Monthly Archives: June 2012

Let’s Talk Business – Hell Week

I feel like it’s such a cliche to say, but this week was so freaking busy!!!!  I’m reeling from it, and it’s not even over yet.  Working as a freelancer is wonderful, but one of the things a person needs to be prepared for is the inconsistency of it.

I have about 5 steady clients.  Normally things run smoothly, and they’re patient about when things get done.  But about 5 or 6 times a year, 3-4 of them need me to finish stuff up IMMEDIATELY!!!!

I put a lot of pressure on myself to please everyone (which is futile) and a lot of pressure on myself to go easy on myself (do-able!), so it’s a very tricky, stressful paradox.

When I first started out in this career, and really up until just this month, I’ve allowed this phenomenon to eat me up inside, make me hate my job, and make me question my own capabilities and beat myself up about why I ever thought I’d be any good and/or make any money.  In short, I have acted like a psychotic, self-destructive lunatic.

Now, my goal is to achieve inner peace, love my job, love my work, and maintain the trust of my clients.  It’s so freaking complex!

Basically, I have to take things slow, be honest with my clients about the time things take to get finished, and find time to work late.  The working late part is really the hardest.  It makes me really scared about the affects of over-doing, over-working, etc.  But something that helps is to think about how my hard work is going to benefit the kids (giving them a comfortable, safe home, hopefully a good education, etc), and as long as I take some time to myself in the midst of it, (I have to have at least a half-hour of time to meditate or stare at a tree or something peaceful like that, little breaks in between each project, and decent food, and good music) I survive, the work gets done, the client is pleased, and money comes home.

So, that’s where I’m at this week, and probably next week as well.  I’d better get to grocery shopping so I’ll have my decent food.

Meal Planning – Sigh.

It took a lot of discipline for me to plan the next week’s dinners today.  It’s so gorgeous outside.  Fridays I’m off and the kids don’t go to daycare, and it’s all I can do to stop myself from lounging around all day in my sweats while the kids destroy our home.  But, this is the only day I’m able to go to the store, and if I don’t do it relatively early in the day, it haunts me and I can’t enjoy myself.

I’d like to thank the good friends who came to Brooke’s birthday party over the weekend and gave us beautiful presents.  Those presents came in handy while I was writing this post!

He’s not afraid to draw dresses with pink crayon!

Making a pretty bead necklace.

Also, a very big thank you to the makers of Pirate’s Booty for giving me a laugh.

I am very mature.

‘So here’s what we’re eating!  You may notice there’s some cheese in the plans.  That’s right, I’m eating dairy again.  I have my reasons, which aren’t that I couldn’t live without it.  It’s that I just started having a gut feeling that dairy was not the problem.  I plan on going into more detail about that later.  For now, I need to get to the store.

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Meal Planning – Kid Food!

Today is my Brookie’s 5th birthday!  Most people would say 5 years flew by, but I think it felt like 5 years.  Brooke is a beautiful fairy sprite, and I am completely head over heels in love with her.  She came into this world and completely turned mine upside down.  Being her mom has taught me so much about patience, and for that I am truly grateful.  I look at Brooke, and I see pure joy, love and wonder in her eyes.  If everyone took a page out of her book, the world would be a truly magical place.

On that note, in honor of my sweet girl, I dub this week Kid Food Week.  Every dinner will be easy, and kid friendly, hurray!!!
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Let’s Talk Business – Creativity

There’s a wonderful truth in our existence that anyone can create a living for themselves based on creativity.  It’s so easy to get caught up in a lie that in order to make money and provide for your family, you need to work at a job that doesn’t inspire you.  It’s also easy to get caught up in a lie that you aren’t a creative person.  That simply is impossible.  We as humans, are inherently creative!

I grew up in a family where everyone could draw really well.  My dad dabbled in painting, and my sister was just the best at any kind of creative thing you can possibly imagine.  She was, and still is the most artistically inclined person I’ve ever seen.  She can make absolutely everything look so perfect, I almost can’t even describe it.

Growing up in this environment was fun, but as anything beautiful can do, it caused me to develop a complex that I wasn’t nearly as good at anything that she was.  I went to extremes to prove to myself and others that I was the black sheep, good for nothing.  It was pretty pathetic actually.

Thankfully, nature prevailed and as a young adult my instincts kicked into overdrive and I suddenly was propelled into a creative career.  This probably saved my life.  Although, I worked 10 years in this career with a nagging feeling that I’m not really that good at it.  It was such a stupid way of thinking, and I’m over it now.  I just put an end to it, that’s all anyone has to do in order to overcome a negative thought pattern.

Once this happened, I found some of the sources of my perceived handicap.  For one thing, I needed to start doing more than sitting in front of my computer trying to draw with a mouse.  I needed to draw on actual paper, and experiment with different kinds of coloring media.  I needed to get excited about my camera, try new lenses and Photoshop filters.  I needed to meditate every single day in one way or another.  I needed to learn some new things in the programming world (which was one of the biggest obstacles to overcome, but once I started the process I was shocked at how easy it was, and I feared it for so long).

We are capable of doing anything we want, we just have to start looking for little ways to get the ball rolling.  We don’t have to be chained to our desks at a boring, uninspiring job.  With jobs in web design, illustration, photography, music, videography, cooking, landscaping, writing and even crazier things like engineering and architecture, there’s bound to be something any person can relate to and learn.  We just have to be open to being inspired, and unafraid to “fail” once in a while, because it’s not failure, it’s all just practice.

One of the best things I ever did for myself was to listen to this TED talk with Elizabeth Gilbert, who wrote one of my favorite books (and many other people’s as well), Eat, Pray Love.  This book was written so beautifully, she painted a vivid picture of Italy, India and Bali.  So vivid, that I truly feel as though I know the landscape and flavor of those places, even though I’ve never been there.

After she wrote that book, she became aware of the fear that she wouldn’t be able to catch lightning in a bottle and recreate the success of her first book, and she describes the mindset she’s developed in order to prevent herself from spiraling into depression like many writers have in the past, and still do.  It’s also a great mindset to have if you suffer from lack of inspiration, which we all do from time to time.

I highly suggest taking twenty minutes to listen to her.  If you’re super busy as we all are, listen to it on your phone with headphones, or burn it to a disk so you can listen on your way to work.

Today my goal was to break out of the rut this morning and take some pictures.  It’s been really beautifully cloudy and raining these last few days, and now my backyard looks like a freaking awesome mountain forest.  It’s pretty, and now I don’t have to feel a stupid sense of guilt over writing a long blog post that has a good message, but might be unreadable because there’s nothing to break up the words and make it look pretty.  I’m so glad I did it, I got some fresh air, and now I won’t ever forget this beautiful day.