I took this photo over a year ago when I first started learning how to do calligraphy, and I’m amazed at how far I have come. When I compare this photo to the calligraphy work I do now — well, there simply is no comparison. I have grown by leaps and bounds, and I’m so satisfied with my progress.
When I started on this calligraphy adventure, I imagined turning it into a big, successful business where I would one day be able to work at home doing calligraphy full-time. Well, to my surprise (I really don’t know what I was thinking), it’s incredibly difficult to start a business of any kind, especially when you are still learning the craft and still trying to figure out how this whole entrepreneurship thing works in the first place.
I opened my calligraphy shop on Etsy in June 2015. I started out at a fairly low price compared to other calligraphers, but I wanted to price my work low so that I could draw in new clients. It wasn’t long before I started getting some new business, which was very exciting, but I also quickly realized that it would be nearly impossible to turn this into a full-time business (or even a part-time business) if I continued on with such low prices. Plus, being a calligrapher is hard work that takes a lot of time, attention and skill when doing it right. So, I decided that I would raise my prices at the start of 2016.
As the new year rolled around, I had a few big calligraphy orders that generated more in sales than I have had since I first opened my Etsy shop. It should have been a milestone for me, one to be incredibly proud of and one worth celebrating. Instead, I felt frustrated and burned out. Not because of the work — I love the work — but because I never raised my prices.
I never raised my prices because I was too scared. Scared that no one would choose me as their calligrapher once I raised my prices. Scared that once someone did choose as their calligrapher that I wouldn’t be able to deliver the quality product that they had paid for.
It was this inability to see the value in my own work that made me realize that I need to take a step back and reevaluate what I want in regards to my calligraphy. Am I willing to do the hard and scary stuff that it takes to make this a real business? Or am I satisfied with keeping this as a hobby and doing it at my own leisure without any big expectations?
The overachiever side of me tells me to keep pushing. To keep working to make this dream of doing calligraphy full-time a reality. To give everything that I have to this one dream, right now at this very moment, or it will never happen at all. But I’m not buying it.
I used to listen to that little voice in my head (the one that told me to go big or don’t go at all), but I’m learning to listen to that other still, small voice. What is the Holy Spirit is telling me? What is He whispering into my heart? Where do I find the most peace?
It’s scary when you work really hard on something, get good at it, make money from it, and then all of a sudden put the brakes on it. It’s scary to put my calligraphy dreams on pause, but that’s where I’m at right now.
Yesterday, I was looking through some of my old writings and I came across a post that I am sharing below. I got the chills when I read it. The “dreams” that I was talking about when I originally wrote this were just those far-away dreams that I have, like backpacking across Europe and going on a family vacation to Disney World. But after reading through this again, I can see how this applies to my calligraphy.
When reading this post, I encourage you to insert your own dreams — the ones that you may be questioning or struggling with — and see how you feel. Do you feel better? More at peace? More at ease? I know I did.
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I’ve never been a fast walker.
I know a couple of people who naturally walk very fast, and I always believed that they walked fast because they were in a hurry or needed to get somewhere quickly, but my theory as it turns out is incorrect.
When I asked a few of my fast-walking friends why they were in such a hurry all the time, they explained that they weren’t in a hurry at all. In fact, they didn’t even realize how fast they were walking until I pointed it out to them. Walking fast simply comes naturally to them.
Me. . .I’m the complete opposite.
I walk very slowly. Not because I’m not in a hurry or I don’t have anywhere to be, it’s just that I prefer to walk at a slower pace.
When I was in high school, my best friend and I walked at this same slower speed. We would stroll down the hallways together, arm-in-arm, singing and chatting and just enjoying the moment. It was natural for the both of us to enjoy a more relaxed pace than many of our peers, and I’m thankful that I had someone who enjoyed walking alongside me.
It’s interesting though because when it comes to my dreams, I have a difficult time embracing my naturally slower pace. I envision that my dreams are moving ahead of me at lightning speed, waiting for me to catch up. I feel like I’m doing everything that I can to keep up, but nothing works.
Sometimes I see my dreams moving so fast that it feels like they are miles ahead of me and shouting back, “Hurry up, Lori! You’re moving too slow!”
And I try.
I try to keep up with the seemingly fast pace of my dreams, but eventually I get tired and worn out and I decide that chasing the dream is not worth it if I can’t even enjoy it when I get there.
I refuse to believe anymore that my dreams are running ahead of me at the speed of light, laughing at me as I lag behind.
I refuse to believe that my dreams will outrun me or eventually leave me altogether. If they do, then maybe they weren’t my dreams to begin with.
From now on, I will choose to believe that my dreams, my God-given dreams, are much more like my high school friend. The one who walked arm-in-arm with me down the noisy high school hallways, singing, laughing and talking our way from one class to the next.
I will choose to believe that my dreams move at my speed. At the right time, they may quicken when I need to quicken, but they are still right there beside me, encouraging me along the way.
My word for 2016 is Provision, which means to provide exactly what you need at the exact right time.
God is my Provider. He will supply all of my needs (and all of my wants) in the most supernatural and miraculous of ways, and in His perfect timing. Not too fast, not too slow.
Since God’s timing is always perfect, then I have to believe that the timing of the dreams that He has placed in my heart is perfect too.