Just over a year ago, I moved.
I am beginning to feel settled into my new location in a new state. I have created some fresh routines and there are new people in my life.
The backyard of our home in snowy, November 2023.
All the changes unsettle me. In part, because I have been through so many moves and changes. More than most people.
I often question art projects that I start. When will I know are they are finished? What defines a series? How can I push through when things seem too hard to complete? When will the ideas resolve?
During the pandemic, I began SuzZine, a monthly gift of art in the mail to subscribers. I have kept going to this day. I was consistent throughout our move to a new state, and no matter what else was happening in my life. I even made a zine the month I suffered from COVID. I delivered an issue every month on the first of the month, like a production master in a factory mill. And also, importantly, a creativity master.
Now, I wonder. Has SuzZine has run its course?
Is it time to quit? If not now, when, never?
I am asking myself questions like: How do I define success around something that did not grow roots—growing roots is my esoteric way of saying the project is not reaching as many people as I had initially hoped. When do I quit? How do I stop? If I drop SuzZine, then what? Why leave something that brings me and my readers joy? What different types of art can I send to my subscribers?
December Issue shown above.
Should I change the number of issues I make and send per year? Would this make me happier? Would my subscribers miss the monthly mailing? Shall I change the price upwards and deliver even more goodness? Endless questions. What would be the ripple effect of continuing vs. stopping production?
I honestly do not know.
Stitch and So #8 Olive's Fan, 2023, Watercolor, Flashe Paint, Sashiko Thread, on paper. Collage Painting.
I tell myself, I may not have tried hard enough, and I ought to keep going and do more marketing. Maybe try this, perhaps that…
If I drop the project, how will I define my success as an artist?
If I suddenly stop reaching people in the way that has sustained me for over 2 years, then what? I am consistently evolving; I know this about myself. This upcoming potential pivot or quit is no exception.
Studio view of trimming 300 postcards to mail to increase SuzZine sales.
In the beginning, I had written 2 definitions of success for myself for the SuzZine project:
- to reach a defined number of customers per month (over 30)
- to continue the project, no matter what, for 2 years
I reached definition of success number 2—several months ago. Thirty issues of SuzZine have been mailed to subscribers.
My other goal has proven to be elusive. I constantly feel “unresolved.” How do I define my success as an artist when I am not reaching my self-imposed targets? Well, I am putting on my business boots, AND I also leaning on Kenny Rogers sage advice:
You've got to know when to hold 'em
Know when to fold 'em
Know when to walk away
And know when to runI gotta do what I gotta do... and then, if I fold, walk, or run, I gotta develop a new definition of success.
2023 Sticker. Stay on the ladder or fall off?
Often, I can only know the next definition of success once I take a chance on myself and drop my previous definition. This makes room for my daily contemplation, journal writing, and studio practice.
This in-between time is intensely scary.
Sometimes, we hold on to avoid the unknown. I can't hold on for much longer. Yet, at the same time, I very much want to. Making a monthly project keeps me actively engaged in my studio practice. No matter what. It's also really hard work. I don't know what to do.
No resolution here, not yet.
Instead, continuation. And maybe since we are in the new year, it is also a time for a new definition of success? Maybe I set new goals? But SuzZine, it's not done, yet. Order your copy today, pretty please.