Who should I be? All of the above, or just one? Two? Hmmmm….
Right now I spend my time doing some blogging, building a few web sites, organizing a weekly Krypton gathering, experimenting with fabric design and other crafty endeavors, helping Todd with his business, and being a mom. And it’s good. I like it much better than the “full-time Health Care IT Consultant (and mom)” from days of yore, although the pay isn’t nearly as good and the benefits stink. But it makes me happy. Can it also make me some money? I’m hopeful that it can.
So this week I started an experiment. I moved out. I am no longer spending my days ‘working from home’ so to speak. Now, after I drop the kids off at school, I continue biking on to my office, or ‘studio’ shall I say, where I share my new digs with two amazing friends of mine: a really talented graphic designer who was already working solo in the space, and a project manager with a super creative brain, who is also new to this space. And I think it is going to be very very good. On many levels.
Why did I leave the rent-free comforts of home? Here’s why…
- I needed to be away from house-wifely distractions, such as dirty dishes and laundry.
- I needed structure and focus. I need to focus on projects that can produce income. Now I dedicate 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday doing just that.
- I wanted help. I no longer want to be the sole person cooking, cleaning, shopping, planning, driving, etc, etc. That’s not how I want to spend the majority of my time and it’s not the role model I choose to be. I want each family member to have the opportunity to do what fulfills them, but also to participate in the care and maintenance of our home and lifestyle.
- I want to work with other creative people, and not just for the camaraderie, but for the inspiration we can give and receive. We can share the rent and our expertise. I think the saying “If you want something done right, do it yourself” is completely false. I believe if you want to do something great, don’t do it alone.
So, what am I going to do at the studio? Good question. The plan of the day is that I will focus on two things: web development and fabric design. I think it would be so cool to blend technical work, creative work, and hand-made work. I want use both sides of my brain, and my hands, and the skills I’ve developed over the years, and try new things.
I know I can do the web development, and am currently designing a site for a friend, but the fabric design is foreign territory, so that should be scary and exciting. I took a textile design class a while back that I totally loved, and recently sent two designs to Spoonflower, an on-line store where you can upload your own designs to be digitally printed onto fabric, wallpaper, and more. I love the way the fabric came out, but it was expensive – $15.75/yard for the cheapest cotton fabric. That’s expensive, isn’t it? So I’m going to try silkscreening it onto fabric I can buy for way less and then see if I can make something out of it, like a pillow or a shower curtain. We’ll see. I’m still meeting with my Krypton group, so I am excited to get some ideas and direction from them.
What about the bookkeeping? I will continue to work for Blackbird Iron, Todd’s business, but I don’t love the work. I’m getting paid for it though, and we’re making good progress improving systems and processes. Hopefully soon we’ll have things in a really solid place, and then they can find a new bookkeeper/administrator to do the work.
And the blogging? I love it, and will keep doing it. I intend to reach my goal of 365 ‘I Nevers’ and I want to keep writing about and making sense of this journey. Working on my blog is also like a little sandbox for WordPress web development, and I hope to make some improvements to the overall look and feel, and maybe even add a few more features. We’ll see…
And then there’s being a mom. I want to be there for my kids after school, to let them run freely on the playground, to have their friends over, to get them to their activities, to help get their homework done, and to feed them healthy meals. What I’m not sure of is how summers and holidays will fit into this plan. I’m thinking I may need to get a laptop so that this summer I can still take them swimming at Greenlake while getting some work done on the beach. We’ll cross that bridge later.
So, I guess the plan is to keep blogging, keep building web sites, keep having our weekly Krypton meetings, start experimenting more with fabric design, stop doing work for Todd, and, keep doing my mom job. Is it too much? Probably. Am I crazy? Definitely. But I feel really excited about the potential, and I think that my new space and my new studio-mates are just the ticket to moving in a new direction.