Setting intentions and goals for the new year has always been important to me, especially where my design practice is concerned. Sometimes I'll have set goals I definitely want to try and achieve, and other times it's more of a wish list of stuff I'd like to happen. Either way, writing this stuff out helps to set me on a good path for the year, and motivates me to get started, especially when I'm stuck in holiday mode and all I want to do is listen to Sean Paul - Temperature whilst drinking from a coconut. I thought I'd share some of my resolutions/intentions/goals, or whatever you want to call them, in the hopes that maybe they'll inspire you to write some for yourself, or at least think about how you want your 2017 to look. Here we go!
Keep it personal
Last year I spoke at a bunch of conferences where I was asked to share insights about what it's like to be a designer. I'd seen a few talks like these, but always felt a bit disconnected from the speakers, because I felt like they mostly spoke about the ups of being a designer, and not necessarily about the downs that I know from experience are a normal part of working in the creative industry. So when I was writing my speeches for these conferences I decided to take a different angle, and share some pretty personal things about the awesome moments I've had as a designer, but also about the struggles, steep learning curves, uncertainties, fears and other tough stuff I'd been through trying to forge my career, because you know we've all been there. I was worried that I'd sound like a bit of an emo speaking about it all, and that it might be an overshare, but was pleasantly surprised when I received a positive and encouraging response from my audiences. It empowered me to be more vocal about the realities of my creative life as a way to provide people with real life advice that they could actually use on their own career journeys.
This year I'd like to keep that personal theme going, despite it being scary to talk about stuff like failures, slip ups, and embarrassing moments in this world of perfectly curated content that can sometimes make you feel that everyone but you is kicking a series of endless goals. Okay admittedly that sentence did sound a bit emo, but you are reading the blog of a former goth that used to listen to AFI and paint tears and spiderwebs on my face with black eyeliner so what do you expect! Anyway, I want to be more open and honest about my experiences, in an empowering and inspiring way, without being a Debbie Downer, so expect to see more blog posts like these this year filled with my juicy thoughts about all the elephants in all the rooms.
Make real connections
There have been times in my career (and last year it seemed to happen a lot) where I have to admit, I got mega tunnel vision and got swept up in things like follower numbers, likes per post, algorithms changing the way my posts are seen, and all that noise that comes with using social media as your main promotional (and procrastination) tool. I still find it insane that there is a whole made-up and intangible world called The Internet that has the power to permeate and affect us in our actual 3D lives. Think about it for long enough and that concept will seriously trip you out.
Anyway, things got so insane inside my tunnel that I even started to link the rise and fall of my social media numbers to how successful I felt I was in my career and even how legit of a person I was! That sounds so ridiculous but was actually a thing that happened to me and maybe has happened to you before (can I please not be the only one?!). This year I want to focus on cultivating more meaningful relationships with the actual people behind the likes and comments. I want to try and forget about the numbers, because at the end of the day that's all they are. Instead I'd like to keep making real connections with the actual people that are making the effort to support me and are doing things like posting cute encouraging messages, a series of carefully curated emojis, or a Law & Order meme that is so totally on point that I cry laugh for hours. It shouldn't matter if there are 3 or 3000 of these amazing legends out there, it should be more about the quality of the connections you make with them, online and in real life.
Get out more!
Speaking of IRL, sometimes you get so frenzied and busy that you forget that there's real people out there doing amazing things in your community, or you see it on social media but you don't have time to actually show up so you just like the post. I love being part of the creative community in Melbourne, so I want to make it more of a priority this year to attend events, exhibition openings, markets (as a punter, not as a stallholder!) and all the other awesome things that people are creating every day for me to engage with and be inspired by. Doing more of this is also another way that you can make great personal connections.
Just do you
Above all, I want to keeping trying to be as me as I can this year, which sounds obvious but is actually something you can lose sight of sometimes! I want to speak in my voice, the way I would if you or I were sitting in a room chatting (even if you were kind of zoning out because I talk way too much.) I don't want to put on a weird Kitiya Palaskas business voice or tell you things I think you want to hear, or that make me look good. I'm just gonna do me.