“Stopping is for losers”

Earlier this year I spent around a month focused on posting Medium articles every single day. I kept it up and pushed myself to make sure I always released something every single day. I wanted the exercise to improve my writing skill or spark a passion I had seen in others. I got into a mindset of getting something out there to get over the finish line. Rather than thinking about who I was creating for, or why I was even creating in the first place. I’d sat listening to motivation books and the teaching of online prophets for too long and got caught up in publishing for the sake of it, rather than for the sake of something I gave a shit about.

It took me burning out, questioning my whole career and quitting most forms social media for several months to realise that I needed to stop forcing myself down to the wrong path and rethink things. So I stopped. Against all my better judgement and all of the propaganda I had read. I gave up.

That sucked.

But instead of thinking: “stopping is for losers” and getting caught up in that negative narrative. I, instead, thought about how I could take the same kind of mentality, refocus it, and progress forwards with something that would inspire me. Keep me motivated. And maintain the daily cadence I wanted to build.

What to do?

I’m a designer by trade and have recently moved back into the world of freelance after a contract ended.

In the past, I’ve struggled to get work out regularly or practice my craft. So with this daily exercise, I needed to do something that would improve my skills, while also leaving a trail of that practice work behind me that potential clients can find.

So instead of writing in such a tight schedule; I’m going to design.

Design is something that is part of my daily life naturally, as it is how I earn my living. But over the last couple of years I’ve become more jaded by the industry and even my own work. I think this is because I’ve never taken the time to define a style for myself. For the last few years, I’ve always been working with clients or moving at a hundred miles per hour towards the next milestone. Not stopping to work on projects of my own creation or to experiment with new skills as I had earlier in my career. While this has bee useful for being adaptive to the style and direction of my clients; to truly enjoy my craft, I need to get back to that place of passion. The place where I designed for the sake of it, rather than to simply make a living.

Rediscovering my Passion

In trying to work on those new skills and work towards finding a style of my own, I’ve focused things down to only looking at iOS design. After my experience running my design studio Brotherhood a few years ago, I had promised myself that I would niche down in the future. This move represents the first step in that journey.

I’ve never been good at deciding on an idea to work on long term, or a specific audience to serve. But I hope that this first move towards focusing primarily on iPhone app design will lead towards niching down further in the future. So I can find a style that speaks to me, and I can be passionate about. Even if just for personal work.

Back to the Daily Grind

One of the things I learned during the daily blog post binge was that the challenge of getting something out every single day is incredible for learning. Another bonus of getting work released on a regular basis is the boost to discoverability gained from the trail left behind by practicing in the open; great for SEO, or someone to stumble across and find your work.

So, as with that Medium extravaganza, this #dailyappdesign project will be posted daily (as it says in the name 🙄).

Making at this gets me in the mindset of always moving towards my goal, step by step. Just as with a fish, which dies if it stops swimming; projects die if they stop moving forwards.

See you every day. (But less frequently here on the blog, sorry)