Two Jobs in the Air, How Many on the Ground?

Week One in the Office: Done.

As many of you know, I am back in Nashville working a contract job.  I will be here until the end of August, plugging away at a forty-hour-a-week desk gig, organizing spreadsheets, mailing letters and other such fun things.  It’s really not as bad as it sounds.  I like the folks I work with, and there is a quasi-monastic feeling to doing so-called menial work: it feels good to know that the small thing you do helps a larger entity function well.  The products one produces in these kinds of jobs, though unextraordinary (ordinary, even!) and unassuming, are still works in which one can take sincere pride.  Even a file clerk makes the world a more beautiful place.  “Hands to work and hearts to God,” as the Shakers would say.

Even if I hated my job, it’s still making otherwise impossible things possible–like having personal health insurance!  Yay!

In the past week of this office job, though, I have not let my plans for freelance artistry go to the wayside.  Oh, no no!  I have a small sewing space set up in my friends’ guest-suite that I occupy.

I have fabrics sorted by color and almost everything I need.

I have dreamed and sketched.  The biggest trouble has been getting started actually sewing.

Yes, I have orders that are pending and under discussion.  But I also have ideas that are still only in my mind.  The creative possibilities available to me are a little overwhelming, and I am feeling the weight of freedom keenly.

With an office job, the directives are rather clear: come in at 8, work on this project, answer that phone call, go upstairs to help someone on some other project, etc.  There are clear-cut parameters to your working time, when you are “on the clock” and when you are not (at least, for us wage-earners, there are clear-cut parameters).  Though there is always variety to my otherwise boring office job, there are specific contours to what constitutes my “job” and how I construct my identity as a temp office worker.  With my sewing/creating life, everything is still so new that I do not have clear directives… yet.

When and how to put my hands to work is up to me.  Such is the life of a freelance anyone, apparently, for there is a multitude of online resources for freelance writers, designers, etc., to help ward off the temptations of a self-imposed schedule.

And there are many temptations.

I have been tempted by how best to name what I do.  When asked what I “do,” do I sew?  Do I create?  Craft, quilt, design?  Do I instigate?  Well, yes.  But how to tell that to well-meaning co-workers in my office without inducing a blank stare is… dicey.

My best plan of action?  Making a plan.  Normally, the concept of planning one’s future is not particularly appealing to me (it often results in hyperventilation and generalized restlessness).  Placing too many demands on where life “ought” to go often places more strictures on where life can take you.  So I’m thinking of these as helpful guidelines…

  1. Launch site ( on or before August 1, 2010.  (Right now, all I have up are my shop policies… take a look and tell me what you think!)
  2. Stock said site with an inventory of at least 12 ready-made items by launch date (I’m not sure why 12 is the magic number… but it is).
  3. Advertise my site on Twitter (@jacquiemade) and Facebook.
  4. Continue sewing sewing sewing!
  5. Create marketing materials, including (but not limited to) branding and product packaging.
  6. Update you all on how these five tasks are going.

These are my tasks in the next month.  Setting this list (albeit a short list filled with items that are much too broad) will help me to feel more confident as I take this next exciting step into becoming a freelance artist.  Though I may be working a 40-hour-a-week job, I ain’t no square.  Yes, I think that sounds good.


2 Replies to “Two Jobs in the Air, How Many on the Ground?”

  1. 12 is a good number for ready-made items. And I like the whole “Open Table” part (since that would be the part I’d be buying from). I like your policy on replacements – does that include the table setting stuff, or just stoles?

    Your plan sounds like a good one. Best of luck!


    1. Thanks for the good feedback, Cat! I feel like 12 is also a good number–enough to show a broad range of items without being overwhelming. I’m still considering if my entire shop should contain 12 items, or if I should aim to have 12 items in each storefront. What do you think?

      I updated my replacement policy for both stoles and table items, to make things clearer. I want to have replacements available (things happen!), but cannot guarantee an identical product… take a look now and tell me what you think.


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