It's been two months since I published the post about my battle with depression on my sister site Scotty Girl Design, so I thought it was time to address it on this blog and give an update on how things have been going. Have I reached a new self-enlightenment in the past two months since my commitment to change? The answer is "maybe a little.”
After realizing that overworking myself was having an adverse effect on both my physical and mental well-being, the biggest hurdle I overcame was making the decision to slow down and reprioritize:
I decided that churning out weekly or even bi-weekly collections of new product just wasn't doable for me in the long term, as I firmly believe in quality over quantity. So for 2015, my new product goal is to create only one kit or collection per month in my personal use shop at The Digital Press. (UPDATE: I retired from digi design in June 2016 to pursue a full-time career in surface design).
There will be times, of course, when I'll break this rule as inspiration will strike and I'll decide I want to create two kits instead of one. And that's ok, because it will be because I WANT to and not because I feel like I HAVE to.
Work that's created when you're excited to design always turns out much better than those that are forced.
I can actually look at any kit preview in my shop and immediately tell exactly how psyched (or not) I was to make it. And from now on, I want to be amped up about EVERYTHING I make.
Learning a New Skill
I feel that one of the best ways to grow as a designer is to learn a new technique or add to your current skill set, yet last year I was in the mindset of just maintaining where I was at and churning stuff out.
I feel like my creativity has suffered as a result, but it's not something I realized until I was in the middle of teaching my pattern design class at Scrapaneers – NOTE: I now teach design and business classes on Skillshare. Throughout the course of the class, many of the students had "ah-ha" moments when everything they learned came together and suddenly creating tiling repeat patterns just clicked. It was a joy to witness!
So they inspired me to revisit something I've always wanted to improve upon: my hand drawn typography skills.
I've dabbled in typography in the past, but I'd love to dive deeper into it and learn some tricks of the trade from the best in the business.
First up, I'm taking a Skillshare typography class by none other than Jessica Hische. I've worshipped her type skills for years, so I'm really excited to take her class! I'm also hoping to follow it up with a class or two from Mary Kate McDevitt, another hand lettering goddess I admire.
Breaks Are Totally Ok
Perhaps the biggest shift in my mindset is realizing that it's ok to take breaks from the business. Actually it's not just ok, it's essential to be a happy, creative business owner.
That revelation actually started back in December when I was neck-deep in work, and then I opened an email from Do What You Love. Beth Nicholls was sharing her very personal story of being in a constant loop of burnout---quick break to recover---repeat and boy did it sound all too familiar!
But then she said something that gave me pause: "...so we have decided to take December off – no classes, no deadlines, no stress." How could a business owner just stop working for a month?
At first, I didn't understand how it was possible, but as my own personal burnout was manifesting, I realized how could a business owner NOT stop working on occasion to recharge?!?
Of course at the time I knew I couldn't just drop the ball and take January off – actually that should be plural since I was juggling so many different balls in December (PHRASING! <--Archer reference, I couldn't help it!) – but I knew I wanted to take some time off to help find some happiness and get a bit of my design mojo back. So after planning things out, I've decided to take the entire month of March off from my business.
Now that doesn't mean I'll become a hermit over the next four weeks while I recharge, I'm actually hoping for exactly the opposite, but it does mean that I won't be creating any new designs until early April.
As for my blog, if I feel like I have a personal story to share, I may jump on here to share it, otherwise you can still keep in touch with me on Instagram. Toodles til April!