Today is my first day off in a week straight. Well, kind of. I sat in front of Sex and the City for the majority of the day while catching up on admin business stuff like emails and answering custom illustration inquires. Everything that did not actually involve drawing that I couldn’t squeeze in last week when I had three tight drawing deadlines.
I typically can’t sit still like I am today. I always need to have a big project or task under me that I’m working on to feel like I’m serving a larger purpose. Today I needed to hit a pause button before I fall apart. This is my busy season with the holidays and IT IS HARD. I’m only one person and I am determined to do a wonderful job at this job that I’ve created for myself that can sometimes become all-consuming. That’s the thing with freelancing; there are cycles of work coming in and it’s an odd way to work really. I’m either barely keeping my head above water or I have nothing on my plate and it can all change in a matter of days.
For most of my days doing this job, nothing exceptional happens and that is much like life. There are small victories here and there and then something huge happens. Sometimes my expectations for myself are so unrealistic with this biz that I think I am failing only because of my own standards. A lot of these expectations come from social media. Since I often promote my work on various social media platforms and a lot of inquiries come through Instagram and what not, it has become a part of my job to be on these platforms. It’s so easy to compare yourself, your life, and your work to other companies that have been at it for so much longer or have different circumstances. Their path is not mine. I follow certain creatives that have just blown up with a huge following and I think HOW DID THEY DO THAT?! Why can’t I do that? And then the self-doubt and negative talk starts to kick in. I am not good enough for a, b and c reasons and on and on. It is the reason that I absolutely have a love/hate relationship with social media. For me, it fosters so much creativity and has been a wonderful place to network since I have found out that is something I prefer to do behind a social handle rather than in person. I have met amazing people and friends through Instagram and I sometimes question if my business would even be here without it.
There is an unhealthy relationship with these networks when you wake up and check all of your sites before starting your day, or get dressed specifically thinking of the outfit of the day picture you will post later that day. I am guilty of all of this. I’m also guilty of pulling my car over on a road trip to capture the most beautiful view. This is something I would’ve never done before the social media era. I am writing this post because I’m torn. There are so many small victories and beautiful moments I have captured and shared on my platforms that would’ve otherwise gone uncelebrated. That’s the beauty of social media; you take the time to see the world through your own unique lens. I think the monster is the nature of us as human beings to compare ourselves to others and social media has made it possible to have other people’s’ lives at your thumb and scroll through all of their very staged, edited, filtered and cropped pictures. I think it’s an addiction really. I catch myself constantly checking things. I think there is a healthy balance to be found. Something that I have not reached or even made an effort at yet because I’ll be honest, I LOVE social media. I think it’s something I’m good at and I’ve worked hard at but for me it’s time to unplug a bit. My goal is to do less scrolling on other people’s feeds and no social media before bed because I have found that I get completely lost and quite depressed by looking at other people’s perfect days at the end of my very normal and modest day where I have failed and made countless mistakes. Trust me, I’ll still be sharing and posting because I still need to promote my work because well…I have to pay rent. I will let you know how this balance goes for me because I don’t do things in moderation often!! Do you have any tips for me on unplugging?
Thanks for reading, I’d love to hear if any of you struggle with this at all.
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I’m Katie, the brand strategist, designer, dreamer, and entrepreneur behind Artful Brands. Dreamy typefaces, clean layouts, and soft color palettes are my love language— but more importantly designing strategic brands that book.