I'd like to interrupt your productive work week with a bit of silly nonsense. Michelle kindly alerted me of the new Marcel the Shell video this week. I couldn't stop laughing, especially when Marcel says his favorite phrase is, "Life's a party, rock your body." I haven't had much time to design any wallpapers in a long while (too long), but the instant I heard this phrase I just knew it needed to be a wallpaper. This week, I've been working hard to finish up a lot of client projects, and I've been a little too wrapped up in the work. It's always nice to take a break and laugh.
I've been in a few conversations lately where I've been asked to describe what I do. Being asked that question made me reflect a bit on where I'm at after one year of being a freelance designer. In all honesty, the first year has just been about making it for me. I've been very focused on bring in enough work to justify to myself that I can go it on my own. I've felt quite lucky to receive the work that I have. It's made for a smooth transition from employee to self-employed. But lately, I've had an itch to push myself more creatively. I haven't exactly kept up with my goal of not waiting to do those things. So, I'm going to renew my goal for this next year of freelance to change things up a bit. I'd like to focus on producing more work—either for clients or for myself—that's creatively challenging. I'm sharing this goal here in hopes this will help keep me accountable. Seriously, can someone be my accountability partner? I could use all the help I can get. I'm starting things off with a wallpaper design that's a bit out of the ordinary for me. I'm dusting off the paint brushes and also am trying to incorporate more colors in my work. I've been a little too heavy with the black, grey and white lately. The sentiment in the wallpaper is from Anil Sinha, "The secret of change is to focus your energy not on past which has gone, but give new direction to your dreams." Anyone else feeling like they need to change things up and re-focus on what they're passionate about?
I used to have a skeptical dislike of Valentine's Day. Materialism, forced day of love when you should be loving one another all year, blah, blah, blah. But, now that I've been around a few years, I guess I've become more of sentimental sap. I kind of love it now. You won't see me with a bouquet of red roses or anything, but I do like the idea of taking a moment to appreciate what you can easily forget to take notice of throughout the year. This quote by Leo Buscaglia has been resonating with me,
"Love is life. And if you miss love, you miss life."
It's a good reminder to me of what's important in life. I'm truly missing out on the richness of life if I'm not paying attention to the love right in front of my face. I don't just mean romantic love either; I also mean love for my God, son, family and friends. Recently, I've had my head down and have been spending almost every free moment I have working. It's made me feel pretty selfish with my time and my attention. This post is sort of a stake in the ground to help get me looking outward as to what I can do for others rather than focusing so much inward as I have been.
Also, happy love day to you (if you choose to celebrate, that is). In effort to give back—in a rather small way, admittedly—I've designed a desktop wallpaper for your computer that's available as a free download in case you enjoy the wise words above. Download the Love is Life wallpaper here. It's rather large, so it should easily size to fit any screen.
And, because I really need another inspirational quote in my life (please note the sarcasm), I recently purchased this Oh My Dear print for my office that I'm working on re-doing. I got it to be a reminder that creativity isn't just sitting in front of a screen or drawing in a sketch pad. It can be in how you love as well. Speaking of, I should probably remove myself from this computer and go wrap up another Valentine's gift. I've got a whole series of puns to write for today. What a lucky guy.
Back in December, this Wise Words post was practically written in my head. My mantra was going to be something along the lines of the saying about working smarter not harder. I planned to dedicate 2014 to putting systems in place, fine tuning my processes and investing in technology that would make my design business run more efficiently. I'd be working the same amount of time, but faster and more focused. And then, God smiled and threw a wrench in the plans that I had made for 2014.
All in a matter of a few weeks I found out I'd be the regular senior writer/contributor for the blog of an online paper company, I'd be contributing some DIY/party posts for another blog and I'd be producing commercial shoots again for a substantial client that could potentially be twice as much work as it was in 2013. Whew. I am incredibly excited about all these possibilities. However, I quickly have realized, there's no way around it: I will most definitely be working harder (and hopefully smarter) in 2014.
All this forced me to rethink my goals for 2014. I put off this post until I was scrolling through my Bloglovin feed the other day and saw a few Swiss Miss posts that caught my eye. Navigating Stuckness and Don't Wait are peppered with some words of wisdom that got me thinking. So, my revised goal for 2014 is summed up by this quote from Jonathan Harris:
"In life, you will become known for doing what you do. That sounds obvious, but it’s profound. If you want to be known as someone who does a particular thing, then you must start doing that thing immediately."
With the work I have lined up already, I want to make sure that I'm not losing my own creative pursuits. My goal for 2014 is to continue creating for myself through this blog and doing client work that I'm proud to put in my portfolio. I'm focusing on creating my own design destiny of sorts. I hope that by producing my own work here, people will then seek me out for the very work I enjoy doing most. I want to do more work for independent makers, small businesses and clients that appreciate and get what good design can do.
What exactly does that mean? It means fewer, but more well-thought out and well-crafted posts. It means making every post I do a design, illustration or photography exercise that is challenging to me and scrapping planned posts that aren't. It means refreshing my branding and narrowing my portfolio to best express the type of work I hope to do. This also means more content creation here through DIYs, photoshoots and also introducing a business-related column.
It's a goal that's both incredibly intimidating and intriguing to me. Does anyone else have a goal for 2014 that both scares and delights them?