I love my Etsy store. It is kind of a non-committal way of trying to sell my wares. It is a hand's off way of putting myself out there. I don't have to talk, I don't have to see the people who are looking at my work. It is nice because I am usually a introvert. I'm sure that this is the reason that so many people have their own Etsy shops. It is easy to just throw stuff up there, and let people look around your shop without having to be that annoying shop owner; making sure that people are enjoying their shopping experience, and that they have found everything they are looking for.
That is great and all, but if I want to get noticed, and actually make sales, then I cannot be just one of these thousands of people who haphazardly put up goods on a website, and then lean back and hope that someone likes their iPhone pic of their crocheted scarf. (I'm not trying to be judgmental, maybe that works for them, but this doesn't work for me.) The thing is that so many people are doing the same things, I need do more than that to get noticed, and find the kind of success I am actually looking for.
This means that I am going to have to go beyond the comfort of my computer chair and art table, and talk to people in real life. This weekend I have my first booth in a craft fair. (http://oddmallseattle.wordpress.com/ ) It is great that I have this opportunity, but I am starting to freak out. I haven't shown my art in a public space since college. That is almost 5 years of distance from the art community. I have been losing sleep with worry that I am going to take this great chance to get back into the art world and totally crash and burn.
There are many reasons that I feel like I am not going to do well. Most just lead back to the fact that I am introverted and don't socialize well with strangers. I get the feeling that I am going to look like this. Obviously I won't be asking strangers for their hand in marriage, but I will be asking for their attention, their opinions of my work, and in the end their money. It just makes me shake with fear that I am going to fail at one of the most basic skills of being human: communication.
My stomach has felt full of rocks and butterflies all week knowing that I signed myself up for this. I like to live a logical life, and use reason to get through my struggles, and also get out of unpleasant situations. But this time my fear of the entire encounter is getting in the way of my ability to think my way out. I know what I needs to be done, but I am worried that I don't posses the skill to be likable, interesting, and informative in a manner that will sell people on my work. I keep hoping there is a way around this feeling so that I can move on (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pspcBpqUlRY), but it will not be that easy, everything worth doing never is.
I don't know when I became such a wimp when it come to social situations, but I cannot make any excuses. I know that this is not only good for my sales, to get it out in the public eye, but it is also good for me. I need to get uncomfortable in order to make any kind of progress towards becoming better at this.
We have been learning how to interact with people since the day we were born, I just don't understand where my fear of it has come from over the years. I am old enough that all of my years of practice should make me a pro at talking to others, but at some point I learned to fear it. This will just not do, so this weekend I take the plunge back into the art world, and relearn some of those communication skills I seem to have forgotten. Despite my fear this will get done.