One of the things I wanted to do last year (besides nothing but hang out with my new baby) was think about the direction I wanted to take e.m.papers and take a step back to assess what I've accomplished so far.
Part of that process ended up involving taking Aeolidias (very good) course on finding your target customer and booking Lela Barker for 1:1 consulting session. These efforts lead to the conclusion was that I needed to really focus on the work, and refine my personal design style.
One of the challenges of running your own online creative online business is that there is a constant tension between creating and marketing. We are blessed and cursed by all the tools at our fingertips to market ourselves, which is a full time job in itself.
Another blessing/curse when it comes to creative work right now is that you can see what everyone else is doing (Pinterest!) and it's really difficult not to be alternately influenced and/or discouraged.
So by the end of last year I made the decision that once I had some sort of child care situation nailed down, I would spend 3 months primarily focused on building up a body of work.
Of course you can't just let your content channels dry up, but now instead of migrating my shop to a new platform, building out email automations and trying to figure out how to master Facebook ads I will focus on creating work.
This process will be more in depth than the one wedding invitation design a day challenges I did some years ago. I'm going to give myself the time to work and rework designs. And also to get comfortable with producing a lot of not great work, because that's part of the process.
It was wonderful to take a break for a year and just be with my baby. No regrets at all there. In the last few months, however, I've felt a build up of inspiration and I'm chomping at the bit to create.
I've got ideas for calendars, halloween invitations, memorial programs, note cards, recipe pages, wall art. Sitting down at my desk for a luxurious four hours for the first time in a year a week ago, however, reminded me how far the distance is from inspiration and ideas to execution. I felt like someone who had to re-learn how to use a fork after having a stroke.
To help me with this endeavor I'm starting The Artists Way program today. I've known about since I was in design school and always wanted to try it, even though it seems a little new age-y and woo woo.
I need structure, even in my creative experiments!
I haven't figured out if I'm going to upload new products to the store as I go, or sit down and do a ruthless edit at the end of 3 months (maybe the latter?). I'm just jumping in with the morning pages, the artists dates and all the rest of the exercises and I'll figure it out from there.