I have this strong urge to write this blog post and release it out there and it might have been more for myself than for anyone else (selfish, right?). But I have learned to follow my intuition so I’ll just do it. It will probably be a long read so just skip it if you’re not in the mood to read my musings. 😀 I will prepare this without any photos, links or other SEO tools so that it does not even attract someone as a marketing or sales tool. It will probably be boring for many, so this is just a warning to you. 😀

Last days have been quite emotional to me. A day before yesterday, on 2/2/2022, I released Tangle Lab. It should be a community of happy tanglers. Number two is a number of relationships and connections, which I found out only as I was thinking about the content about my newsletter. I thought that this was just another wonderful sign that I’m doing the right thing.

Ever since I started the CZT journey, I was following my CZT colleagues who run their “membership programs”, which is the technical word for a subscription-based offer. I admired the dedication and hard work that goes into it. But personally, I kind of shied away from it. I was afraid that having a fixed date and responsibility would take away from the freedom and joy of creation. So, I opted for project-based classes that I would be able to put out whenever I feel inspired and passionate about something.

And that “strategy” worked just fine for me. Granted, it’s not a business-driven strategy, more like a modality that I felt most aligned with at the moment. I had time to draw, explore, take other people’s classes, do challenges and do only a limited amount of marketing/sales. 😀 It was really rewarding to be able to see people’s photos of their own drawings and read wonderful reviews. I felt grateful and happy.

However, last year the idea about a community started creeping in. And that tiny voice became louder and louder. Until I finally started considering that. Then I kind of made a decision but postponed it for a few months to make sure that I would still want that. It got even louder. For the past few weeks, I went through the prep. Website, the platform I use… Not to go into many details, but my platform only allows Stripe for recurring payments and Stripe is not available to Croatian citizens so I had to come up with a hybrid model which did not make things easier. But I was dedicated and thought that February 2nd would be a nice date for the announcement. I was born on April 4th and I have a strange relationship with numbers. 😀 I guess I overthink, just like with everything else in life. 😀

It was my expectation to start with a small group and gradually, as I post photos of our work, grow into a bigger community. I released a newsletter a day before I posted about it on social media (yesterday) and soon I had to close the enrollments and even open the waiting list. I had very mixed feelings about this. Happy, excited, grateful, humbled, shocked, sad… you name it.

Now I am where I am and I’m waiting for February 16 to meet my tangle family. It’s all so sweet. And so exciting. And I’m a bit anxious, too.

You might know that I have worked in finance and accounting for almost 20 years. I never liked sales and marketing, although I’ve always enjoyed writing. I’m usually very factual and focused. But Zentangle changed so many things about me. No, I still don’t like the sales part and I assume that there are only a few of creative content creators that do. 😀 But I guess that I did a good job with marketing, as there were so many people that reacted so positively to the Tangle Lab announcement.

And now I (over)think – what did I do? What kind of a “promise” have I made to you? Can I deliver?

I would never have found Zentangle if there was no social media. Ever since the first internet forums have emerged, it has had such a huge impact on my creative life, first through jewelry making, and many years later through Zentangle.

However, there are so many negative sides to it. Let’s talk about the pressure to always be better. To strive higher. Admiring and being inspired by other people’s artwork, but then wondering: “Am I good enough?”. Feeling discouraged to create. Being in a creative rut. Feeling the famous FOMO (fear of mission out), anyone? Buying supplies and classes, participating in challenges, doing it all. Or rather, wanting to do it all and ending up feeling exhausted and overwhelmed, with a long “to-do” list made of stuff we want. Why do I mention this? Because I’m pleading guilty to all charges! Certainly not because I’m above any of that.

But let me tell you one thing. My intention for Tangle Lab was not to drive any of those feelings. I want it to be relaxing, fun. It should be accessible to people and invoke the feeling of “I did it and I’ve enjoyed it!” instead of “I haven’t done a good job at it”. It’s not about chasing the new technique or managing a complex design. Although I certainly hope that Tangle Lab will be a space for all to grow and learn, too.

Right now, I’m setting and intention for Tangle Lab and for my role in it (and extend it beyond, to other aspects of my creativity and life). I want to be one of the co-creators. Many times, I feel inadequate and challenged, too, even though I will be in a role of a “leader” in this small community called Tangle Lab. But I want us all to feel enough. No expectations, no judgements and no negative self-talk. Let’s just show up and create. Can it be easier and more beautiful? Let’s sit down to draw together. Come as you are because you are enough.

And if you are not a Tangle Lab member, the same message applies. No expectations and overthinking. Show up for yourself, sit down and draw for the joy of it.

There is only one step of the Zentangle method that is repeated twice in the process and that is appreciation. So, in true Zentangle fashion, let’s just appreciate the possibility to use this amazing tool and draw, filled with gratitude.

And now I’ll just do something that I usually don’t do and publish this without leaving it to be read tomorrow, before I have time to change my mind. 🙂

February, 2022

Written by Anica Gabrovec CZT

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