Grow: How to take your do it yourself project and passion to the next level and quit your job! is a practical field guide for creative people to achieve success and sustainability on their own terms. Part of Grow’s mission is to empower creative people to come up with innovative solutions to make their creative passions sustainable career options. The first step in that process is to assess where you are and define where you want to go. In the spirit of Grow I posed a series of questions to Meggyn Pomerleau, who designed the book, about her career and goals so far. The issues that Meggyn outlines in our conversation are the ones that inspired me to write Grow: How to balance your creative passion with “real life,” how to understand what you and your creative work is worth, and how to face down an uncertain future with a careful planning.
Right now I’m in the process of putting together a series of workshops around the country this summer that will help creatives like Meggyn plan for DIY success. Until midnight on April 1 (9 pm pacific time) we are running a campaign on RocketHub.com to support the workshop tour and the production of Grow. We’d love to have your support!
How do you describe yourself creatively? What do you do and make and what would you like to do and make?
– I am a graphic artist. I make, draw, manipulate, form, paint, and sketch. Professionally, I’m a graphic designer and I primarily build websites. What I really like to do is illustrate and create typefaces.
What skills do you think are your strongest?
– My communication skills have gotten me to a point where I haven’t had to seek out work, ever. I’m also surprisingly good at drawing using my touch-pad on my laptop.
What skills do you feel you need to develop? How will you go about this?
– I still need to work on my time management skills, as well as practicing and researching my craft. Unfortunately, because I’m still a full time cubicle drone it’s difficult to find the time to work on my technical skills. That’s my main challenge right now–to make the decision to devote myself fully to my passion, or taking small steps to allow myself to have it in the future.
How integrated is your creative work into the rest of your life?
– My life is design, despite having the office job. I dream about typography; I pay attention to advertisements and details in logos, banners, and posters; and I’m constantly brainstorming pieces in my head. If I had to break it down in numbers: 40% of my life is the non-creative office job, 25% is actually creating, and 35% is everything else.
I believe it’s completely possible to turn the 25% into 75% if I choose to, but I’m worried about failure, inconsistent work flow, and settling for work I wouldn’t be interested in.
What is something you didn’t learn in school that you wish they taught about making your life and living as a creative person?
– One thing no one discussed was how to know what you’re worth. A lot of fresh graphic design graduates settle for production work, which doesn’t do anything for you, creatively.
Additionally, I wish that I had more one-on-one guidance and the professors helped us determine what kind of designer we were, how technically skilled we were, and where we should go to look for work in order to shape our future a bit. Design can be applied to many things, and if it’s not narrowed down to a specific category, it’s overwhelming to try to decide what category you’re going to focus on and try to pursue.
What are your creative goals for the next year? For the next five years?
– This next year, my goal is to develop a consistent style in my design that draws people to my work. I haven’t painted in the longest time, and I’m going to start again, to get back to my roots of being an artist.
In the next 5 years, I’d like to work for an agency or something fast paced and high stress or work as a freelance artist full time with clients sending me consistent work.
Check out Meggyn’s work in Grow! https://microcosmpublishing.com/catalog/books/3905/
And support the RocketHub campaign here: http://www.rockethub.com/projects/14039-empower-diy-creative-entrepreneurs-with-grow