One year ago my little book baby launched. I’d Rather Be Short was released for all to see. My first signing and talk was at BookPeople right here in Austin. Over 80 folks showed up! We ended the night by celebrating at a local drinking establishment, appropriately called “The Tiniest Bar in Texas”.
I took this launch very seriously.
I practiced my talk over and over. I spent the day baking treats for the audience (with Karen’s help). I got my nails done (rare). I got a new outfit (rare). My neighbor gave us money to get massages (very rare). I got highlights (rarest of all).
I was so nervous.
But it was fine. Great. A sweet celebration of something I had worked on for the last 18 months.
I’ve learned a lot from this experience, but one of the things I am most thankful for is what it taught me about unabashedly putting myself out there.
I had to self-promote. I was expected to try new things and talk about this project unapologetically. I had to get over my fears of coming off smarmy or conceited. I also had to get over my fears of the critics. What would the reviews be like? Would the designers I admire think it was “good enough”? Would I think it was “good enough”?
I was all in. I have never worked harder on a project, and I didn’t stop with promotion.
My process will be refined for the next one (I’m not saying I did everything right), but I gave it everything. That is the sweetest reward of all—knowing I gave (and am giving) it my best.
I’m proud of this little one. It represents a series of risks that ultimately made me more brave.
For that I am thankful.
What has made you brave? Have you had a project, idea, job or anything else that has forced you to go all in, no apologies? Let’s hear it.
Speaking of shameless plugs, if you are interested in purchasing a copy, I have news for you! If you order from my Etsy store, you can get a signed copy (leave a note if you want this to be for someone specifically). You will also receive an original drawing/sketch. Supplies are limited, so order up while they’re still in stock!
I can’t believe it’s already been a month since Circles. For those of you not familiar, Circles is a design conference in Grapevine, TX (close to Dallas). It’s two days chock full of good folks and good talks. A lot of powerful ideas were shared. Luckily, you can watch them all here. It was an honor to share some of what I’ve learned on my creative journey.
Destination Process: Lessons Learned by Giving it a Go
Originally I was going to tell everyone everything I’ve ever learned and hope something would stick. Then I met with Gideon (MVP storyteller) and he redirected me.
In writing this talk I realized something important.
We don’t learn because we’re told; we learn by experience.
The lessons I’m jazzed to shout from the rooftops were learned because I just did the thing.
How do we climb a mountain?
We start somewhere.
We celebrate the awful, ugly, awkward first drafts. We do this because those middle school drafts are what get us out of the starting gate. They are warriors. They’re the belle of the ball. They are that “dorky” girl in She’s All That who, in my world, would have been named prom queen at the end. The first drafts are what take us from “seemed like a good idea at the time” to ____________ [insert big thing here].
By celebrating this seemingly floundering and ungraceful mishmash, we redefine success. It’s a lot of pressure to go from 0-60 in 15 seconds. But if we ease into it, just by doing it, regardless of its condition, we are already a success. By celebrating the first draft, we give ourselves permission to fail. When we are brave enough to fail, we can take bigger risks and make better stuff. By applauding the first drafts, we’re giving the entire process a purpose. If the entire process has a purpose, we all have something to share. We can let our success (and failures) bring success to others. We build community and make something bigger than ourselves.
I also talk about comparison, the bottomless pie of creativity, some of my embarrassing first attempts of I’d Rather Be Short, and that time in high school when I cried so hard at a waitressing job that they put me in the freezer.
Check it out. Let me know what you think.
How do you feel about first drafts? Do you have special tricks to get you started? Please share your thoughts!
COOL STUFF. My friend Caroline of Unfancy is on The Lively show this week. Jess’ podcast brings “a little intention to your everyday.” Week after week I’m filled with positive energy after listening to her array of interesting guests. Designers, meditators (among many other things), startup mavens, bloggers turned small business owners and more.
I’m thankful to be pals with both of these ladies, so it delights me to see them team up this week. Give it a listen Caroline gets real fast. I really appreciate her honesty when it comes to body image and consumerism. It’s a great listen.Check it out, gal pals. You will also learn more about her capsule wardrobe that is taking the interweb by storm!
Happy Thursday! I hope your day is off to a good start. Mine is, because I got my drawings on.
Here are some links I want to share:
How to streamline your process from Breanna Rose
The Confidence Gap (women in the workplace) via The Atlantic
Great interview with yogi, Seane Corn (thanks, Jen!)
Now for this picture. I’m adding more flowcharts to my shop, and this pup has been on my mind. I think I need to look at it every. single. day. A few questions. If you actually read it, does it make sense? Do you have any critiques, spelling errors, etc.? Would you like to see it in color? What color? Do you think it needs to have watercolor script like the other one? This is only a first draft (I’m mostly talking about the header type). I’m excited to roll them out!
Do you have ideas for other prints or flowcharts?
Have you read The One Thing? It’s a great business book with a simple premise: focus on one thing. One thing that will make everything else easier or make the things you don’t want to do go away. It’s figuring out which domino needs to fall first in order to set yourself up for success.
When I start my day by drawing, I gain a small victory for myself. It’s fun and I feel good. The drawing doesn’t have to be a portfolio piece, it just has to happen.
My dad sent me this podcast interview with one of the authors, Jay Papasan. If you’re not sure about diving into the book just yet, give this a listen. I listened to it twice in a row. It’s so simple. Now let’s go do the thing.
If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen heaps of pictures tagged #designervaca late last week.
Designer Vaca is a time and place for lady designers and girl bosses to gather at the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs, CA and tell tales and dirty secrets of the trade. It’s a great time to connect with gal pals from across the country. While there were insightful round table discussions, and a great interview with Jessica Hische, time was mostly spent lounging by the pool and talking about good music*, good running shoes* and big dreams.
I’m excited to re-shift my focus for the coming year. I have some personal goals that I’m excited to share with you next October. I don’t like to say too much too soon, as I don’t want to let myself off easy before actually doing the work. Here are some resources from the past week. Ladies who were there, let me know if I missed any and I’ll add to the list.
At the office:
Scanner Pro (AMAZING scanner from your phone)
Stocksy (great stock photos, great prices)
The Noun Project (vector icons)
IFTTT (automates Instagram to Twitter)
Skillshare, of course. (Chelsea said this Simon Walker class was great)
Wordmark (pulls all font from your system to preview text)
Peek (free 5 min. user testing + affordable testing with more targeted demographics)
Bookkeeping + time management:
Timetrade (scheduling service, so you don’t have to go back and forth to pick times for calls)
Harvest (time tracking)
Solo (time tracking)
Any Do (to do list)
Virtual Miss Friday
(also, just search “creative virtual assistant” or “design virtual assistant”)
Books & articles
Breaking the Time Barrier by Mike McDerment and Donald Cowper (I read this on my flight home and I can’t recommend it enough. It’s a must read for all small business owners)
The Art of Earning by Tara Gentile
The Art of Growth by Tara Gentile
Why Women Don’t Ask for More Money by Ashley Milne-Tyte (article, NPR)
The Confidence Gap by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman (article, The Atlantic)
*compliments of Megan Gilger
New prints in the shop! I collaborated with the master of intention, Jess Lively to bring you these simple reminders. Check them out! Every order comes with a matching desktop and iPhone wallpaper. You are wonderful and so is your short time on this earth, so be present and be brave.
You do you and have a super week.
I’m so pumped to be working with Jess Lively on 50+ illustrations for her Life with Intention Online class. If you haven’t had the chance to check out her incredible podcast, do so today. The last episode was with Kate Arends of Wit + Delight, where she talks about minimalism, design and mental health.
As pumped as I am about this project, I’m really jazzed about how we’re doing it. Instead of working remotely, we’re stationed in my living room (as seen in Jess’ above Instagram). We’ll be doing this marathon of drawings using a system similar to the Pomodoro Technique. We’ll take a 30 minute break after every 90 minute cycle (taken from The Power of Full Engagement). Perhaps this will be the new standard. Will let you know. Wish us luck!
*above picture was taken with the ProScanner app. Recommended by Jessica Hische at the recent Circles Conference. I highly recommend. Well worth the $3.
I’m so proud of this one, you guys.
Monica Burkett is a phenomenal birth photographer in the Dallas Fort Worth area. Her company, A Sacred Project, documents life at first breath. Check out her gorgeous feed.
Monica reached out to me about helping rebrand her business. Her pictures were already top notch, so she just needed something fresh, and something her. I was really intrigued because I’ve never worked with something like this, and I was even more excited when she said she wanted it to be more granola—no cliché pacifiers or rattles.
We talked about ways we could communicate new life and home births without making it look too cutesy. We decided on a few earthy themes, like sprouts, nests and baby animals.
I drew a lot of baby animals…like a lot (this photo does it no justice). From there we just went over different looks, type treatments, etc. I always keep clients looped in, so sometimes I’d text her a process shot and sometimes she’d send me a link to something that gave her googly eyes, or just adorable baby otters.
Some process below.
We were both really pumped about the final result. She uses the little deer for her social media icons, and the type on her home page.
Having a baby in the DFW area? Reach out to Monica not only because she takes amazing photos, but also because she is HILARIOUS and a blast to work with.
Be sure to follow Monica on Facebook, Instagram, and check out her site if you haven’t already.
Looking for a rebrand yourself? Email becky[at]chipperthings.com to discuss your project. I’d love to work with you in October!
*All photos are courtesy of Monica, of course.
I am so honored to be speaking at the Circles Conference in a month! My session:
Destination Process: Lessons Learned by Giving it a Go
I will be alongside some of my favorite folks in the industry and I can’t wait to learn all of their dirty secrets. The tickets are sold out, but you can still stream it to get in on some powerful words from Jessica Hische, Promise Tangeman, Kathleen Shannon, Megan Gilger, Heads of State, Matt Lehman, Kyle Steed, and many more.
See you soon and wish me luck!