At the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, I evaluated and researched the many ways to bring in an income online. Various skill sets and a creative mind led me to Graphic Design. There was something beautifully simple to me about being able to picture something in your head convert it into an actual picture.

Logos and branding were my forte because I also knew the unrelenting struggle of conveying a picture and feeling all through words and text. A logo seems like such a simple thing to create until you realize a business, much like a person has a story. Everything from the name to the reason this person took something they loved and turned it into a career was all to be mixed into a simple layout of a name and colors, clear enough to send a message but complicated enough to bring the owner closer to their business.

I simply worried that my passion for writing would whither away with meaningless articles of redundancy. Articles with titles just slightly different than articles of the same nature. Repeating words on a popular subject, not in your own voice, but in a voice closer to the words of anonymous website writers, but just different enough to not be considered copyright infringement. All things you could only hope someone would search for randomly on Google.

As I ventured into the graphic design world, I realized the writing world was closely related, just a different path with more assistance required. You could not simply sit down with a keyboard or a pen and pour your heart out onto the blank white page staring you in the face. Instead of skill, the software seemed to be the main difference between a novice and a prized graphic designer.

It seemed easy enough to bring others’ visions to life and slightly empower them to personalize their business. The problem was my passion was elsewhere. I lay in bed at night, and instead of worrying about my work, I wrote colorful stories and poems in my head, but I laid there too tired and wore out from mundane tasks to write them down. Instead, I slowly converted them into dreams, and by the morning light, they had faded into a simple shadow of a thought.

Slowly I grew tired. I grew tired of advertising concepts I had created in front of people who simply judged them by a 5-second glance at a picture and not caring if a word was integrated into the image. I had found myself in a world of daily Zoom meetings, deadlines, and 45 minutes of work because my client was unsure of the shade of purple of the text on her logo. A faint smell of corporate America, yet virtual and with the attention span of a fruit fly.

I missed days of droning on about why hamsters shouldn’t eat lettuce. The beautiful part of writing was that there appeared to be no boundaries if you were writing for yourself. If you were writing for others, the work outline was supplied, and I would give it my all. By the end and the submission of my work I knew, I had nothing left to give to that subject.

I had clearly drawn the line in the sand of my services and, every moment doubted myself. A book on the back burner, writing offers being put to the side, and an endless supply of different fonts and slightly different images filled my days with a longing for more.

Financially, this path made sense. Clear guidelines made it easier to work with others on their projects, and I was somehow hopelessly stuck in someone else’s story. Instead of growing my skills or research abilities, I had made myself part of their business plan and their business story, and I had nothing to work toward but another email requesting my services.

Somehow I had lost my own path and found myself on the path of whoever I was working with that day. A chronic migraine, a dirty house, and less in my bank account than I was bringing in before made me want to erase the past year and start from the beginning. The only problem was… did I want to erase the time I put in? Did I want to continue others’ path and slack in moments where I didn’t feel as if it even mattered, or did I want to change?

A stack of empty notebooks, fancy pens, and a planner that needed no content due to the fact others were dictating my day call to me from a place of familiarity, and I found myself writing. Changing my website, blogging, posting memes on social media that actually held content from a place that sat below the skin, just out of reach Zoom calls.
I am currently under construction, and in the middle of a story that has no end, I am wandering barefoot down a path of a world that I have created. It’s a glorious feeling of familiarity and yet inconsistency.

There will be days that no income is made, days of writing a novel that may never meet the eyes of a stranger, and days of serious debate over how I feel about the fact they don’t recommend giving dogs peanut butter anymore, and not only is that okay, it’s glorious.

-The Un-Traditional Mother

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