When the universe invited me to step through a door marked “Real Photographer” several weeks ago, I answered simply, “Sure. Why not?”
My friend and Master Gardener mentor Nancy had asked if I’d be interested in exhibiting my photography as part of Vienna, Virginia’s 125th anniversary celebration. She was offering me a spot as the featured artist at Vienna’s Freeman Store on May 31, when the town’s historic Church Street would be transformed into an “Avenue of the Arts.”
“You should also have a vendor table at Vienna’s Garden Faire on June 13.”
That was about seven weeks ago.
Since then, I’ve been like a mouse on a spinning wheel — choosing potential images to feature, researching greeting card production, finding a “real” printer (not the cheesy Costco or Vistaprint experiments I had tried before), and developing (with the help of my amazing friend Doris in Singapore) a logo to have on the back of the greeting cards and photos, as well as on my new website (scheduled for launch later this month), and on other marketing material (also to be used for my upcoming book).
I learned to size the photos to match my greeting card dimensions (then resized them again to allow for the “bleed” that the printer needed), ordered boxes to hold the cards (then ordered again when I chose the wrong size the first time), ordered envelopes (then ordered more when my now non-existent math skills only calculated for a fraction of what was needed to have eight per box), and sampled different paper finishes when I wasn’t 100% happy with the first proofs. And that was only for the greeting cards, which, I am thrilled to report, I absolutely LOVE in their final form.
I planned to have matted prints as well, so I ordered a bunch of standard 11X14 mats to use with 8X10 prints. But looking at “real” prints for sale (and following the advice of photographers who had done exhibits before), I decided I wanted to have a white border on the print for my initials. I went to an all-day Photoshop class (it was the first time I had ever used the software) to learn to do that.
The instructor of the class informed me that I needed to calibrate my computer monitor if I was moving to professional-level printing. “What’s that mean?” I asked. Yet another technical issue to figure out.
In the meantime, I ordered some test prints on metal and on canvas to see which surface complemented my macro floral photography. That required more research to find the best-reviewed suppliers, then more resizing of images. The winner was metal, which brings out the color and details of the photographs brilliantly and has the added benefit of being weatherproof. They’re gorgeous wherever you hang them, and stand up to conditions in high humidity rooms and outdoor spaces. Pretty cool!
Yesterday, the day after I got the last of my inventory ordered (just a hair shy of two weeks out from my first gig), I turned on my computer and a big yellow triangle and exclamation point popped up on the screen, announcing:
Your startup disk is full. You need to make more space available on your startup disk by deleting files.
I laughed out loud. So true, on so many levels.
I admit, I had ignored the earlier warning of Your startup disk is almost full. Several times in fact. Now I was stuck.
So instead of responding to questions from my web designer or finalizing my product pricing or loading the credit card payment system onto my iPad (the same iPad I bought three weeks ago and haven’t even taken out of the box yet), I spent the entire day yesterday transferring photographs from my computer to an external drive.
In the process of clearing over 8,000 image files from my hard drive, I felt my own head clearing a little. Creating space on my computer — just like creating space in my closet or clearing unproductive thoughts from my head through meditation — lifted a weight. I could breathe easier and felt new space in front of me for future growth.
Rather than panicking at the sight of the message, I chose to frame it as a message from the universe — slow down, take a breath, and regroup.
I realized too that letting my meditation and exercise habits slip a little in recent weeks has exacerbated the sense of data overload in my head, as well as on my hard drive.
Tomorrow is a brand new opportunity to refocus, breathe deeply, and live in alignment with my purpose without letting the pressures of new challenges lead to system overload.
Wish me luck!
And for those of you in the Northern Virginia/Washington, D.C. area, come on over to Vienna’s Church Street on May 31 to check out the “Avenue of the Arts.” I’ll be set up in front of the Historic Freeman Store, adjacent to the W&OD bike trail and across the street from the caboose. Can’t wait! Hope to see you there!!
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