April. Funny ol' month!
I think there's a general perception that indy artists and makers kind of only work on the run up to Christmas, maybe with a few summer markets thrown in for fun. I can't speak for others, but I'm pretty full on all year round.
Of course, the final quarter of the year goes from pleasantly busy to 'oh good God, is it not Christmas yet??', but it's full time hours all year round, rising to 3X full time hours at Xmas. People often say "Och you'll get a break in January", but I don't. The deadline pressure is massively and thankfully reduced as soon as Christmas passes, but every year, my January and February diary is still full of orders placed the previous year. Usually my Christmas order window closes around mid-August, so from there on, your orders start filling up the days and weeks after Christmas. It's a lovely time of year. I can finally fit in the odd long lie, I can usually knock off around the time Mr No Books gets home from work, and I generally don't have to wear anything that isn't pyjamas. It's the lifestyle-payoff for the previous months, and I love it.
But what most people are surprised to hear is that I'm busy all year round - except for April. Now, during my first April in business, I was still working at my day job of 20 years, so I didn't really notice anything. By the time my second April came round, I'd taken the mahoosive step to leave that job, to focus solely on nobookswereharmed.co.uk. Having left the day job on the last day of September, I was just about starting to believe that I hadn't made the biggest mistake of my life, when April came around. And I was DEAD. Felt like the arse had dropped out of my business, and near enough dropped out of myself in the process! It was terrifying. I was looking at everything, what had I missed, what wasn't I doing correctly, what could I change, who could I contact that I hadn't already etc etc. It was beyond scary. And confusing! Completely perplexing! But fine, the year rolled on and everything was fine, great, and I think I'd kinda forgotten that April, when the next one arrived. Again, I'd been nice and steady in January, February, March - and then next to nothing in April. That one, I had to chase up a couple of overdue invoices from trade customers, because there was just far too much month at the end of my money. I think it was that one that I seriously asked myself if I could really live like this, it felt like way too much of a rollercoaster.
Fast forward a few years, and I FINALLY have April imprinted on my brain, and no longer shite myself when it comes round and I once again remember/realise it's rather a lean month. Now, I recognise it for 'my' chance for a bit of downtime, bit of spring cleaning, bit of breathing space.
This one is slightly different. Usually, in April, I get a good start made on building NoBooksOnTour.com stock for the summer event season, but this year I have intentionally booked very, very few pop ups. So this is the first April that I've actually gone full 2/3/4 days in a row without folding a single page. And. It's weird!! But It's also highlighted just how quiet April really is for me, and I'm just glad I'd finally recognised this, before this year, or it would be proper frigging scary this year, without the distraction of making stock.
I did have a tiny wobble a couple of weeks ago, but it kinda went "Jeezuz I'm quiet - oh wait it's April - Oh I suppose that's OK then", which I can tell you is vastly different to the sense of impending doom that used to sweep over me every April, because I'm a bit slow, and it took me quite a few Aprils to feel comfortable with the pattern hahaha
So yeah. Just thought I'd pop this in a wee blog. I still dunno what I'm doing with this thang. There's a few entries now, so I might finally share it. I think I'd have loved to read this a few years back, especially my 2nd & 3rd April, when I was proper shook by how quiet I suddenly was. And also just an interesting bit of insight to anyone else, that, no, I work alllll year round, and no, I'm not dead in Jan/Feb - but April, yeah, April, safe to assume I'm gonna be quieeeet!
So, there ya go. That's the latest bloggin' from ma noggin'!