Saturday, December 15, 2012
I am still here, if there is anyone left reading this blog. Life has been sort of intense, yet boring, since I last wrote back in May. I plan to be around more often in the new year as I attend to my freelance career more ruthlessly than usual. The reason for this is because I recently made the decision to (almost) entirely quit doing the craft show circuit. This past year I did 16 shows. That may not sound like a lot, but it really is. Months of preparing, brain power creating new products, nights sitting up packaging and pricing. And then about half those shows were out of town which meant, at the very least, a long drive in the morning before an early set up, or an entire weekend spent away from my family. Travelling across the midwest has been pretty fun, though, I have to say. My good friend Sadly Harmless and I were lucky enough to attend a lot of the same out of town shows, and got to spend countless hours in the car getting to know each other better than we ever have before in our 12+ year friendship. So that was a perk. I got to stay in hotels, some fancier than others. I got to explore some new cities (even though that sort of thing is sort of overwhelming and scary to an introvert like me). I got to meet a ton of new and amazing vendors. I got to have some alone time only worrying about myself and not my toddler. However. Coordinating out of town shows with a 2 year old back at home can be trying. Particularly with a husband who is still cultivating his new-ish home graphic and web design business (Brandon With Glasses. He's just passed the 1.5 year mark!) and needs to work most weekends. I was starting to get burnt out, and not really looking forward to travelling. I wasn't always meeting my monetary goals, which I think had a lot to do with the fact I wasn't making plush any more (I just can't do it ... I love making them, but I don't love making them in bulk, and I just don't have the time to sit around sewing eyeballs like I used to). My passion is drawing, and the amount of images I have to offer is becoming a little overwhelming to shoppers, I think. I need to focus my energy and talent in a place where an overabundance of ideas and images is essential: freelance illustration. At some point, I almost completely dropped the freelance ball. I still have a couple long-term clients that come to me here and there, and of course I do personal portraits (love love love doing those). But my advertising efforts in that area have been zilch. I have been reevaluating and recalculating everything that I do, and everything that I love to do, and have decided I need to stay closer to home (I will still do one or two local shows a year), and I need to start letting the advertising and children's book world remember that I exist.
I am feeling a mixture of fear and overwhelming excitement as I drop something that has sort of worked for me these past 5 years, and embark on something new, the *real* thing I want to do in my life.
Oh, and also I'm expecting another baby in March. I suppose that also had something to do with this decision.
So, here's to 2012! You were busy, you contained a LOT of head colds and morning sickness, travelling, smiling, gardening, and exploring. And bring it on, 2013! Let's do this.
Posted by Candice Hartsough McDonald at 4:18 PM