This is for you if you’re thinking of creating or marketing a digital product (eBook, PDF, pattern, music, video, tutorial or online course…) but don’t quite know how to get started.
Last summer I participated in the Small Product Lab (see my review of my lab experience), organised by Gumroad. What I learned about taking a product from idea to launch was ever so helpful, and the community was supportive, encouraging, uplifting…just amazing!
Now previous participants have got together and are organising the Digital Product Mastermind Group on facebook – start is in two days, 18th April 2016, so you can still join.
This time the challenge is how to develop a product idea and take it all the way to launch in two weeks.
Obviously the short time span allows only for the creation of a small product (unless you’ve got something all ready to go), but if you’ve been procrastinating with publishing or launching it, this event might just give you the kick you’ve been waiting for. 😉
The reason I’m asking is that a couple of months ago I had to make a very difficult decision.
The question was: How can I make a living doing what I love?
You all know that I love textiles, especially quilting and embroidery – well, I can’t do without stitching. 🙂
And I also love drawing and designing patterns.
Since the Small Product Lab last summer, I had been thinking about selling quilting patterns with step-by-step instructions. I recycled a few old ones and drew a few new and started sketching and outlining illustrated tutorials.
But for some strange reason none of these got finished. It was only after giving myself a mental break around Christmas that I discovered why I was procrastinating with what I believed was exactly what I wanted: It was way more than I could handle time-wise.
Considering that ideas and images keep popping into my mind all the time, turning a design into a pattern was a frustratingly slow process, and working out, writing and illustrating the instructions the way I want to slows it down even more.
So although this idea got a “love it” on my evaluation chart, it got an “insufficient” in the category Making a Living. I was about to give up, including this blog.
Anyway, the word art tutorial I created for the Small Product Lab had also got me re-started on pen & ink drawings, and after designing some Colouring Cards for adult friends, I saw a new door opening.
I didn’t need to abandon this blog at all, just as I wouldn’t give up stitching, so…
…the difficult decision I made was to consider All Things Textile – including this blog – a hobby, with no pressure, no planned schedule, and no aspirations…just for joy and fun.
My websiteWorld of Magnifica (Printables for Colouring Pages and Tangles, eCards, Tips & More) went live about a month ago and my days are getting into a new rhythm. I also know by now that I will have time to maintain this blog with occasional posts and patterns. 🙂
What I don’t know, though, is: Are you interested in quilting patterns and designs without detailed instructions?
I’m thinking of patterns and templates and perhaps an outline of the order of piecing, but no pictures of the quilted project or the process, nor indications of size/measurements or how much fabric you’ll need – they’d be up to you.
What do you think? Please comment – I’d love to hear how you feel about this.
PS: These are a few colouring examples from the Mini Colouring Book “Patterns for Tumbling Blocks”. You can download it from Gumroad.
I finally got round to digging out some patterns I designed in 1996 (!) when I had my first major quilting phase. Most of them never made it into Fabric World, and if you are designing quilts yourself you’ll understand why – so many designs, so little time…
Still, although I already knew at the time that I’d never make most of them, the creative act of designing (or doodling, as I call it) gave me great pleasure and kept me balanced during a time that was rather stressful and difficult for me. Giving myself frequent mini breaks of sometimes only ten minutes made a whole lot of difference to my days. And doodling can be a lot more mind-freeing and relaxing than even handstitching.
Anyway, browsing these patterns led to three conclusions:
I don’t need to make everything myself
Even if I might not get around to making these quilts, perhaps they can see the light of day with help from someone else – therefore I’ve decided to publicise them during the next months. Stay tuned!
When I find something highly enjoyable, I should share my experience with others
Because of my positive experiences, I also want to encourage you to start doodling, be it patchwork and quilt patterns or just free-form designs.
You haven’t got time? I’d say: especially if you haven’t got much time for the actual sewing.
You’d be interested but don’t know how to get started? Maybe this will give you the kick you’ve been waiting for: On 3rd September I’ll release a sketchbook kit for quilters, consisting of
the How to Make a Mini Sketchbook Tutorial,
a collection of special grid papers for quilters,
suggestions and instructions for how to use the grids
and how to turn the sketches into full-sized patterns,
ideas and tips for coming up with variations,
and of course examples (read: blocks and quilt patterns for you to make).
The first part, the Sketchbook Tutorial, is available for download on 3rd September (but you can pre-order already), the rest will be released in installments until 30th September.
Thinking big – but making miniatures
My third conclusion has also to do with the fact that my sewing machine is playing up and I had to stop working halfway through a bed-sized quilt. But a few days ago I came across a lovely little quilt: Zigzag Love in Miniature by Hope @ Hope’s Quilt Designs. And I thought, yes, there’s the answer: make mini quilts! I love handstitching anyway, and mini quilts are not only a lot quicker, but also so useful because I can turn them into mug rags, placemats, cushions, pillows, wall hangings, covers for books and folders… So that’s something to look forward to!
What are you working on?
Do you prefer small or large quilts? Have you tried designing yourself, or have you encountered doubts or problems?
As I’m not finished writing the Mini Sketchbook Quilter’s Kit, I’d love to hear about your design experience in the comments. Maybe there’s a question or problem you have which I can address?
In any case, whatever you create, create with joy! 🙂
It’s already Day 4 of the Small Product Lab course! Today’s assignment is to … well, you read the title of this post.
What we did in the meantime: Decided on our first Small Product, outlined it, gave it a name/title, created a landing page for a newsletter, and wrote a Thank You letter for those who sign up.
Yes, I’m starting the Enermazing Newsletter (= related to my other blog) with focus on scrapbooking, card making, art journals, mixed media and other paper related crafts & techniques. Content: creativity tips and ideas and a small freebie for download three times a month. When I’ve gained a bit of experience with it, I might add a second newsletter with focus on quilting – but before I make any commitments let me see how it goes.
My Small Product is a tutorial for beginners, in pdf format: “5 Simple Steps to Getting Started with Word Art“. I chose this above other possibilities/projects I’m working on because word art is not only an amazing art form (just do a web search for images of “word art” to see what I mean), but also in general very useful for instance for one-of-a-kind images for your blog or social media, or infographics or posters, or for creating your own site header or logo.
As far as textiles are concerned, word art is very well suited for printing, painting or stamping, embroidery, applique and quilting (I’m thinking especially Trapunto) – or a combination of these techniques.
Still, word art need not be elaborate and time-consuming to make, it can just as well be very simple, quick and doodle-y, like the one to the right. If you know how to write, you can create word art using letters, words, or quotes.
You can do it for a practical reason, for switching off or meditation, or just for plain fun. You could even paint a wall (think graffiti), or design/write a postcard or letter as word art, or a whole book, or … what else can you imagine? After all, it’s about nothing less than creatively expressing your Self 🙂
Anyway, that’s enough about my work and progress. How about yours?
Have you got something to show or share that you’re still hiding from the world? What is it? If you hesitate, what are you worried about, what are your doubts? What could you do to dissolve them?
One of the great things about this course is that I’m not doing it on my own. Many participants have similar anxieties and questions, admit similar bouts of overwhelm and doubt regarding both the creation of products and their promotion. We help each other and also get great support from some ex-participants who know what it’s about because they’ve experienced it themselves.
It’s nice to be reminded that anxieties and doubts and hesitation are normal, just part of the process, stepping stones or weight training – but not obstacles 🙂
If you like, write in the comments about what you are working on, where you want to get to, and what you see as your greatest hurdle at the moment.