And here goes my first post in a long time, let’s get this show on the road. Friend, I’m hiring. I’m doing it. The position will be a part-time paid Production Designer position for someone in Chicago. More on that in a minute, because first I want to explain why. In my unannounced but definitely intentional break from publishing much on the internet this year, I’ve been digging real deep trying to figure out what to do with this business of mine. After 7 years I was burnt out, overwhelmed, tired of the internet, and feeling like I’d hit a plateau. I couldn’t figure out what to do to get excited about any of it anymore. I considered quitting the whole field, several times. I read many blog posts and articles on business, dutifully filled my Morning Pages almost every day, made time to explore my own creative interests, and consulted my coven of biz lady advisors until my head swam with advice and ideas yet still nothing felt right. Eventually I had to let it go, let the chatter die down, and resign myself to the fact I might feel stagnant for awhile. Or that once I stopped looking, the solution it would make itself known.
That’s pretty much what happened. One idea that came up early on and continued to resurface was the idea of someone to manage the small tasks that pop up during the week. Initially this was a terrifying idea, such responsibility and pressure! But gradually, as I continued to explore it, while I slowly set aside small sums for funding growth, it became the thing that allowed me to breath for a minute. Right now 2-3 days of my week are absorbed with file work, small revisions, and various implementation tasks. It adds up to quite an expanse of time. And, with help there, I can do more for this little business. Things like write more, keep on building a body of personal work. Pitch more projects instead of only responding to referrals, and do some more of things that never seem get done. All I need is some fresh energy and I can keep going. As long as that happens, the rest will take care of itself from there.
As far as the type of working culture I strive for, I pledge to bring my best self everyday. I operate under this assumption, but am also understanding when the occasional off day happens. Because humanity. Together we will work out a system for feedback so you can speak freely without fear of reproach. I also won’t expect you to work with me every day IRL, or even hang out with me outside of work. Unless you want to. You need your own life and I want to facilitate that as well. I like to celebrate accomplishments, but because I’m more introverted, not with drinking or partying hard. I like to be home at a reasonable hour and can’t afford to feel hungover. When it’s time for Treat Yo Self, it’ll be through a financial bonus, a nice meal, visiting a cultural event, or a spa day. That kind of thing. I’m interested in your ideas for ways to add expand on all of this too!
Please share, I would love for you to spread the word or invite anyone who yourself or whomever you think would be good for this. I’ll be reviewing applications over the next 10 days and will be scheduling interviews the week of September 21st. I hope to complete the process by the end of the month.
Thank you for reading, I know this long dormant blog doesn’t have the traffic it once did, but maybe one day we’ll get back there. In the meantime, know I’m grateful for any and all eyeballs taking a few minutes with me here today. <3
Y’all. I’ve been putting off writing this update for weeks. WEEKS. Initially, going through the Artist’s Way process and writing morning pages every day was such a shock to my system, it usurped writing for any other reason that wasn’t email or for my own personal and creative growth. I was worried about squeezing MORE writing into the day without compromising life and client work and even if I did, it would read as embarrassing and vulnerable. That and it was so early in the process that I didn’t know if anything was even happening yet. I was blown away that I could make my own creative time *every day* but wasn’t sure I would be able to keep it up either. So, a fair amount of mental gymnastics as you can see.
But 8 weeks into this 12 week program it’s safe to say this has helped be feel more clear on what I’m doing, given me a greater appreciation in doing work for myself, and helped me sort out some creative demons that have been holding me back. I’ve been able to follow through on the main themes and write every single day (with a few exceptions) which is a huge surprise to me. I was really nervous at the beginning that it would be something I dread or that it would totally implode my life. But it’s easily one of my favorite parts of the day and nothing’s caved in. Only small gradual positive changes.
Aside from filling up a notebook and a half and counting of writing – the most I’ve ever written in my life – I’ve done some sketching and taken myself out for “artist dates” as they’re called in the Artist’s Way. So far this is only just scratching the surface though, 8 weeks is enough to start a habit, and I’m cautious to declare any of this a done deal at right now. I’ve still got ideas I want to work out and I’ve given myself until the end of the month to design and print a small piece to commemorate this time. Hopefully it further continues to inspire in the months ahead!
In the meantime, here’s some bits I have gotten to do/see so far this year and I’ve got some more exciting news planned for April but you’ll need to sign up for my newsletter for that reveal (oooh, I know what I did there, ha.)
I’m not the world’s biggest Andy Warhol fan, but this grouping of work is different than anything he’s done and it’s breathtaking. To be in a room surrounded by nearly a hundred of these works was a highlight I’ll remember for some time to come.
Poolside draws and winter walks at dusk. Special edition Billie Holiday record shop score, with metallic printed sleeve and re-issued on luscious white vinyl. And then neon red circle painting meditation, highly relaxing. (I almost typed medication instead of meditation, but well, sometimes they work similarly.)
And finally, last week I was on the Machine.fm’s Dispatch talking about design, commerce, and culture which you can stream here or through iTunes here (no embeddable feed).
That’s all for now folks, newsletter update coming in the next couple days with updates on what I’ve been reading recently too.
Pretty quiet for me on the internet this week, but I do want to tell you about this fundraiser my friend Jen Myers is running to buy Chromebooks for her Code & Cupcakes workshop. This is a mother-daughter website code basics class and right now attendees are required to bring their own laptops which not everyone has. Providing computers means anyone can participate!
Also if you’re seeing old friends during this holiday season, maybe this hilarious post on the types of friendships really gets it.
As for recapping the year here’s some facts:
Travel was big for me in 2014. I went to LA, where I got my first tattoo, and spent a weekend in the desert with some incredible feminist women. I went to the White House to help fight sexual assault. In August I traveled to Cleveland for Weapons of Mass Creation which was a grand time as well. In September I was in NYC to film my newest Skillshare class and more recently was the trip to Guatemala which I’ve written about as well.
Designed and/or built 10 websites.
Designed 11 logos
Designed one book and had work work in two gallery shows
Here’s the books I read this year:
The Money Book for Freelancers, Part-Timers and the Self-Employed by Joseph D’Agnese andDenise Kiernan
Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage by Alice Munro
Heads in Beds by Jacob Tomsk
Homeward Bound: Why Women are Embracing New Domesticity by Emily Matchar
Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman
Game of Thrones (finished, started in 2013. Oof.)
Bad Feminist by Roxanne Gay
Margaret Atwood’s the Handmaid’s Tale
The Member of the Wedding by Carson McCullers
I Was Told There’d Be Cake by Sloane Crosley
Yes Please! by Amy Poehler
The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron
I Work from Home by my former teacher Michelle Grabner
Annnnd! That’s it for me from the rest of the year. Have the best holiday with your nearest and dearest! Wishing you all the best and more in 2015!
And now, to change the subject entirely, a plan for the first part of 2015:
One of the best, and maybe scariest, ideas to come out of my trip to Guatemala is the bestselling Artist’s Way series but Julia Cameron. It’s a 12 week program that’s helped thousands of people reclaim their work. At it’s core are three components: write three pages of anything every day, a weekly theme with discussion topics, and once a week you take yourself out on some kind of creative adventure independently. The point of all of this is to process the snags that plague our work, and uncover new directions, ideas, projects, plans for where else to go. Seems an easy enough premise, but I know this will be no small task. Here’s the basic themes:
I plan to start this program on Sunday January 4th with completion the week of March 22nd. I will be blogging about my progress but I’m sending this as an open invitation to any of you out there who might be feeling stuck and needing some new juice in your work, or more ways to work through overwhelm. I’ve set up a Slack chat room for us to help with accountability and as discussion place for whatever comes up along the way.
All you have to do to join is email me here. I also recommend you buy the book, or if you’d prefer there’s an online version of the program with weekly videos available for purchase here. I’ll be reading and writing the old fashion way because for me this’ll be about limiting screen time. I also plan to mix illustration in with the morning pages, as I want to work on creating a design and illustration style that’s only for me. I advise getting the book or the videos now so that you have time to read/prepare and are ready to go after NYE. (Nothing I like more than curling up with a book over the holidays!)
And, if you aren’t able to participate, any moral support is much appreciated for sure. You can also follow here and on twitter with: #theartistsway.
Making new years resolutions BEFORE the holidays is a first for me, but this year it feels right. It’s gonna be great Cheers to planning ahead sometimes too!