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holidays

184: Sane Holidays: 3 questions for the busy creative

The winter holiday season can be the busiest and MOST profitable time of the year in your creative biz. But it can also be the most overwhelming, and least enjoyable time of the year. Learn how to have a busy, profitable, enjoyable, and sane holiday season at: TaraSwiger.com/podcast184

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Welcome to your busiest, and potentially your most profitable time of year! And…also potentially the LEAST sane time of year. If you are dreading the holiday season and busyness and scramble, I wanna help you get you ready to have a killer season and fantastic good time.

As we leap into Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, and Christmas, I hope this collection saves a bit of your own sanity.

On CraftyPod:

On Karina Dressess:

I gather all my favorite sanity-saving posts on this Pinterest board (new articles are added all the time!).

Don’t forget to sign up below to get access to Holiday Sanity Guide in the Black Friday Bundle!

How to listen

  • You can subscribe to it on iTunes (If you do, leave a review!)
  • You can listen to it using the player above or download it.
  • Subscribe or listen via Stitcher (or subscribe in whatever you use for podcasts – just search “Explore Your Enthusiasm” and it should pop up!).

Find all the podcast episodes here.

How to get back to work after a break

Now, I’m just back from time offline, and I’m following it up with family visits and the holidays, and it’s hard to get back to work, you know? I’ve found it’s very easy to slip back into just doing the daily grind, doing exactly what I was doing before… but motivation is a bit harder to replace. So how do you get back to work after taking time off? Listen to my tips at TaraSwiger.com/podcast135/

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The Starship, my online community for makers and artists who want to become their own business expert, is open right now. It has access to all of my classes, a 24/7 forum where you can ask your questions, a weekly live chat where we hold you gently accountable and give you immediate feedback, and an Accountability Partner Program, where you can be matched up with an accountability partner. Check it out here: https://taraswiger.com/starshipbiz

Now, I’m just back from time offline, and I’m following it up with family visits and the holidays, and it’s hard to get back to work, you know?

I’ve found it’s very easy to slip back into just doing the daily grind, doing exactly what I was doing before… but motivation is a bit harder to replace.

So how do you get back to work after taking time off?

Links mentioned in this episode:

How to listen

  • You can subscribe to it on iTunes (If you do, leave a review!)
  • You can listen to it using the player above or download it.
  • Subscribe or listen via Stitcher (or subscribe in whatever you use for podcasts – just search “Explore Your Enthusiasm” and it should pop up!).

Find all the podcast episodes here.

The Adventures

Every day is an adventure. I share the view, the gratitude and the finds on Fridays – you’re invited to join in. You can find all my adventures here, or follow along via email here.

The View
Last nights pumpkin pie brownies turned out beautifully. So beautiful Jay packed half the pie for "work friends."  #yeahright #breakfastofholidaychampions

Tonight is Test Thanksgiving. Pie crust, pot pie filling, folding it all into hand pies. And pumpkin pie brownies (pictured here). #piecrazy #holidaysanity
Beau thinks I use too many exclamation points. #dogblocked
Amazingly delicious pumpkin chocolate loaf. Because I'll make anything pumpkin, anything @isachandra says.  #whatveganseat
Oh dear. English Paper Piecing templates somehow came out of printer, onto my paper cutter and into my hand. After only 3 days of obsessively reading every blog post ever written about them. #followyourenthusiasm #epp @craftypod & @thezenofmaking are dang

 

I am so grateful for:

The Finds:

“Gratitude is giving up all hope for a better past.”

It got me thinking. What would happen if you gave up hope for a better past? I work with people with really awful pasts: abusive childhood, cancer diagnosis, chronic illness. (Yes, we work on businesses, but all this comes up and informs any new adventure.) So I bet you have a past that you spend some time wishing was better. What would happen if you gave that up? If you stopped going over and over the things that went wrong, the people that hurt you, all that you missed out on? How much simpler would your present be?

 

  • Craft Friday! A great idea from Beverly, let's make instead of buy on Black Friday! (I'll be snuggled up with family, so crafting is inevitable!

 

  • If you're dealing with your worst case scenario (cancer, divorce, parental illness), Vanessa will help you unlock your inner Sensei, figure out what help you want and need, and then get bold enough to ask for it. She just opened these sessions, and I made her promise to raise the prices SOON, so grab one while it's ridiculously affordable.

Since someone always asks, these are the recipes I've made this week:

You can find everything I plan to make and do this season here on Pinterest, and all of the vegan recipes I plan to or have made here

 

Need a better plan for your holiday cooking and making? Holiday Sanity can help! It closes in just one week! 

How to deal with your family + maintain Holiday Sanity

holidaysanity2013

Do you dread those family dinners where everyone has an opinion about what you should be doing?

 

Last week a Holiday Sanity Seeker  asked:
How in the world do you deal with family members who keep making lame suggestions about my business? They're treating me like I'm not capable of doing this myself!
Ugh. I know, this is totally annoying and wish I had a magic wand that I could wave over all family members so they'd just be supportive of your venture!
However, the fact is, we can't do anything to change what someone else says. You can absolutely ask them to back off, but they're unlikely to be able to stop themselves.

You can't change your family, but you can change how you receive it.

In this week's video I share my favorite thing to do when someone gives unsolicited advice.


(If you can't see the video above, click here!)

 


Just remember one thing:

What a person says is about them, not about you.

Remembering that whatever someone says is about THEM and not YOU is not easy, but I hope it helps you navigate the holidays!
For more help with holding onto your sanity, check out Holiday Sanity.

What do you do with meddling advice? 

 

 

Want more survival tips? Check out the (free) Definitive Guide.

Sign up here to get more on surviving your business adventures, no matter the season.

 

How to survive the holidays as a Biz Lady

“For the busy Biz Lady, the holiday season is a time of joy (Peppermint mochas! Decorations! Candle light!) and stress (Holiday orders! The post office!). Sanity can be hard to hold on to between filling orders, fulfilling family obligations and standing in the dreaded post office line.

But sanity and profit are possible. It starts with knowing yourself, your business and what you want from the season and then setting expectations (and plans) for yourself and your community.”

Read the rest of my post on DesignSponge.

 

And if you've read that post, you might like

If this is your first time here

Hi! So nice to have you! Get to know me and say hello here. Don't miss the free mini-lesson How To Be An Explorer of your Biz. And, well, start at the Start Here page if you'd like more!

Want more survival tips? Check out the (free) Definitive Guide.

Sign up here to get more on surviving your business adventures, no matter the season.

 

How to enjoy the holidays as a vegan

 

I had a lovely Thanksgiving yesterday, how about you? All my planning and baking turned out great, and my vegan dishes got 4 thumbs up from the 13 year old twins. Now that the holiday season has officially begun, and the meal-including invitations are starting to fill our our calendar, I'm thinking a lot about how to enjoy the season as a vegan.

The cardinal law of being a vegan (or vegetarian, or gluten-free) is simple: Bring your own food. But beyond that, figuring out what to bring can be a challenge. Here are a few things to think about before you pick a recipe:

1. Find the spirit of the event.

Every holiday party has its own personality. Thanksgiving with my in-laws is about big plates of food and every sibling and cousin in one place around the long table. Thanksgiving with my mom is hot chocolate, cookies, tree lighting and craftiness. For some families, it's that Norman Rockwell brining-the-turkey-to-the-table moment.

Before you explore your vegan options for an event, take a second to acknowledge what you want to experience and what you love about it. Is there anything you don't want to feel you're missing out on? What doesn't matter as much to you? How can you take part in the spirit of the thing?

Can you spot the vegan options?

For example, at the big Swiger family dinner, everyone brings several dishes to share, so it's no big deal for me to bring 3 vegan dishes. Jay and I can load up our plates with food we love, and no one notices except to compliment it (out of the three sweet potato options, mine were the only ones completely devoured!).

2. Focus on the seasonal flavors.

 

A lot of vegetarians try to recreate the entire omnivore meal plan, which can be interesting, but is it really what you want?

 

What are the flavors you're most exited about? Focus on recreating those, or make sure there'll be a vegan option. The thing I always loved about Thanksgiving is the stuffing: sage-y, thyme-y, savory; paired with tart cranberries. I've made veggie stuffings in the past, but this year I made a chickpea tart that had the same flavor. My husband loves desserts, so I brought us a vegan version. Neither one of us ever cared about the turkey, so I don't worry about Tofurkey or Field Roasts.

3. Bring what you love.

While it's awesome when your uncle falls in love with vegan black bean empanadas, don't drive yourself crazy pleasing others. Be content that as long as you love it, and it improves your experience: it was worth the effort.

 

And now that you have some ideas for how to pick, here are the recipes I've used (and loved) in the last few years:

  • Black bean squash empanadas, from The Veganomicon – brought to last year's Thanksgiving, and gone to moans and compliments in under 10 minutes.
  • Festive Chickpea Tart– made the night before (but not baked) and then frozen. It thawed as we drove the 3 hours to meal and then baked for 30 minutes. Delicious!
  • These sweet potatoes – they beat out the other two options on the table.
  • Brownie Pumpkin Pecan pie – easier than it sounds.
  • Elvis cupcakes, from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World – a family favorite! Banana cupcakes filled with peanut butter frosting and topped with chocolate ganache.
  • Maple pecan pie – made this for just us…and I'm smitten.

What do you do to enjoy the many eating opportunities during the holidays?

 

This is the first in a series on “How to enjoy the holidays as a…” (Maker, Introvert, Writer, etc)

Have any suggestions for what I should cover next?

Want more survival tips? Check out the (free) Definitive Guide.

Sign up here to get more on surviving your business adventures, no matter the season.

Planning for non-planners

Confession: I'm not a planner.

There, I said it.

I love to implement ideas as soon as I have them.
I like to focus on the part of my business  that I'm most excited about, at that moment.

I run two businesses, teach classes monthly, email tips for craftybiz weekly and write daily.
And yet. I'm not a planner.
I write, teach, email as inspiration strikes.

This is my dirty secret.

Because  this is not what I recommend.
Operating ONLY in this way ensures that I forget all about things like holidays, or anniversaries, or opportunities to do something really cool.

Luckily, it's possible to both ride the wave of inspiration and to plan a bit.
It's all about the Cycle of Creativity.

When I'm on a high, when I'm feeling the momentum of creativity pushing towards more creativity and action, I ride it. I do it.

But when that fades and I'm feeling fallow, I can take the time (and energy) to stop and look around.

Where am I now?

Where do I hope to be? What deadlines (real and imagined) are looming?

I was doing a bit of this planning today (because, yes, the combination of a yarn flurry last week and the flu has landed me squarely in the restive part of the cycle) and I thought I'd share some of the process.

Most of this is done in my journal and all of it comes organicially. I try to let myself write and write, without editing and without worry about What It All Means.

An assortment of non-planning questions

What's coming up? Dates, classes, holidays, themes, money needs? What does the next week  look like, as it is, right now?
The next month?
What would I like to have the next week look like? What about the next month?
(this includes: personal and business, emotional and financial)
Is there something that's been on the back burner that's ready to move forward?

Now. What does it all Mean?

What fits together? What doesn't fit? What can be moved around? What can be put aside?

In other words: what are the connections? The patterns?

And then, if I'm still in the mood

What small steps will take me from Here to There?
Don't be afraid to list Every. Single. Step.

(for example, one of my plans is to take over 100 skeins of handspun to Seattle. How many skeins a week is that? How many a day?)

And the amazing thing?

This planning, it is usually the impetus that moves me from fallow to creative, from empty to full of ideas.

This morning I was achey and tired and mope and now, 1101 words (thanks to 750words) into answering these questions, I am full to bursting with plans and inspirations and plots.

In fact, I came up with a don't-be-overwhelmed-by-the-holidays plan for myself that  I think I'll invite you to play with in the next week or so!
To make sure you get the invitation, sign up for here.

Are you a Planner? How do you do it?