Less obsessing. More making. (Or, how listing things on Etsy is like cleaning the bathroom.)

After I had a baby, I had to change the way I did things. I started using this pretty helpful technique that I learned in a SARK book- micromovements. Basically, you break whatever it is down into a bunch of teeny tiny steps. Very practical if you only get teeny tiny bits of time to do stuff in. It worked great for awhile, but after awhile, I found myself actually doing less. Things started to feel just too big.

The old thought process went something like this:
“I need put this thing on Etsy. Okay, in order to do that, I need to finish it. Which involves 5,000 micro steps. And then, I’ll have to get the camera down from the high shelf. And then I’ll have to wait for the right light. And then! Then, I have to find the cable. And then I have to upload the phooootoooos to the computer. That will take forever! Oh, and then, I’m going to have to Photoshop them. Ugh. And then, and then! Then I have to write a listing. And figure out all the individual things. And then, I have to try and, like, promote it somehow. It’s…too…much…work!”
This is totally relevant. Lots of ice cream was (and is) consumed after these thoughts.

Everything started to feel like too much work. I stopped writing stuff for this blog. I stopped making patterns. I put my online shop on hold, indefinitely.

On the one hand, it was totally what I needed to do at the time. I needed to take off all the self imposed pressure and hit the reset button.
On the other hand, once I was ready and started doing these things that I had dreaded again, I realized…hey, they’re not so very time consuming and horrible. It takes like five seconds to upload photos. That shelf isn’t so high! I know exactly where the cable is. It’s not five thousand things left to do, it’s three. And they’re done.

Just getting in there and doing it is so much better than thinking about it endlessly. Like chores- thinking about cleaning the bathroom is awful, and you can find ways to put it off *almost* indefinitely. But when you don’t worry about it beforehand and instead just get in there and scrub the dang thing, it’s over quickly, and you feel great afterwards because you got something done. And your bathroom is clean. Bonus!

About Claire

Absolutely Small is textile artist Claire Chambers. Claire Chambers is a crazy-pants artist/crafter who spends most of her time indoors, very near to Portland, Oregon. She likes making people laugh, chickens and pugs, and writing about herself in the third person. She is utterly obsessed with making things out of fabric.


  1. oh you’re so right. before we moved (end of feb) I redesigned and knitted some new kats. I *still* haven’t photographed and listed them, because I can’t face tracking down a decent photo spot in the new house. I’ve tried one so far, not happy with it – but really? it would have been ok. so somebody KICK ME!

    • Moving is so disruptive! It took me over a year to really start rolling along again, so don’t feel bad. I’m not so good at kicking, but the world needs your fabulous meerkats! Also, how have we not managed a Meerkat/Chickenpants crossover at some point?

      • oooh – crossover sounds interesting. We’ll be moving again after Christmas though, so there might not be toooooo much energy here!

        • Moving twice in a year’s time? YIKES.

          • oh it’s sooooo much worse than that. we sold our house in 2012 (neighbour from hell) and moved to rental, intending to stay there for 3 years then buy again. the rental came way too close to flooding…so we moved area to another rental, intending to stay for 2 years. that house was too far for family visits…so we moved again – to where we are now. next move will be to the house we’ll buy – so that’ll be 5 houses between 2012 and 2015!

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