Several years ago when I finally quit smoking it came from finally deciding that I was just finished wasting my money and feeling like crap every morning. I didn't make a big announcement to my wife, children, or anybody. I made the decision, weaned myself down and eventually stopped. This time it worked or has worked for the last three years. I had quit before, one time for almost a year, but this time seemed to work because I was making the change for myself and deeply personal reasons. When I quit in the past it was because I was supposed to, this time around I wanted to.
|The HMS Resolution (1771-1782), James Cook's ship, watercolour by midshipman Henry Roberts*|
The overall resolution for me is to be able to make a living building furniture by hand. I don't have to sell to the world, I don't have to have a president use one of my rockers, I don't have to sell a book about my work and ideas, though all three of those things would be awesome, they can be the next resolution beyond. Now this is not something I am sprinting towards. I'm not buying into anything that remotely tingles of "Start Your Own Woodworking Business Now!" I am taking my time and building the foundations of something I want to last. I am not naive enough to believe in overnight success, I will take this problem one bite at a time.
The best way I know to combat burn out along the path to a bigger goal is to make sure to celebrate the accomplishments made along the way, to remind yourself of where you started and see the distance you have come. That is the ultimate purpose of this post.
I started this year working inside a small shop, a very small shop, a space roughly 5' X 9' and sharing floorspace with a stairwell.
Saw Till or the Sandpaper Storage Chest. Of the big things planned in the next year is a storage shelf for my hand planes and a joiner's tool chest in homage to the Old World Tool Chest given to me this year by my Father in Law.
But planes are not the only area my hand tool collection has grown, from hand saws to chisels to braces and bits to marking tools. It has been a very satisfying year and I fear I may have to start to slow down that trend soon or I may find myself drowning, but then again what a sweet death that would be. I think the trick moving forward will to become a little more discerning.
What am I on the look out for as far as a bigger tool in 2011. Most likely, a full size bandsaw.
And here on the blog I had one personal goal that I was sure would pay off. I wanted to manage to write at least one hundred blog posts in a year and I did make that accomplishment. Following behind that has come other great things, including the chance to get to meet and trade ideas with many other woodworkers, from comments left on the blog to getting to know some folks via media like Twitter. (I still can't get over the ridiculous name, but the people that I get to know there are well worth putting up with it)
All in all 2010 was a tough and challenging year over all, but as I look back at some of the accomplishments and steps forward towards the better, I have to admit I am not unhappy and infact I am looking forward to 2011 with a good deal of curiosity and anticipation for things to come. I hope that you are all doing the same!
Cheers and Happy New Year!
*"HMS Resolution" and "The Tortoise and The Hare" photos were used from the Wikipedia Commons website