Browsing Tag

self-motivation

2017

The year is coming to its end, and although my blog has been hibernating in the past months, I felt like I should somehow wrap 2017 up in writing.

After summer, I resigned from what had been my daily 9-5 job for 1,5 years. I had been very unfulfilled by that job already for a while; yes, it was stable and paid the bills alright, but it didn’t feed my creativity in anyway nor did it give me a feeling of learning or growing. Although I had already figured that I wouldn’t necessarily need to be a full-time illustrator in order to feel satisfied with my daily work, I was definitely missing some kind of creative challenge.

Soon after quitting I started as a graphic designer and content creator at a start-up that creates tools (e.g. online games) for teaching 21st century skills and programming to kids. I can not even begin to tell you how happy I was to a) get to work for a company whose mission I find important and b) contribute my skills knowing that I could be useful. The nice thing about the job is that although I work a lot with design and also have illustration tasks every now and then, the style is very different from the one of my own. That keeps things exciting and leaves me energy and motivation to work on my personal illustration projects, too. (Unlike when I was freelancing – illustrating first for clients and then for yourself was often a bit too much to ask from my enthusiasm.)

Overall, this year was quite alright illustration-wise. I didn’t make much progress with the bigger personal projects I had planned for 2017, but other assignments kept me nicely busy: I helped with a re-design of a book, made many custom portraits, worked on some personal pieces just for fun and designed materials for one of Finland’s 100th Independence Day events. Surprisingly enough, I hardly felt guilty about not working as much on my personal projects as I had initially planned. During the year I came to terms with the fact that having a day job and trying to freelance next to it or do anything that could in itself be a full-time job can really wear you out in the long run (How surprising!). It’s okay to not force yourself forward if you need a rest or just some brainless spare time instead. It took me 29 years to realise that, and although it might not be the most mind-blowing realisation to many, it is actually a pretty big mental milestone for me.

Instagram is getting filled with Best Nine 2017-photos, so let’s finish with that. Here’s to quitting, starting, learning and taking it easy every now and then – Happy New Year!

How to find your focus?

I recently started working on a personal project that has been stuck on the “yea, I should do it” stage for quite a while. The concept still needs polishing, which means that to get started, I’ve had to simply sit down with a pencil and a notebook, write down my thoughts and think. I don’t tend to struggle with motivation when I get to work with my hands, but when it comes to having to do something that will occupy my mind 100%…well, that’s another story.

I often think back to my teenage years, when I could spend hours sitting in my room alone with some music and a diary or a drawing project. Time would fly by as I would immerse myself into writing somewhat embarrassing stories, metaphorical poems and such. I still remember how it felt to be in that productive bubble, where nothing would disturb my thoughts. What happened to it? Why do I struggle getting into that mode now? What has changed?

When I decided to get started with this project of mine, I positioned myself in front of the living room table, which is where I usually work. However, somehow I couldn’t bring myself to concentrate. I figured that a more comfortable, relaxing environment might do the trick. So, I took my pencil case, laptop and notebook to the bedroom and arranged the cushions on the bed around me. “From now on this will be my creative oasis,” I announced to my boyfriend, as I put on Jamie Cullum’s playlist and sat in the middle of the pillows. It worked, but after being productive for a while, the laptop started luring me into the world of Social Media. Facebook was just one click away and so were blogs, Pinterest and such. Maybe I could browse a bit, just for inspiration? A few minutes later, my productive bubble had burst and I was surfing on websites that had nothing to do with my project. 

A few days later, I returned to my oasis armed with determination to get further with the project. This time I didn’t take the laptop with me; although music usually helps me switch to creative mode, access to internet easily ruins it. So there I sat, in complete silence, ready to work on my project. However, I wasn’t inspired at all. The silence bored me, and I ended up just staring out of the window, counting birds. Something was missing from my oasis…

CD-player-nostalgia-linesidrew

What you see here is not just a 90s revival. It’s the key to my creative bubble, a good ol’ CD-player that will play me Jamie Cullum without giving the option to procrastinate online. Just like back in my teenage years! And guess what? It works beautifully for my creativity, and it’s also pink and darn cute!

Turns out 90s technology is crucial for my focus.
What’s crucial for yours?