“You Know What You Should Make?”

You Know What You Should Make HiJB

Someday, scientists will discover the specific gene that forces the majority of the population to approach the maker nearest them and confidently inquire: “You Know What You Should Make?”

It does not matter if this is a thing even remotely related to what the maker creates.  It doesn’t matter if it’s even a good thing to make.  It doesn’t matter if the person receiving such information shows a modicum of interest.  Due to this genetic disorder, the teller is forced, beyond their biology, to tell you what you should make.

And every time a YKWYSM? happens, I become instantly defensive.

What I want to respond to “You Know What You Should Make?”:

  • A call to your therapist?
  • A stiffer drink?
  • Something you saw on Etsy, only cheaper and just for you?
  • Let me guess…it’s ugly, right?
  • If you say “hats.” “baby clothes,” or “baby hats,” I WILL FLIP OUT!
  • Yes.  In fact, I’m working on it right now.  I spend a large quantity of time working on new patterns, projects, and plans.  Would you like to hear about them, or do you just want to tell me your half-cocked idea?

I try to be really open to new ideas, but there’s something about that phrase that shuts me down.  Why do I feel like it’s an attack?  Why do I want to run screaming from every iteration?  I’m sure it comes from some lack of self-confidence, because it’s so difficult for makers and solopreneurs to assure the real or assumed doubters that we’re running real businesses.  You can’t imagine the average person running into an emergency room and yelling to the doctor: “You Know What You Should Do?” You assume the surgeon is a professional and has more knowledge than you.  It’s both a benefit and a hindrance that people feel so connected to indie businesses that they freely share their thoughts and ideas.

And the worst part?  Every once in a while, they have good ideas.

So, let’s view all the YKWYSM? folks as free research: they feel connected to us and possibly, our business.  They want to feel helpful, and good news, we can give them what they want.  And they are reacting to what they believe is the true nature of our business (something we might not be communicating as well as we think).  So wall off your heart, and the next time someone says, “You Know What You Should Make?”, suppress your smirk. Try your best to fight the Pavlovian response to this inquiry that amazingly combines eye-rolling and side-eye.

Give a tiny smile, connect to your curiosity, and imagine the tall drink you’re going to have after this…

“No, what?”

Phew, the easy part is over.  Unfortunately, now you have to listen to what will probably be a ramble of knitting, crochet, glue guns, glitter, and something they saw on Ellen.  Let your mind race – could you actually make that thing?  Would people want it?  What would be your spin on it?  Craft in your mind for one blissful moment.  Or, just look into their eyes as convincingly as you can until they take a breath. Now you can exclaim:

“Totally.  Can you email that to me?  I’m so bad about forgetting all the great ideas people tell me.”

That’s right, put the onus on them.  Just think of how important they’re going to feel! Or, if you’re feeling kind, just say thank you.  Then excuse yourself and grab that tall drink you were thinking about.

Jenny Brown

22 Replies to ““You Know What You Should Make?””

  1. You are too sweet, Nancy! I knew a lot of people went through this, but I never knew how many! (And the worst part is, I know I’ve done it to people, too). Erin took the photo and I absolutely love it, even though I look awful. It is YKWYSM personified. Thanks so much and I’m so glad I met you, too 🙂

  2. You are too sweet, Nancy! I knew a lot of people went through this, but I never knew how many! (And the worst part is, I know I’ve done it to people, too). Erin took the photo and I absolutely love it, even though I look awful. It is YKWYSM personified. Thanks so much and I’m so glad I met you, too 🙂

  3. I can’t stop laughing! 🙂 This is so “craft universal” and a post that any of us creatives can relate to! But, your photo is “YKWYSM” perfection! And in black and white? It’s like an iconic photo in the making! 🙂 I’m so glad I met you, Jenny! ♡

  4. Not a fan of people telling me what I ‘should’ do in general, and I know they are just trying to be helpful, but sometimes the stuff they suggest is so random. I frequently respond with, “How would that work?” and they never know because they haven’t though through the logistics.

    I made a doll for my niece’s baby shower and my SIL made a diaper cake, so for the rest of the night people were telling us to go into business together. Finally I was like, “I have a business but thanks!”

    1. Ha ha – totally! I know they want to help, but the suggestions are so crazy and complicated sometimes!
      I really want to see that doll now – is it on your blog? But seriously, I have someone who keeps trying to get me to crochet lace dresses and clothes – that sounds like a really difficult nightmare! I don’t think I could even do it, let alone well. And I don’t want to! Bless these sweet people’s hearts!

  5. It’s the “should” word that makes me crazy. Oh yeah, why should I do anything you say? I have a friend who used to make a food product to sell, people were always telling him how he SHOULD make this or that variety. He usually would just smile and say “thanks for the idea” but sometimes he wanted to say “don’t you like it the way I make it now?” and challenge them back. I don’t think people realize how it sounds. I *love* when they say “You should make your living knitting” really? And you want to pay me what this pair of socks is worth in my time, even at minimum wage? I doubt it. $400 dollars for this lace shawl? they look at me like I ma crazy.

    1. I feel ya! The “should” is the worst – why does everyone use that language! Why don’t they say “I have an idea you might like” or something nice? I also agree about the making a wage! Folks think that hats just appear out of nowhere, and that because you enjoy making them, you don’t deserve to make as much money. There’s no discount crafter grocery store (although wouldn’t that be cool)? I gotta eat just like everybody else! 🙂

      1. I was waiting for a list of all the crazy suggestions! Lololol. I definitely think it comes from people who are excited to have input. They probably don’t know a ton of knitters… oh crap.. .that’s me haha

  6. It’s usually: Something you saw on Etsy. Only cheaper and just for you. ::sigh::
    I always get really awkward about it in person. And when someone tags me or posts something on my Facebook wall (that I’ve probably already seen 2349823490 times before) I never know what to say other than “cute!” #thestruggleisreal

  7. Probably it all depends on how I am asked. If it is something nice as a starter, followed by “for a minute I thought you were making …” or “wouldn’t it be nice to have …” I am okay with your suggestions. However, if is a plain YKWYSM ramble I don’t like it. And that has nothing to do with possible lack of self-confidence – it is rather the other’s lack of manners. You may be right though: maybe I miss out on some fabulous ideas they may have had … I need to give this some thought 🙂

    1. Oh yeah, Carina! It all depends on their attitude and intent. But I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten great ideas. If I only the meanies would just filter themselves out…

  8. You are so thoughtful of other peoples feelings..thats why I love that we are friends! Telling it like it is but seem so compassionate of others. You are a great person, I love that about you and miss you bunches!

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