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30-something mother, wife, lawyer, writer, design junkie, craftaholic, cook

likes: clever tools, snazzy colors, working for justice, kid wrangling, Meyer lemons

dislikes: inefficiency, civil discovery, most shades of purple, Tori Amos

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Tuesday
Jun302009

A pause for thanks

Y'all, I'm gonna just put it to you straight: Lately I've been feeling pretty sorry for myself, creatively speaking. I've felt bottled up and frustrated. I've started far more projects than I've finished, and I've thought about thinking about starting a whole lot of others I couldn't be bothered even to try at. I've gotten myself in a rut of thinking that every effort needed to be a slam dunk, a perfectly photographed, brilliantly executed specimen for this here little internet museum of moi. Well, today I say, "Dumb, Blazer!"

Some days (most days) I wish I could devote my working life to creative pursuits. I blame my job and its demands for my artistic limitations. I fret that I am missing out on a different life--an alternate version of me who cuts and pastes and grows and cooks all the time. And then I realize that that alternate version is just as frustrated as the real me. She gets stir crazy and wishes she had stability and office mates and fears she's not doing enough with her education. The trick I'm trying to learn is how to be a little of both of these people without overloading my circuits. There are plenty of books and loads of advice for how to be a lawyer, how to succeed as a criminal defense attorney, how to survive the slings and arrows of life as a public defender. And there is no shortage of good support for people (women especially) who are pursuing creative careers and becoming artistic entrepreneurs. What I'm looking for is the manual that tells you how to combine the two. That's not so weird, right?

Until someone writes that perfect guide to living my specific life, I have no choice but to keep trying to plow through when I'm all tangled up like I have been lately. In the last 6 months or so I have gotten blocked like this a couple of times. And at first, the mere existence of this blog feels like a trap--public evidence of my creative drought. But then slowly, slowly, knowing I have this place to vent, to share, to reach out is the thing that frees me. And that makes me thankful--thankful to the great wide interweb, to the people near and far who tune in to read my ramblings, and to myself for having the guts and the will to keep it up. While I was in a thankful mood tonight, I drew up these cards and matching envelopes. I hope you enjoy them, and I really do thank you for being here (wherever "here" is on the internet).

As always, feel free to use and print as much as you'd like for any non-commercial purpose. If you'd like to link to the cards, I'd love it if you'd link to this post rather than directly to the PDF. You can download the PDF here, and there is a page in the file of instructions on how to print and cut the cards.

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Reader Comments (22)

Thank You! I use Thank You notes on a weekly basis and I'm forever running out. What a gem you are.

I don't have a 9-5 job and I don't have a stay at home creative outlet. I feel like I'm just lost most of the time. I blog every day because that's how I stay grounded and keep my sanity. If you find the creative/lawyer book - I'd really like the volunteer & rental manager/owner/cleaner/girl friday & wife of a works from home husband. :)

Congrats on venting - I hope your creativity block releases.

June 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKristin

Great post - a universal issue I think. I'm not sure if you'll find this helpful but a fellow-Aussie blogger posted about breaking with what she called her craftstipation the other day and I thought you might like to read her synopses of how to break it. The link is: http://clutterpunk.blogspot.com/2009/06/your-top-tips-for-curing-craftstipation.html

Hope this is helpful and thanks for another great post! (and another fab download!)

Kylie

June 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKylie

Having come from the suck-dry day job to my over-the-top frazzled dream job, I still don't feel I've figured it out. I've been working my butt off to make my "new" job a success and it's very challenging. And it's way more work than I could imagine.. but I do love it and I'm thankful every day for the courage I found and the support I have. Not really advice, but perspective. Just keeping putting positive thoughts into your dreams. I know, though, that the hard part can sometimes be formulating those dreams.

June 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCicada Studio

First: I want an Illustrator tutorial from you.

Second: The creative cycle ebbs and flows. Actually, that sounds too peaceful: It races and crashes and stops and obsesses and cries and laughs and doubts itself and runs around naked shouting "I AM THE KING OF ALTOONA, PA!" And that's OK.

Your life is your creation.

June 30, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterdan

thank you for all the cute things you make. you are so very creative!

June 30, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterbeverly

you are awesome, push through it. thank you for the thank you's...i actually needed them today! i'll say it again, you are AWESOME!

June 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMel

I have exactly the SAME problem. I have a very demanding job that isn't really very creative and I get stuck fretting over this and that and what not and can't seem to be both the creative person and the project manager/producer I'm supposed to be for my job.

thanks a ton for posting this - sometimes I feel like I'm the only person like this.

June 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMalinda

You're writing that manual right now! Every day that you work to incorporate just a little bit more of what you want into your life you get closer and closer to your ideal. I have no doubt you'll find the perfect balance but to find it, some days will be too much, some not enough. You'll get there. I'm completely blown away by people like you who balance career and creativity. I think you're amazing! And I*love* the card! You bet I'll be linking.

July 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRachel

Thank you so much for these! Also, I totally understand where you are coming from. I am a lawyer too. We moved back to our home state about 6 months ago and I have been on "pre- and post-maternity leave" since that time (daughter #2 was born in April). I also have been working very part-time for a firm locally. It is HARD to concentrate on work with all of the other fun and fulfilling things to do in life. I don't juggle it well at all, and to be honest, I'm not really looking forward to going full-time again next month. But, you know, money and all. Boo hiss. But I am really happy I found your blog. There is precious little out there to network us working mom-lawyer-crafters. It's just an interesting combo, I guess!

July 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSarah A.

All creatives feel it, I think. I often wonder how/why we ended up with a system that has most of us spending most of our time doing things we don't really get joy from. here's hoping that, as a community of like-minded whack jobs, we can change things, or at least support each other in our quest for the more perfect things in life.

July 2, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterxarkgirl

Oh boy, I so understand where you are coming from! I'm currently in the "going crazy" phase and worrying that I'm not doing enough with my education! When we were in Japan, I was juggling work and motherhood and my wish to have more time for my creative pursuits. Now that I've taken some time off from working as an attorney, I actually don't have that much more time, as I'm now juggling 2 kids...I think it's always a battle! I think you are doing an amazing job, and have seen no true evidence of any drought. You are awesome!

July 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterFuji Mama

What a beautiful post! Thank you for sharing your feelings. I have such similar struggles, trying to juggle a FT career, a large family, and my creative needs, often times I find myself just sitting during my free time because I am overwhelmed to the point of not knowing where to start or what direction to take. I, too, am looking for that perfect combination of work and creativity and have not found it yet. I think a lot of us fall into this struggle and the important thing is to support each other and continue to encourage each other and ourselves to keep moving forward.
Hooray to you for putting yourself out there with this personal post!

July 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJulie Johnson

Balance must be the toughest thing for anyone trying their hand at doing what they love. My sister bravely left the corporate world to try her hand at full-time illustrating, and that ended up with its woes and stresses; after more than a year away, she returned to a similar corporate job, and now views it as an ends to a means — affording her the lifestyle that allows her to continue persuing her creating goals on the side.

Sometimes I wonder if it would be easier to be never question where I am or where I'm going, if I would be happier if I didn't push myself to do new things... but I really don't think so. It's a tougher route to overstuff our plates and force ourselves to juggle, but ultimately, the much more rewarding way to go. Keep at it. From here, it looks like you're doing a great job :)

July 3, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermchen

I hear ya, sister! Living a double life and wanting to be successful in each is a tough gig when they're aren't enough hours to go around. I am doing that very thing right now, but I also know I can't continue with it and big changes are afoot. Resolve to resolve your overachieving tendancies - and maybe you'll find peace in there somewhere. It is ridiculously hard though - you have my full sympathy with your struggle!

July 4, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterdaisy janie

Wonderful post. I love how you express yourself. Thank you.
~Bari

July 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBari

Many, MANY of us are in your shoes. I write marketing copy all day, because it's what pays well. Would I rather write for the New Yorker? YES. But, I'd also rather pay the bills. ;)

It's tough to juggle everything, and I've come to realize that juggling is what our generation does. We want to be domestic, smart, creative, financially-rewarded, etc. Sometimes I think it might have been easier to be a 50s housewife.

Just kidding!

July 7, 2009 | Unregistered Commenternichole

Thank you for your cards! They are very creative!!! You must have a lot of energy to pursue both vocations. Kudos to you.

July 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterErin

I hope you realize that you, among other creative bloggers, are the "good support for people (women especially) who are pursuing creative careers and becoming artistic entrepreneurs."

So the thanks goes to you. :)

July 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda

Thanks for the card - it might inspire me to actually send them like I should!

I struggle with both my academic career which requires a great deal of thought and dare I say it, creativity, and wanting to be more traditionally creative. Perhaps there's never the ideal balance unless you are rich and don't have to support yourself. Even if you manage to make a living out of what you love, it must end up becoming more of a job and therefore slightly less enjoyable - admin, paying bills and so on. I guess I should just count myself lucky that I have various outlets for my passions, even if I don't always get the balance right.

July 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJacqui

Hi!

Today I posted an entry on my blog with a link to these printables.

I'd appreciate your letting me know if that's OK.

Thanks,

Nancy Ward
http://paperfriendly.blogspot.com

December 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNancy Ward

There is a wonderful book called The Divided Heart by Rachel Power which has interviews with successful creative women who are juggling motherhood, work and a creative life. I think you might find it reassuring and inspiring - i did. Let me know if you get hold of it.

October 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnnabel

I wish I could blame my job! I am a very creative person but mostly in my head. When it comes to doing something creative I am never happy with the results and look at other peoples work wishing mine was as good :( oh well must keep trying! Thanks for sharing.

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterThank You Gifts

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