And I should know because I am an addict.
Four and half years ago when I was being treated for GHB addiction my doctor asked me what I planned to do for money. At the time I was just discovering the beauty of blogging and all the possibilities that it held: a way to share my ideas, artwork, meet and converse with like-minded people and perhaps earn an income. I had already made the decision to never venture back into the applied arts world of graphic design and was looking for a more holistic way to live that in turn complimented my ideals and would allow for personal growth but more importantly, live as an artist.
The doctor asked how much time do you spend online? I replied saying about eight hours a day as I was deep into the depths of learning and researching and testing CMS‘s which in my eyes was no different than attending school, college or university. The Doc agreed. And to this day I still spend about eight hours online each and every day. She offered me a piece of advice… when the work or learning ceased and the obsession, compulsion, or excessive psychological dependence of being online outweighed those two then perhaps it was time to question what you are doing.
This leads me to Etsy. I’m addicted and not in a good way. This isn’t passion. It is addiction and it’s ugly.
Can you spot the difference?
Being on Etsy did make me feel happy. I was contributing to a community of artisans and learning about the inner workings of Etsy; namely setting up shop, taking photographs, scanning art, printing it out, advancing and honing my skills and above all collaborating and connecting with people who loved my art enough that they would buy it! It was and still to this day is exhilarating.
Today, I find myself spending so much more time on Etsy. I feel like I’m always hungry and beating a dead horse and competing just to be seen amidst all the other wonderful sellers. It’s become a ruthless nightmare attempting to understand the ever changing SEO updates, renewing and relevant search. The flagging system, desperation, spamming, resellers, abuse of tagging and admin favoritism are well beyond what an insane person can ignore. And the lack of adequate seller tools such as batch editing, non-existent coupon codes, the inability to not add live links to our listings and shop announcements and no streamlined listing process and enforcement of the TOU is something Etsy should be ashamed of in 2010.
I myself feel ashamed that I am no longer doing to do what I do best… creating, sharing, helping and connecting with other sellers, buyers and fans of my artwork. Without you guys I’d be lost. And therein lies the proof of the addiction. I’m not connecting well with you on Etsy.
I’ve stopped listing new artwork on Etsy, stopped madly renewing into the abyss and stopped frequenting treasuries, stopped reading the insane forums, stopped communicating and all in that order. The less I did on Etsy, the happier and healthier I felt and the more I connected with you on Twitter, Facebook and here on this blog and the more I realized the goodness there and here. I’ve begun researching into e-commerce and feel the need to write and keep a journal again.
I’m no more scared and broken financially than I was four and half years ago.
When something affects your life so much that the negatives are far outweighing the positives then you must go deep inside and reconcile it before it spins maddeningly out of control. I shut my Etsy art shop down today for at least one or maybe two weeks: perhaps indefinitely.
At first I thought it was Twitter or Facebook causing me to feel this way and yes, it was a part of it because of the incessant onslaught of auto-fed tweets from other Etsy sellers, all of whom I’ve unfollowed, but by no means was this the root cause of the addiction. Etsy, sadly, is.
And what is artwork if it can’t be received? Nothing.
Give me some time OK. Keep reading. I’ll be updating. Plans are in the works and I’m excited.