Real Talk

Real Talk



This is an article from the original Real Talk blog, which is now archived here on the KP website!
Happy reading!

Real Talk illustration by Kitiya Palaskas.jpg

Hey gang,

A little Real Talk update for you with some news about where we are headed in 2019. So, in reflecting on the year just past, I’ve been thinking about a bunch of things I loved, but also found challenging about running the Real Talk project. The good things: I still feel so passionate about wanting to share stories and resources about creative wellbeing and to facilitate a dialogue about them. I have also thoroughly enjoyed writing a blog again. Blogging was one of my first ever creative outlets and I didn’t realise how much I enjoyed and missed doing it, as well as curating awesome related resources to inspire and empower people with.

But there have been some negatives. I have struggled with maintaining a separate blog and instagram account alongside my existing platforms that I have for my business. I found that I just haven’t had enough time to devote to all of them and I kind of feel like I am losing that initial sense of community that surrounded Real Talk simply because I can’t keep up with the social media updates. One of the reasons why I started Real Talk was because I loved the dialogue that was happening every time I posted something about creative wellbeing on my social media. I feel like this has been lost a bit now, as I don’t have the mental capacity to facilitate this on BOTH social media accounts. I also didn’t get a chance to send out any Real Talk newsletters last year, which is something I really wanted to do because I truly believe in it as a communications medium.

Where does that leave Real Talk going into 2019?

Well, I need to make it easier and more streamlined for me to share Real Talk stuff with you, while also fitting in work, life, and the running of my business. I am dedicated to this project, so I need to find a way to balance it all, as canning it is not an option for me. So, with that being said, we are going to trial something new.

The Real Talk project will now become an e-newsletter, delivered straight to your inbox and filled to the brim with original content, videos, podcast recommendations, wellbeing exercises, and other empowering resources that we have lovingly curated and written just for you. The original articles we write will also be posted over on my Kitiya Palaskas blog but to make them super easy for you to find and access they’ll feed through to their own special page on my site, which you can find at But if you’re still keen to access the additional resources we used to curate and share (including Katie’s amazing wellness exercises), you’ll need to sign up to the newsletter.

To keep things super streamlined we’ll also be phasing out the Real Talk Instagram account. Anything to do with Real Talk will now be posted on my @kitiyapalaskas account and can be found under the hashtag #realtalkbykit and my Real Talk Highlight.

So what do you need to do to keep accessing Real Talk?

Firstly, please subscribe to the brand new Real Talk newsletter (see below to sign up)! This won’t be the spammy, incessant type of newsletter that makes you want to unsubscribe before you’ve even opened it up, we promise. We respect your time and your attention span, so you can rest assured that we will be valuing quality over quantity here. If you previously signed up to our old newsletter, you won’t need to sign up again, we got you!

Secondly, hop over and follow me on Instagram (@kitiyapalaskas) if you haven’t already as this is where I’ll be posting any Real Talk updates from now on.

Lastly, click over to Real Talk’s new home, and check out some of our older articles, you might find something that inspires you to start your year with a bang.

We do hope you enjoy our new format, I know I’ll definitely enjoy it more and it will hopefully make things easier for me so I can continue to serve up Real Talk goodness to help you improve your creative wellbeing!

As always, thank you for reading! xxx


Get some Real Talk in your inbox!

Real Talk is an online wellbeing project for creative people, written and curated by me! Through a monthly newsletter we share original articles (like this one) and exclusive curated content that we feel will compliment the topics we’re discussing in our articles. Things like TED talks, podcast episodes, videos, wellbeing exercises, worksheets and many more inspiring resources. Sign up to our newsletter to get your monthly dose of Real Talk and be empowered to improve your wellbeing so that you can lead your best creative life!


Real Talk


Real Talk by Kitiya Palaskas.jpg

Hey guys,

Kit here. Okay, so it’s been a minute since I last posted anything on here. Despite all my fanfare about this being a project based around monthly themes, regularly updated, with fresh stuff for you to read all the time, it seems I have failed to deliver. So in the spirit of open dialogue I wanted to jump on here and share some real talk about this with you. I had very ambitious dreams for my little blog when I first started, hoping to flood your feeds with epic articles and resources on the regular. At the time it seemed that monthly themes might be a good way to structure the content I shared, with stuff being posted all through the week. I was going to pre-write content 2 months in advance (because I read somewhere that’s what real bloggers do), and everything was going to be super easy and organised, even though I was aware that populating a blog with almost daily content is actually a full time job in itself and I already had 2 jobs which equate to a full-time workload, sometimes more. But “I can totally do this” I thought, “this is going to be easy”. 

Have any of you ever felt like this? Where you're so pumped about a new project that you leap in without thinking too much about how it's actually going to roll out?  And you have all the best intentions and want to dream big so being 100% realistic in that moment isn't a top priority? This is a very typical thought pattern for me when it comes to new projects, especially passion projects that I’m really excited about, like Real Talk. I tend to aim SUPER high and jump in with all guns blazing, only to realise quite soon after that I might have bitten off a bit more than I can chew. Even though I know this about myself I am somehow still so naively optimistic that it will work out this time round. I set up huge expectations for myself, and in the case of this project, publicly announce them, and then when things don’t go completely to plan, it can open me up to feeling like I have failed and make me worry that I look like a big dickhead in the eyes of my audience. 

That’s what happened here. About a week after I started this blog, I got inundated with design commissions. As I'm sure my fellow freelancers out there can relate, when it rains, it pours, and I of course said yes to everything. Work opportunities fluctuate a lot throughout the year in the weird world of craft-based design, and as a freelancer you have to jump in and ride the wave when you can. So I found myself thrown into what ended up being the busiest period of my year, which I’ve only just now come out of. Suffice to say, I was so busy trying to manage this sudden avalanche of exciting and challenging design projects that I had no time to do anything else, like sleep, eat, see my friends, wash my laundry, and keep up with my insanely ambitious Real Talk content schedule. 

So here we are in September, with a whole month gone and no new posts. I feel kind of shitty about this, because I am still super passionate about this project. It means so much to me and I want to keep doing it, and I hate that I’ve let it slip, even though I don’t want to blame myself for doing so. I had to work after all. But where to next? I’ve been mulling it over and I think I’m going to try for a more organic approach moving forward. No set themes, no set timeframes, just me writing and posting stuff when I think about it, feel it, or find it. Even when I was creating my first month of content there were things happening in my work life that I thought might be really interesting to talk about on here, but they didn’t fit July’s theme, so I let the moments pass without exploring them further. With a more organic approach to this project I’ll be able to write about things that me or our community are experiencing in real time, which may be more relevant to you as readers. So we’ll give it a go. 

This post might seem a bit unnecessary but I wanted to share what’s been going on. I also wanted to say a huge thank you for the amazing feedback I have received so far on the project. It has really motivated me to keep going and showed me that this project can have a positive impact and help people as they move through their creative lives. Stay tuned for more content coming your way soon, maybe in a less scheduled, more chill way, but definitely still coming. 

As always, thanks for reading!

Kit Palaskas signature.png

Get some Real Talk in your inbox!

Real Talk is an online wellbeing project for creative people, written and curated by me! Through a monthly newsletter we share original articles (like this one) and exclusive curated content that we feel will compliment the topics we’re discussing in our articles. Things like TED talks, podcast episodes, videos, wellbeing exercises, worksheets and many more inspiring resources. Sign up to our newsletter to get your monthly dose of Real Talk and be empowered to improve your wellbeing so that you can lead your best creative life!


Real Talk



This is an article from the original Real Talk blog, which is now archived here on the KP website!
Happy reading!

Real Talk by Kitiya Palaskas.jpg

I'm super excited to announce our first monthly theme, 'Success'! I felt this was a fitting choice for our first ever theme because it's kind of what prompted me to start sharing my real talk in the first place. Worrying about whether or not we are successful is a big thing for a lot of creative people. Our view on what success means can be affected by so many different factors - our backgrounds and experiences, other people's definitions of success, misconceptions, inner demons, societal pressures, what the media tells us and so much more. This month we'll be exploring the concept of success, its varying definitions, and some of the ways in which outside factors can affect our personal views on what success means to us. We'll hear from members of the creative community, learn about Imposter Syndrome and how it can skew our view of success, get real about the not-so-real aspects of social media, and so much more. 

To get the ball rolling I wanted to share some things that I used to think about success, things I personally thought to be true, but that I now (with a bit more time and experience under my belt) consider to be misconceptions. These views were actually quite damaging to a younger me, and made me put a lot of undue pressure on myself, which didn't contribute positively to my creative wellbeing at all! Maybe you've thought them too at some point or another. So here they are, along with some rebuttals from an older, and hopefully more wiser me. 

Real Talk by Kitiya Palaskas.jpg

The more money you have, the more successful you are.
Ew, no. Sure, I like to be paid well for my work, don't we all? But to me, my career achievements and how good I feel about them often seem completely separate to how much money they brought in. There are so many aspects of my creative life that I consider successful, and most of those have nothing to do with money at all, so there.

Success is a portfolio of big-name clients
Having big names on your client list is impressive, but it shouldn't define success. Some of the most incredible creative people I know haven't once worked for a big name client, or even a client at all in some cases!  And what defines 'big' anyway? Even that is subjective. 

Success is creativity full-time, having a day job is for plebs
Ugh, triggering. I've done both (in fact I have a day job right now!) and I can safely say, I kicked goals and achieved amazing things regardless of my full-time or part-time status. Everyone's situation is different, and just because you have a day job doesn't mean you're any less valid than someone pursuing their creative career full-time. Both are great!

Success is finding one thing and sticking to it
I hope not, because otherwise I've failed big time! I'm someone who is constantly pivoting in their career. I have so many interests and I want to pursue them all, and no one can stop me dammit. Picking just one of these interests to pursue for the rest of my creative life makes me feel totally claustrophobic actually. Why not dream big and aim for success in all your chosen fields, you don't need to pick just one!

Success is being a martyr to your craft
Gross, no. We've all met a martyr. You can recognise them by how tired and unhappy they look. I know this because I used to be one. I used to feel like if I wasn't working on my brand 100% of the time, I was failing it somehow. But slaving away late into the night, not taking breaks, thriving on stress, not eating, not showering (ew), being too busy for your friends and family... none of this makes you a 'success', it just makes you burn out! We all go through busy times as creatives, it's part of the process. But realising the importance of finding balance, nurturing your mind and body, and not feeling guilty about taking time out will actually make you better at your job, not worse.

Success means constant motivation, inspiration and dedication
No mate. Having these things is lovely and feels awesome, but it's also normal if you don't feel like this 100% of the time. Creativity can come in waves, and sometimes you're just not vibing. You would never consider someone a failure during the times they weren't 100% jazzed about their creativity, so why would you think it about yourself? 

Real Talk by Kitiya palaskas.jpg

I think it's important to say that despite feeling like I don't believe in these definitions of success anymore, sometimes I can revert back to them out of habit, and I have to try really hard to snap out that damaging way of thinking. It's a work in progress!  But if there's one main message I want to convey this month, it's that SUCCESS IS RELATIVE. It means different things to different people, it can even mean different things to the same person (at different times in their lives). Some people might not think about it that much, but to others it could be the driving force behind everything they do. No one person is the same, and no single creative path is the same, so success is going to look different for each and every one of us.  I think it's important to define success for yourself, and try to not let external factors influence this. It's also important to be open to your definition of success changing over time, mine certainly did, and will again I'm sure.

I hope you enjoy the thoughts and resources we'll be sharing in this first month of Real Talk. There's a lot of juicy stuff to discuss, so let's get stuck into it!

Get some Real Talk in your inbox!

Real Talk is an online wellbeing project for creative people, written and curated by me! Through a monthly newsletter we share original articles (like this one) and exclusive curated content that we feel will compliment the topics we’re discussing in our articles. Things like TED talks, podcast episodes, videos, wellbeing exercises, worksheets and many more inspiring resources. Sign up to our newsletter to get your monthly dose of Real Talk and be empowered to improve your wellbeing so that you can lead your best creative life!


Real Talk



This is an article from the original Real Talk blog, which is now archived here on the KP website!
Happy reading!

Kitiya Palaskas Real Talk Project.png

Hello! Thank you for finding this little corner of the internet, I'm so glad you're here. My name is Kitiya Palaskas and I'm the creator of Real Talk. I am a craft-based designer who has been working in the commercial design industry for the last 8 years. I am proudly self-made and have built my niche career from scratch through a combination of trial and error, persistence, and many, many Google searches on topics like "how to run a design business", "what is an invoice", "marketing tips for total idiots", "how to not be socially awkward in networking settings", and other similar things.

Over the course of my career, the internet has been an amazing resource to educate, empower and inspire me to be a boss - there is literally no end to the incredible information out there to help people build and run successful brands or business ventures. Because of this I feel like I can say with confidence that when it comes to running my creative business, I got this. But over the years I have realised that there is another side to being a creative person. It's something I didn't really consider or think was important initially because I was so excited about the career I was building and too busy learning all those business-y things so I could one day become the cooler, more powerful, more ethnic version of Martha Stewart.  I didn't realise that this 'other side' is actually as equally important to having a successful creative career as learning how to run a business. I'm talking about wellbeing

Real Talk Project by Kitiya Palaskas

Creativity is personal, it comes from inside us. It's an expression of our personality, a reflection of who we are. It makes sense then that all the things that affect us on a personal level are inextricably linked to our creativity. I often wonder why it's easy enough to reach out  for support about things happening in my personal life, but then seems taboo somehow for me to speak up about the same issues facing me in my creative life. There seems to be a stigma attached to this kind of sharing. Luckily we seem to be in a special period of time right now where wellbeing issues are more openly discussed than ever before, especially online. A safe, nurturing space is being formed where we can reach out, speak openly about our issues, seek help, and feel better. The walls surrounding these topics seem to be breaking down and being more transparent and open about our experiences is becoming the new normal, which is why I feel this is the perfect time and place for me to launch this project.

But let me back up for a minute. Hands up if you are a creative person that has ever experienced one of the following (keep your hand up if you're like me and have experienced ALL of the following, multiple times):

  • Fear of failure

  • Self-doubt

  • Lack of motivation

  • Jealousy

  • Insecurity about your creative future

  • Creative block

  • Overwhelmingness (Is that a even a word? Well it is now.)

  • Imposter syndrome

  • Guilt

  • Burn out

  • Pressure to succeed

I could go on...

Real Talk Project by Kitiya Palaskas.gif

I think you'd be hard-pressed to find a creative person out there who hasn't experienced one or more of these things at some point in their careers. That's because just like in our personal lives, these are a natural and normal part of being creative. For me (and maybe you) however, I haven't always been as willing to admit to them, because up until a few years ago I literally thought I was the only one experiencing stuff like this. Everyone around me seemed to be kicking goals and killing it at their creative lives, 100% of the time. As much as I felt confident and proud about my place in the creative industry, I was scared to admit that I sometimes had other feelings about it all too. I wanted everyone to see me like I saw them, killing it and kicking goals. I also didn't want to whine about feelings and how hard things could be, despite being privileged enough to be able to do craft every day and get paid for it. So I never addressed any of these issues or reached out for help when I needed it. Over time this caused all sorts of turmoil for me, including a mega dose of creative block which crippled me on and off for the better part of 2 years. 

Somewhere in the midst of that gross phase I was invited to speak at a design conference. Rather than showing a highlights reel of my portfolio, which seemed like the safe thing to do, I decided to take the plunge and be honest about some of the things I'd been going through that year. I don't know why I to choose to bare it all for the first time ever in front of an audience of over 500 people, BUT, I had been given an amazing opportunity to share my story, and felt it was important in doing so to shine a light not just on my creative achievements, but also the realities, good and bad, of my creative life. So I did it, and guess what, it didn't bomb! The feedback was so encouraging. Many people reached out to tell me they had been through similar things and experienced this stuff on the regular too! The solidarity that I felt in knowing I wasn't alone in these experiences was so wonderful. Over the years since I have been making more of an effort to be open and realistic about creative wellbeing and how I am feeling. The more I do it, the more normal it feels, and each time I realise I am not alone and that the dialogue I am having with others is helping me to build an arsenal of amazing tools to assist me in leading a happy and healthy existence as a creative person.  

Real Talk Project by Kitiya Palaskas.gif

So, what is Real Talk exactly? Well, it's the culmination of my efforts to be more real about creative life. Real Talk is a safe space for open dialogue about creative wellbeing, structured around a different theme every month. It's a place to share insights and experiences about all the feelings-y things we go through and how to manage them in our day-to-day creative lives. It's also a platform to share inspiring stories and valuable resources from all over the place. I should probably insert some sort of disclaimer at this point so here goes: I'm not a medical professional, nor am I an expert on these topics outside of my own personal experiences. I'm just a gal with lots of feelings trying to make sense of everything so it doesn't get in the way of me making stuff. I'm also not trying to re-invent the wheel with this project. I know there's already heaps of great stuff out there about this so I'm going to try and find all the best bits of that and share it here too. Alongside this I'll be sharing original content (thoughts, opinions, stories) by me and a bunch of creative people I know and love, and also YOU if you're interested (hit me up)!

I really want to form a community around this project, and encourage you to share your own thoughts and experiences by commenting on posts here and on social media. What Real Talk won't be is a place for judgement, or calling out, I want everyone to feel they have a voice within this community and that they can confidently share their stories to a like-minded audience that is willing to hear them. Also, I love an epic rant as much as the next person, but will aim to keep my content empowering and constructive, even if we are talking about things that can be painful, frustrating or negative. If at any time you have thoughts on how we can improve what we're doing here and make it more valuable for everyone, please don't feel shy to speak up. 

Anyway, thank you for taking the time to read our first post. To stay in the loop about what's coming, including an announcement about our first theme, follow us on Instagram ( and sign up to our mailing list via the form below. 

Thank you so much for being here, I can't wait to get the ball rolling and see where this project takes us!

Speak soon,

Real talk Project by Kitiya palaskas.png

Get some Real Talk in your inbox!

Real Talk is an online wellbeing project for creative people, written and curated by me! Through a monthly newsletter we share original articles (like this one) and exclusive curated content that we feel will compliment the topics we’re discussing in our articles. Things like TED talks, podcast episodes, videos, wellbeing exercises, worksheets and many more inspiring resources. Sign up to our newsletter to get your monthly dose of Real Talk and be empowered to improve your wellbeing so that you can lead your best creative life!


Real Talk



Wow, I can't believe it's May already, like how did that even happen?! Some of you may not know this about me, but this time last year I was working part-time at a university, trying to juggle a full-time freelance career alongside a 'day job'. 2017 is actually the first year that I have been 100% devoted to my design practice, having only dabbled occasionally in the full-time freelance life prior to this.  

In the spirit of full transparency, as I promised would be the way I wrote these Real Talk blog posts, I have to admit that the thought of leaving the comfort of a sensible uni job with great benefits and a regular pay check was super scary. But I knew that I would never be truly satisfied unless I was doing my creative thang full time. As a lot of artists who have experienced similar lifestyles can probably attest to, having a secure day job made me kind of complacent. It was just too cushy of a situation to want to try for anything else. But, as I knew would happen eventually, I reached a breaking point and knew I needed to ditch the day job in order to be truly satisfied in my career (and life!) so I took the plunge. It's now May and despite my initial worries, I haven't starved, haven't been evicted from my home, and am somehow making this work. Sometimes I am pleasantly surprised by this, but mostly I just wonder why I didn't do it sooner! I know without a doubt that this was what I am meant to be doing with my life, which feels so good.


Anyway, the reason why I'm telling this long-winded story is because this time last year I was also invited to speak at The Design Conference (formerly Analogue Digital), an inspiring creative conference and accompanying series of workshops/exhibitions/events put on once a year up in Brisbane. The conference is coming up again in a few short weeks and I just watched the video of my talk from last year. Apart from wondering despairingly if my face truly looks like that when I talk, it made me reflect on the year it's been, and how far I've come since then. My presentation at TDC was not only the first time I'd spoken in front of a huge audience (I am talking terrifyingly huge), but also one of the first times I had spoken publicly about all aspects of being a creative person, in particular all those real talk things that a lot of us may feel nervous to admit to, but that every single one of us experiences at some point in our creative journeys. 
My talk at TDC 2016 actually inspired and empowered me to be more open about discussing these sorts of things, which in turn led to these Real Talk blog posts! 


If you're looking for some fresh inspiration, the wisest real talk from a bunch of talented and experienced creative legends, or just a huge a kick in the ass to get motivated to chase your passion, you should definitely consider attending The Design Conference this year. It's being held from May 24 - 27 at the Brisbane Powerhouse and registrations are closing soon! Head to to find out more and book your place. 

In the meantime, here's my video from last year's conference. Apart from the gut-wrenching stage fright I definitely felt empowered by sharing this talk with last year's audience, so I hope that in watching it, it gives you a little inspiration boost and perhaps empowers you to keep doing your thing! 


Real Talk


Kitiya Palaskas just do you

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.