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small, slow .. steady?
Hi, it’s Fran again. “Welcome back!” or simply, “Welcome!” to Gee’s Storees. I’m an illustrator and picturebook maker, who has recently ventured into freelance life. So far, there have been a lot of discoveries of a professional, creative and also personal nature.
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I’ve discussed my recent burn-out in a previous blog post here, and honestly after taking a month to unwind and slow down to appreciate the small things in life, it felt like I was in the clear, that the reigns had been secured, but at the start of this month, it felt like all the work I did not prioritise last month came bashing in (obviously) and now I feel like I’ve found myself in a very similar position I was in 2 months ago. Here’s the difference though - I think I’ve managed to read myself and my anxiety-driven signs at a good (ish) time because even though I do feel restless, I know I have to somehow prioritise my ‘breathing’ days or at least, afternoons, sometimes even minutes.
I need some time in the day, dedicated to nature, time to sketch and not worry or think about anything but the lovely trees and birds in front of me (this has been a way of pressing the pause button for me). I need time at the end of the day to switch off and enjoy a book or a movie, and not feel like I’m rushing everywhere I go. Sometimes it means I need to stop, realise and make myself slow down.
There are a few things that are helping me during this period:
planning. This isn’t always foolproof as I do move things around when I can, but having a clearer idea of what needs to be done and not being too precious about what the work should look like is a good start. Also - lower expectations.
communication. Communicating with clients, friends, family and myself. Sometimes all it takes is a quick email, updating a collaborator on the progress of a job, and being honest about deadlines and workload. It also means I have to make time for those who are important in life, and most importantly, listen to my mind and body on what it is I NEED and not necessarily want.
This is an illustration I worked on for a client some time ago - you can view the whole project here. It felt quite apt for what we’re discussing here.
It does feel like it’s a one-step-forward-100-steps-back kind of scenario, but that 1 step forward has more to unwrap than I would have imagined. This weekend, I finally managed to convince myself that it was ok to take a few hours off - completely off. It’s not a day, because I spent a good chunk guilt-tripping myself for not working but heck I’ll take this win!
Hope you celebrate your everyday achievement ✨ Let me know what these were!
That’s me. Over and out.
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