Start with the music if you want. Click play on the video. It's a live version of an Only Mildly More Subdued recording I fell in love with earlier as I designed something that was Utterly And Unabashedly All About My Desires. But I'm getting ahead of myself...
It's not that I'd call it a funk. Life's not bad. It's the one I signed up for, which means the meetings and deadlines I'm obligated to... they're mine. All. Mine. Still, last night and again earlier this evening? (Last evening, if you're into keeping up with which day we're in, as I notice we've moved past midnight and therefore now into Tuesday, past the day I'm told was a holiday... Labor Day. Laboring is fine when it's work you love, right? Right.) About last night. Two nights in a row. I was sad. Simple stuff. People get sad. And you know me, I'm all about trying to figure it out. I mean, I'm The Happy Girl! The Fierce Optimist! (Thank you Daddy for those genes!) So what do I have to be sad about? Call it exhaustion. Call it working through the holiday weekend. Call it whatever you like. I think we'll call it life.
But again, the fierce, relentless optimist had to get to the bottom of it. And so I did. Wanna' know what I came up with? I needed creativity. Pure and simple.
What's that, you say? Me? Missing creativity? I create all day long! Right?! Only... maybe I do and maybe I don't. Depends on how you define "create." I sometimes tell my clients that I think of it is as my job to pull the website from their minds. Even if they can't articulate what it is they're looking for, if I do what they've hired me for? Then they'll love their new websites. Later, they often say, "It's what I imagined... only better!" And with no arrogance whatsoever, I think "Well good. That's why you chose me. It's my job!" Because it is.
Only? Only I'm also supposed to be balancing this time with my clients' visions with my own. It's why I cut myself free of the 9 to 5, right? So I could pursue my own creative pursuits, too? Well, that and a honkin' list of other reasons. But the creativity was at the core of it.
Pssst. I'll let you in on a little secret: working for yourself in a job you adore? many times it's still... a job. A fantastic job and often it feels much less like a job than a "pinch myself, I can't believe I get to do this everyday" meandering trail along a path I'm still clearing in front of myself. But let's just say there aren't a lot of days I wake up and think, "Nah. Today I'll lounge in the pool and eat bon bons." Because trust me: people are waiting. We have goals. We have deadlines. We have visions to realize. Lists and list of visions. The visions of my clients. My beloved clients whom I adore and coddle and often befriend and from whom I accept calls at ungodly hours. It's that kind of delicious job I got for myself.
But sometimes it occurs to me that there's supposed to be a wee bit more balance in these rhythms of mine. Not always. But sometimes. Like these times.
So last night I got sad. And then it happend again. I didn't take a long holiday weekend, seeing as how I took on not one but two projects, ages and ages ago that came with assertions like, "Well, I'd like to launch by Labor Day." Pshaw. We have plenty of time! And I worked and juggled and fit it all in and one day? One day it was Labor Day Weekend and while so much had been accomplished? Well, we still had some work to do. So I worked Friday and Saturday and Sunday and Monday... and I cranked out some seriously productive hours of work on these fun, delicious redesigned sites I've been working on. And at the end? I was sad. Sure, I loved the work I'd accomplished. Quite a lot, actually. I'm proud of it, even. But call it exhaustion if you like, it was still... somebody else's vision.
When, I asked myself, was the last time I considered My Own Creative Vision?
Fast forward. I hit that wall of "I'm finished with A Seriously Impressive List Of Tasks and it's time to just turn off. Stop checking email. Stop tweaking code and graphics and copy and emails and just... Be." So that's what I did.
When I discovered the obvious - that my Internal And Never-Ending Craving For Creative Expression has gone untapped for a bit too long, I gave into it. About an hour in, this song came on in my random playlist. Yay Random Playlists! How is it I didn't know about Suzanna Choffel's raspy, funky, edgy voice before? This is some music I can get my designing brain around.
And soon? Soon I'm gonna' have something way cool to show you. With the list stretching out in front of me, I'm equal parts Southern Girl and Strong Creative Woman Chagrined to admit to you that I felt guilty putting The Master To Do List aside for this design stretch. But put it aside I did. And in the end? (Never mind the defiant voice that kept reminding me, too, that I'd worked a full holiday weekend; even if I was designing something for myself which was still productive in many ways - you'll understand more when I show you the aforementioned results of all this creative expression I'm rambling about - it was fun and delicious... because It. Was. And. Is. All. Mine. Plus, I'll be much more useful to the waiting clients now that I've tapped my own creative well and followed a bit of my own vision.
That this Suzanna chick was wailing in my ear throughout most of it? Just makes it that much better...