelings and lay it all on the line .. I think you said what so many of us have been thinking and feeling for so long , and for you to put words to your feelings and ours is soooo refreshing girlie ..I appaude you for being so frank and putting it all on your post .. Thank you so Much I agree totally .. and I for one will not want to get caught up in that rat race .. or keeping up with the Jones So to speak,, BRAVO to you girlie .. I am sure that was not easy to post but my hats off to you for doing it .. I for one am glad your my blogger friend .. Just be true to yourself , everything else will fall into place see you tomorrow in bloggerland girlie
    xoox
    Dawn

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  71. Thank you! Great post! Great reminder! I really appreciate a friend pointing me in this direction this morning. Hugs, Joan!

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  72. I hear you! I gave up a design team spot of the major rubberstamping magazine. As a mom of several children, you can imagine that I don't have a lot of free time. I wanted my stamping time to fun and not work. It took me a while to be brave enough to make that decision, but once I did, I was relieved! I also removed the counter from my blog.

    You make beautiful cards!

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  73. Hello, Joan.

    For a lack of a better word, your "memo" (felt like Renee Zellweger in Jerry Maguire, KWIM)couldn't have come at a better time for me personally. I've been a crafter for a while and have tried several types of crafts. I jumped from one craft to another because I would reach a point would come in my life where it became stressful, so I got out of it before I ended up despising the craft I once referred to as a de-stresser. Unfortunately, I'm starting to feel that way about stamping. It has been so bad to where I haven't even sent a handmade card to anyone for a while because it didn't get good feedback from when I posted it at SCS, unlike my previous cards or other cards. How neurotic is that I ask? So I am taking a step back, re-thinking why I even fell in love with stamping in the first place (the recipients truly admired them) and getting back into it when I feel like it.

    Again, thank you so much for your insightful post. Very very well said. Best wishes to you!

    Maria

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  74. PERFECTLY said! In reading your post I realize I have gotten into the same trap. I have learned so much on SCS and have come to love and appreciate the talents of so many people on there. But I haven't started a gallery on there for fear of not being "good enough". Compared to who? Well, it doesn't matter because the keyphrase is "compared to". I shouldn't be comparing myself to anyone, just like you said. I have spent so much money trying to keep up. I get many compliments from people, but I'm afraid of people in cyberland not approving? How sick and twisted is that?

    Thank you so much for the wake up call Joan. Once again, you have inspired me.

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  75. I do feel the blog sites and SCS Galleries are a bit "cliqish" (sp). But looking at those "cliqish" sites and galleries, with their lots of comments and such, I thought how funny that their creations seem to look alike, in style, in ideas, in materials, etc. The drawback is that those who follow the perceived "gurus of the stamping world" seem to lose their creative originality. I can't tell the difference from one stamper's card to another or one blog site from another. It's the same stamp, the same tool, the same everything.

    I think if you stick to your own creativity and present your work based on your own ideas and such, other readers will appreciate your originality.

    It gets rather old to see 100s of cards on SCS and countless blog sites with the same card design.

    I have my own blog site but rarely visit any other blogs or look at cards on SCS. I usually browse when I have nothing else to do. I barely have the time to rubber stamp, let alone browse the work of others.

    Anyhow, I just don't want to imitate creations made by others and confuse it as my own work. By not looking at what others do. . .it makes me feel that I've come up with my own ideas and creations - unfortunately, most of the time, when I do browse to look at other people's work, it appears someone else had already thought of it. Ha!

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  76. Hey my friend - a wise woman once told me to just take a step back, and do what was right for me. :) I am now saying it back to you! I had many of the same feelings you are when I stepped away from my blog a few months ago, and I feel so much more liberated not having to worry about it all the time. No more "gotta get a card stamped" no more "what number am I on the list today?" no more "did "x" pass me on the list?" I recently started thought about starting another blog with a different provider - and have decided I like life without it much better!

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  77. Joan, Joan, Joan,

    What a wonderful blog thread. Amazing how so many of us share the same insecurities about our talent. I get so caught up on checking galleries and reading papercrafting magazines for ideas and tend to forget that I have a talent different from everyone else and that is a good thing.

    Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts on this subject.

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  78. Refreshing viewpoint- I am new to the stamping hobby, and now i will know what to watch out for!
    It looks to me like you had enough response form this blog that you could almost have a whole blog site devoted to variations on the topic of women competing with each other and feeling diminished by it. You surely struck a chord with hundreds!

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  79. Wow...did your comment hit home!!! I started stamping about a year ago and was so incredibly excited about it. Lately, I've just felt blah...and have spent waay more time doing exactly those things you stated...checking my blog counter (just about had a aneurysm when they lost my login and my counter reset on StampingTop50), etc...

    Thanks for so eloquently stating the obvious...and it is back to basics for me.

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  80. Hi joan
    I feel exactly like you do (have a clever scrapbooking DD and very Arty sisters) but when you make someone a card and go to send it, it feels like you are sending your first born out into the world all unprepared and so you worry about who will like it and if it is really appreciated. I love making cards its the above worry that stops me posting them and sending them to people. Funny thing is cards I don't feel happy with people seem to like, and try as I might I cant put torn paper on a card, so Us older and supposedly wiser folk just have to BELIEVE in ourselves and do what we do best
    BE OURSELVES

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  81. Thank you, Joan. From all the comments, I see that you and I are not the only ones who stress over something that's supposed to be fun!
    I find that being an SU demo makes it hard for me to be anything less than perfect. I feel I "owe" it somehow to my customers- I have to not only provide them with knowledge (which is great, I love to teach), but provide them with perfect samples too- of *everything*!!!
    I became a demo when I started stamping so that I could get more toys- and have decided that it's time to use those toys for ME!
    Here's to having fun again!
    Karen.

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  82. Thank you so much for putting it into words! I have been feeling this also and I needed to read your blog. I feel I am getting swept up into this craziness and I don't like it. I am taking stock of my life today and going to change my thinking about all of this. Thank you again!

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  83. Oh yes! With me it brings out major obsessive qualities, so in the end I took the 'Stamping Top 50' counter off my blog altogether because I kept checking it, looking at the stats - my blog is a creative place for me to share whatever I like and to have fun. I think there's a LOT of competitive stamping going on these days, but there's also a large number of stampers just having a good time with their favourite hobby and sharing with friends, online and IRL, just keep walking towards the light :)

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  84. Thanks for your comments Joan. As a new SU demonstrator (only in it for the hobby ;) ), my first downline meeting was very intimidating. I was embarrassed to present my project for the evening because the others were WAY better than mine. I was stressed during the drive home when I realized 'who cares'. I reminded myself I started stamping because I enjoy it! Thanks for making me feel I don't have to achieve super-uber stamper skills to be happy with my cards.

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