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View Full Version : Falling Behind? Getting Scared?



Jean
09-14-2009, 12:37 PM
It is so easy to do - lots of good trades, swaps, round robins, journals, moleys, etc etc etc. At first the dates seem rather far off, so you're golden...and then life reasserts itself....and then you're feeling pressured....and the dates are looming....and you're not ready to mail....or you're late!

Help is at hand!

First: what NOT to do:
-quit visiting the site
-quit posting
-keep mum about your situation from shame
-browbeat yourself
-get artistically blocked
-make fast cards, pages, etc so you'll have **something** to send in

Presenting... the AFA-Approved Approach to Overcommitted Artists: Face it, Fix it, Move on!

Most important: Stop visiting Open Swaps, ATC Trades, etc. Sign up for NOTHING new.

-Now, ruthlessly drop out of a few swaps to ease the load. Which ones? Those with the soonest due dates. Swap hosts hate waiting for no-shows. Let them know you have to withdraw.
-Next, be open about what happened. Life gets in everybody's way, and fab themes have tempted many of us into signing up for more than we can do comfortably.
-Get to work. Order of priority:
1. Mail out any completed work -or unbegun work - that someone is waiting for - swap returns, books, pages, whatever. If you cannot work in the moley or whatever b/c life is that hectic, be upfront about it and send it on to the next artist. Make arrangements either to catch up or complete your obligation a bit later.
2. Late works of art like PAT, CJ, Moleys...anything someone is waiting on. If you don't think you can do a good job on it, suck it up and let the person know. You can return what they sent you, or you can make arrangements. Most folks are fine with making arrangements -- **if you are upfront about it and communicate regularly.** Don't just send 'anything.' You will not make friends that way.
3. Swaps/trades with soonest due-dates.

We've been there - I've been there. Sometimes it's just life, sometimes it's our fault, sometimes it's a dear family member who doesn't want to go to the PO for you. Sometimes it's illness in ourselves or the family, or maybe a sad loss, or maybe the loss of motivation. We *all* get there, so we all understand.

Here's what nobody understands or excuses:
-sweeping it under the rug
-lying about it
-being nasty and hurtful from the stress
-going MIA with other people's work in your possession.

We've had a lot of new members lately - welcome, y'all! - and so I thought maybe this was a good time to let everyone know that there is very little that can't be remedied among friends.

So if you get in ATC-hell, remember: Face it, fix it, move on.

ETA: Good advice in the posts below, too! ;)

LuvLoz
09-14-2009, 08:00 PM
This is GREAT advice!

Most hosts will certainly prefer you to drop out rather than have to wait around to see if you're sending cards or not, I know I do. :) If you have trouble with a personal trade the key is communication. I've waited two months for a personal trade because my partner ran into some problems in RL, but they kept me updated on their situation and I ended up receiving a very lovely card from once it all settled down.

bluelotusflower
09-15-2009, 09:04 AM
Well written, Jean! Great advice for those of us who are tempted to add one more swap! I over-booked in May. I thought I would have lots of time as I was newly retired. HA! Then I found out what all retirees have said: they have no time at all! So I put restrictions on myself (as you suggested above) until I caught up. I didn't pull out of any swaps, but I stopped looking at new swaps and the gallery. Both were far too tempting! I followed an artist friend's advice as well. Don't sign up for any swap unless 1) you have an idea for EVERY card required, or 2) you have made the cards first, or 3) you begin to work on the swap soon after you sign up. Sometimes a theme sounds great months before when you first sign on, but the enthusiasm wanes as the deadline approaches. It is harder to make cards when the excitement is gone.

One other thing I found helpful. I keep a list of commitments on my notepad in CP. On it I note the swap/trade, number of cards required (plus a hostess card) and due date. The list is arranged in chronological order. I consult it first before I sign up for anything or agree to a trade. It helps me see clearly whether I really do have time to add something else.

If you have no ideas and life overwhelms you, it is better to pull out of a swap immediately rather than wait until the withdrawal date. It isn't fair to those on the waiting list and to the hostess who must scramble to fill your spot at the last minute.

Again, Jean, thanks for writing this important piece. Love the line: "face it, fix it, move on!" Great advice not only for A4A but for Life (with a capital "L") itself! :)

malinmaskros
09-16-2009, 01:28 AM
Great advice, Jean! Iīve found myself in the situation more than once - swaps are too irresistable, trades hard to say no too... When I find myself overwhelmed, I usually write a list, and check as I finish things. I love to see the list filled with checkīs! Now I donīt have the time to do any swaps or trades, so I stay far away from open swaps and the gallery...

OriginalYouth
09-19-2009, 12:34 AM
This is keen!

I'd love for you to add 'PAT' swap cards as one top priority, as they hold up your entire group, plus the host....and create a big organizational postal mess if you are late with these. :)

jonquil
09-19-2009, 03:29 AM
this is wonderful advice Jean - communication is the key

adifferentstory
09-19-2009, 08:52 AM
Such helpful advice Jean. Thanks for putting the time in to write this. I'm sure the advice will help many people over time.

Something I started to do once my health started to deteriorate was to make the cards first and then sign up. As I never know when i'll be able to do art it's a much better solution for me. . I subscribe to the swaps of anything that interest me and then work through the list starting with the swaps I like best. Occasionally i've missed the sign up deadline or the swap is full by the time i've finished the cards but it's not the end of the world as I can put them in my gallery for personal trades.

Jean
09-22-2009, 02:45 PM
This is keen!

I'd love for you to add 'PAT' swap cards as one top priority, as they hold up your entire group, plus the host....and create a big organizational postal mess if you are late with these. :)

PAT was the first thing on the to-do list - right after mailing out stuff that could go. It's important - all those potential negative iTraders! - so I had it first after mailouts.

Jean
09-22-2009, 02:47 PM
Such helpful advice Jean. Thanks for putting the time in to write this. I'm sure the advice will help many people over time.

Something I started to do once my health started to deteriorate was to make the cards first and then sign up. As I never know when i'll be able to do art it's a much better solution for me. . I subscribe to the swaps of anything that interest me and then work through the list starting with the swaps I like best. Occasionally i've missed the sign up deadline or the swap is full by the time i've finished the cards but it's not the end of the world as I can put them in my gallery for personal trades.

I've gotten into filled swaps by having the cards ready for immediate mailing. A lot of hosts will open their swaps for a sure swapper in anticipation of withdrawals down the line.

TimeInMyHands
10-12-2009, 03:21 PM
Thanks for posting this Jean! I wish I would have known all this before I got myself into a few jams but I think it's one of those things you just have to have happen once or twice before you figure it out!

Donnacr
10-23-2009, 11:08 AM
This is all fantastic advice but I would also add: look at where you have to send your cards - local or international. I am always international and so I have all my swaps listed on my calendar MINUS 2 WEEKS to allow for mailing time.
I have been in a few swaps lately where people have suddenly realised that the host is not local and have had to pull out as they didn't have mailing time - very frustrating for all concerned.

bluelotusflower
10-23-2009, 01:02 PM
look at where you have to send your cards - local or international. I am always international and so I have all my swaps listed on my calendar MINUS 2 WEEKS to allow for mailing time.

Great advice, Donnacr! :)

Cheeka
11-19-2009, 05:52 PM
Great advice Jean, as I have been guilty of over-extending myself as well! Now I sign up for no more than 3, and try to start working on them immediately!

1 Art Lady
12-02-2009, 04:24 PM
This is good info, especially since I am a newbie. Thanks for the sound info on how to handle things if one does get into a jam!

1 Art Lady
12-02-2009, 04:51 PM
This is good info, especially since I am a newbie. Thanks for the sound info on how to handle things if one does get into a jam!

Evil Seedlet
01-13-2010, 10:00 PM
Another tip, make you you have the resources to deliver on all the commitments you make. I signed up for quite a few things and promised several people cards.. and I ran out of stamps. The due dates for the swaps are quite a ways off and I will have stamps by then, but some personal trades might take a bit longer than I would have liked. So yeah.. keep track of your resources.

ICraft
10-20-2010, 01:27 AM
Great advice Jean - I hope that a lot of newbies read it. It's so easy to be an excited new members signing up for lots of swaps - but overextending yourself and signing up for so many things usually ends up a scary mess - chances are the player will end up feeling overloaded and overwhelmed - then the site becomes more of a chore instead of being the fun and creative place it really is.

Art101
11-18-2010, 05:24 AM
I do fine with the "making the art" part of the trade. But where I get bogged down is in the keeping track of giving Itraders and REPs, and making sure all my cards are received, etc. It is the paperwork (for lack of a better word) that suprisingly adds up to quite a chunk of time. In other words, the "making the art" is only 1/2 the task, the paperwork doubles the time needed to do a trade/swap. Anticipating the paperwork is important to prevent overextending myself.

fluffycat
03-04-2011, 03:51 PM
I keep a calender of when cards are due, when I mail cards out and when I receive cards. I also keep notes in type pad in the User CP about what swaps I'm in, who I owe cards etc. I can forget things easy so this is important for me to keep up with. Also, I don't erase PMs with a swap host or a person from a personal trade until the swap is complete and everyone has their cards.

Donnacr
03-04-2011, 08:47 PM
As soon as I receive my returns from a swap I put a little note in the thread and immediately give rep and iTrader. It takes little longer than opening the envelope and I then have a clear conscience when I file my beautiful cards.
I used to stress about chasing where my own cards ended up but now I look at every rep that I receive as a bonus - I sent my cards away and it is a nice surprise when the thank you comes.

Gerry
04-20-2011, 12:03 PM
I have set up different folders in my subcriptions, I have the swaps I am in, in the main folder, then I have also set up a maybe folder, which I move swaps to my main one if I do decide to join.
I then have a posted folder, an arrived folder, then a back to me folder.
I move them around depending on where I am with the swap groups.
This works well with swap groups, personal trades I use my message folders in a similiar way.

art_junkie
01-08-2012, 03:43 AM
Lesson I have learned the hard way: do not clean up your mail box thinking that you'll remember what you promised to who!

Beckster
03-16-2012, 05:40 PM
Something that works for me and keeps me from overextening myself is to limit myself to 3 swaps and 2 PIFS/tags at a time. I can manage that amount without feeling overwhelmed. If i'm at my limit and find a swap i want to join, it's an extra incentive to get to work and open up a spot!

Lindley
11-20-2012, 10:06 PM
Who ever knew that Excel had so many practical applications? I have a spreadsheet to track all my ATC stuff. It keeps me on track.

TrailRider
04-06-2014, 11:48 AM
Hi Jean, I'm one of those new members, and although I haven't succumbed to the temptation of signing up for too many swaps to handle (yet!) I can see how easy it would be. Thanks for good advice in advance of possible overwhelment!

artsteph
06-20-2014, 10:11 AM
Gratefully read and duly noted!

Donnacr
07-01-2014, 11:36 PM
To get to your Inbox - go to the very top of the page and click on 'Private messages' (if you have any unread messages this will be white and underlined with the number of unread messages to the right).
When your Inbox page opens you will find your messages filed in date, and time, order - ie your most recent will be at the top and the oldest will be at the bottom. It will include ALL messages that you have not deleted - read & UNread.
To open a PM simply click on the underlined heading (NOT the name - that will take you to that person's profile page).

The letter opens on a new page and at the bottom right corner of the PM you will find 2 buttons - 'Forward' and 'Reply'. Simply click on the 'Reply' button and you will be sent to a new page where you can type your reply.
When you have finished just click on 'Submit Message' at the bottom of your reply window and you are done!

If you want to delete PMs that you no longer need - open the PM as you would normally. UNDER the PM you will find another box 'Delete this message'.
Click in the blank 'Delete this message' square - which then shows a tick, and click on the 'Delete this message' bar.

Be careful with this as, when they are deleted, they CANNOT be retrieved!

I hope this helps

violet
10-25-2015, 04:43 PM
Thank you Jean and everyone who has posted organization ideas to this thread. I am new to the site, everything looks like such fun, and I tend to overcommit anyway. I am now doing one swap at a time, and picking swaps with a date a month or more into the future. That works for me.

ferretgirl
05-07-2017, 01:40 AM
I just want to let the artists that I owe art work to that I am dealing with a mom that has terminal cancer & a niece that just got diagnosed with leukemia. I have not forgotten anyone & am not flakking; I am just running behind but will try to work on things as I can. I do apologize. Being able to do art work soothes my already frazzled brain waves. Just know that I have not forgotten about you!!

Colour across canvas
05-24-2017, 03:13 AM
I absolutely agree. well written.

ferretgirl
06-24-2017, 04:49 AM
My mom passed away on June 20th & we are going through her house trying to clean it out. Still needing time off from what I owe several artists. Will try to get back to you shortly with what I owe you....