Over Christmas and New Years, I took a wee bit of a break from design work, but I still made small steps towards growing my business:
–I sent out a New Years letter to friends and family, and I included a poetic, illustrative header I designed.
–I made that file the motivation to quick open my Etsy shop Poem Diem Designs. [Note: my shop is now at mckeevermultimedia.etsy.com]
–I talked with my sister-in-law about ideas for more products that combine my poetry and graphic design, so I’ll be filling out my shop soon.
–At holiday parties, I gave out business cards to people who asked about what I’ve been up to lately.
–I learned more html from my Dad.
–I set New Year’s resolutions including goals for my business.
–I took the time to notice beauty all around me.
Thanks to the time I took to reflect, absorb, and start something new, the time I’ve spent back on the computer these past few days has been particularly productive. Maybe I should make one more New Year’s resolution: remember to take breaks!
For millennia, moms have strapped their babies on to their backs and gone off to work. After I recovered from the stress of moving, colic, traveling, and more colic that followed shortly after the birth of our daughter, I was ready to enter the economical exchange somehow, if only to reconnect with adults outside my household. But I could not find a single rice paddy in Sioux Falls, South Dakota that would allow me to wear my baby at work. In fact, there are no rice paddies in Sioux Falls, and I really don’t envy that particular job.
But it’s true that most jobs, even part-time jobs, don’t offer the kind of flexibility that I was looking for. So I decided to make one for myself.
I still have a long way to go at this business, but I feel like I’m on the right track. I must say: I’m sure it is much easier to transition from stay-at-home mom to work-at-home mom than to go from employed to self-employed while caring for children. This year of McKeever Design and Copywriting was made possible by my hardworking husband supporting our family. I’m so thankful for the opportunity to slowly but surely grow a business.
Sometimes in the wee hours of the morning our wee child wakes up. And then, with a little help, she goes back to sleep. All that helping leaves me wide awake, alone, in the dark hours of a winter morning.
But don’t worry, there is plenty to do, and with everyone asleep, I can actually concentrate on doing it– except for the fact that concentration is not my forte. What I really need is some time to work alone, but with someone looking over my shoulder every once in a while. With just a little bit of help, I can work all by myself.
So I imagine our daughter checking in on me, wondering if I am ready to play yet or if she might be allowed to “help” me with my work on the computer. And so, even (and especially!) while she is sleeping, she really is helping me to get my work done.
One of my design clients dropped off a couple loaves of fresh bread the other day. It wasn’t long before I was getting out the bread knife and untwisting the twist-tie. Then I noticed the label.
I could read the name, I could read the ingredients, but the beautiful, bright logo I had designed for them was just a dim shadow of what it should have been. When they had printed that label, our good friends Yellow and Magenta had been very tired.
I thought of the time I had spent picking out the perfect hues for that logo and perfecting the placement of each gradient– and I beamed from ear to ear!
Most designers care a lot about the implementation of their designs. I do too! I want my work to shine and I want my clients to succeed. The reason I smiled when I saw that faded logo was because to me it symbolized that my work had shone brightly on many, many loaves of bread and my clients were indeed succeeding at growing their business. I had sent them some very useful files that were being put to good use. Bread was flying out of the oven faster than they could switch their ink cartridges!
I kept smiling as I took a big bite of buttered bread. Package design is important, but it only really counts if what’s inside gets a chance to shine.
(I would highly recommend Staff of Life Bakery in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, even if I hadn’t had the honor of designing their brand.)
My husband says, “Write a poem about design.”
And he’s right. That’s what’s been on my mind.
The reason I haven’t written poems this week
is I’ve had too many bezier curves to tweak.
It’s amazing what some points, some lines, some colors in between
have the strength to say. How much they can mean.
And how much there is to learn when each mistake’s a class
and the notebook is my brain and I have to write so fast.