Or, How do you measure success?
OK, I’m talking about crochet design here, but this applies to all creatives. The truth is, most creative occupations won’t earn you a fortune. There are exceptions. Talent, hard work and lucky breaks have led to a few highly successful careers in knitwear design (and other sectors). We think that getting published in a few magazines, getting a book deal or hitting the “hot right now” stream in Ravelry* will be a spring board to fame and fortune. It might, but the chances are you won’t be able to give up the day job just yet. At least not if you’re responsible for mortgage payments, rent or food and living expenses. Freelance crochet design will not bring you financial security. There are a few who are trying and succeeding. Talented people who have invested heavily in self publishing, mastered the art of online promotion and built a following of makers who leap on every new design with gusto. These are the lucky few. (although it isn’t really down to luck; hard work, determination and the support of friends and family all contribute).
So, if financial security isn’t guaranteed how else do we measure our success ? Does it matter if money in the bank isn’t the bottom line? Freedom to live a simple life, cook from scratch, grow veg and spend time with friends and loved ones is my “success indicator”. If I worked full time, invested heavily in my brand and really, really committed myself to design then I would earn more money. But, all of the above would be neglected. I know that when I spent two days working in London each week there were too many ready meals in the freezer, a weedy veg patch and a sulky family who missed me. I lost touch with friends and spent weekends filled with working mother guilt trying to compensate for time spent away and texting goodnight from trains. I felt like I failed at everything and I resented my job and my family for not being able to cope without me. The money was great, but it didn’t compensate for the things I missed.
Crochet design, writing features and occasional books won’t make my fortune, but it has brought me friendship and job satisfaction. The money I earn feeds our family, feeds my yarn habit and most importantly sustains my creative soul. My riches aren’t money in the bank, they are small flashes of delight in an ordinary life. Of course, none of this would be possible if Mr T didn’t have a successful, rewarding job. But that doesn’t mean my work is just “play”. We have found our own “work life balance”. but it has taken us 30 years to get here!
So, will crochet make your fortune? Perhaps not, but maybe that’s not why you crochet?