It’s been a busy year.

As a graphic designer, I create art for other people for 8 – 12 hours a day, 6 days a week for 52 weeks a year (or more). I do view the things I do as an art form. Some people will disagree with me, but fine art and graphic design are next door neighbor buddies in my brain. They’re always at each other’s house making a mess. Sometimes I use traditional tools, but the majority of what I do is done in the digital space…and it’s still art. It still demands my subconscious to synthesize emotions with tangible things like, colors, fonts and bezier curves, words, communication and talking. It’s tough sometimes, but after 7 years I’ve sort of learned how to balance my personal needs with those of my clients, contractors and potential opportunities thereof.

Here’s the secret: Take time for yourself.

During marathon weeks of creating for others, it’s as much of a challenge to make time for myself as it is a reward. I find that all of my work is better if make time to scratch my own creative itch. As an artist, I have creative impulses that seemingly come out of nowhere. Inspiration doesn’t realize that I’m working on something for someone else, so I add those oddball thoughts to a box in my mind, which has spilled into a folder on my desktop called, PERSONAL-WIPs. Everything from, wanting to sink 12 hours into a vector painting, or a new digital download for my adult coloring book project, to making a wallet out of garbage, or screwing around in garage band until I pass out.

I just got a calligraphy set, it’s Monday, the struggle is real. 

This year, I’m taking 2 weeks off after Christmas to create for myself, restructure my business and spend some much needed time with my family and friends. I’ve seen other Entrepreneurs shouting on their soapboxes about how it’s a totally essential thing. This will be my first year doing it, and hopefully it’ll become a yearly tradition!

Here’s what I’d like to accomplish.

  1. Do 3 things from my PERSONAL-WIPs folder
  2. Finally nail down a design for a clutch/wallet (made out of coffee bags)
  3. Learn how to write an outline for a novel
  4. Take a one-on-one with 17Hats and maximize my use of that software
  5. Get my accounting in order for 2015
  6. Restructure my business to include more use of contractors in 2016
  7. Get a really good massage
  8. Ski, if it ever decides to snow
  9. Draw and color until I’m sick of it
  10. Get caught up on Scandal…finally

Taking helps keep the creative side of my brain alive and flourishing. What are some things that YOU do to keep your creative-for-other-people brain limber and flowing?

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays.

MCC

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