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if you don't share it, how will anyone see it?

But also, if you don't make it, how can it exist?

An office desk with 3 Field Notes journals, a planner open with a pen in the middle of the spread, the to-go coffee mug, and a partial view of a keyboard.

I hate the question for new year resolutions because who cares really? Lose weight, save money, be healthy? Boring. Honestly I don't give a shit that you want to travel more. I like setting goals for new year plans. And I like tracking things like data and consistency. Probably because I've silently struggled with ADHD which makes personal accomplishments almost impossible without consequences.

When I graduated college, it was during a recession. It sucked. Design jobs were sparse, so I thought at least I could take on freelance work! Big fat nope. I was junior in my skills and business management (LOL I really thought I would be great at it fresh out of college). A job finally turned up and I've been lucky that I've been able to get so much experience at various companies creative departments over the last 15 years. I even take on freelance jobs here and there. But I had a sad realization. The freelance work I'm getting hired for is for IT support. I know my way around a CMS platform, but no one wants to use my design skills. And TBH, that's entirely my fault. All my design work is centered around someone else's idea. Someone else already did the designing part, I'm just rearranging things. I few design jobs I have gotten were for very small businesses that didn't want to spend time and money on a good designer, so they settled for me. And I definitely delivered on lack-luster designs. If I were to pick a goal for 2024, it would be to actually design something that is all mine: like really dig into the skills I know I have buried in my brain. Not only to prove that I can do it, but to have something to show for all the information that I've absorbed—And the excitement that I really have for art and design.

Coincidently, after I wrote the above paragraph (sorry to ruin the illusion, but I'm incapable of finishing anything in one sitting), I watched a workshop with Aaron Draplin on Adobe Live. I've been able to watch a few of Aaron's live workshops, and he is a delight to listen to and watch his process. He repeats the same mantras in most of his workshops, but that's not a complaint. He says them over and over again because they are very true and we very much forget them: Get out, be inspired, put in the work, but always do work for yourself. Even though I know I've heard him say that advice many times, it hit me in the gut (in a good way) this last time because—as you read above—I want to work on my designs for myself. Not just illustrations, but design work that makes me happy. Things just align at certain times, and maybe it's all coincidence, but I'm going to lean into my human nature of identifying patterns and take it as a sign.

So...I bought myself some Field Notes journals to SOLVE ALL MY PROBLEMS <3


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