I’ve been in the calligraphy and lettering game for 3 years now. I often think back to 2015 Catie. The girl who went to her full time job, then came home to be a lazy bum and watch Netflix all night. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still the biggest Netflix binger. But I was in such need of an outlet (a cheap one!), and I soon discovered calligraphy. After a couple of weeks of scrolling through Instagram videos, I found a ball point pen and started to try and replicate what I was seeing.
I never in my wildest dreams imagined that I’d be where I am today, taking on such cool projects and accumulating such a large Instagram following. (4,200 followers may not seem like a lot to some people, but it’s an achievement to me!)
This is the first year where I’ve put in more work than ever and experienced the most growth in my business that I’ve ever seen! I’m not perfect. I’ll always consider myself “a work in progress.” But after 3 years of practicing and learning and failing, I wish I could just hop a time machine to 2015, and tell Catie what’s up.
Unless you’re some insane prodigy, no one is good at something when they first start out. It literally applies to everything… calligraphy, running, baking, dancing. When I think of this, I remember this quote: “Don’t compare your Chapter 2 to someone else’s Chapter 20.”
Jeez, how I wish I could engrave this into 2015 Catie’s brain. You were so consumed by the all the different amazing calligraphy accounts on Instagram, while sitting there holding a Tombow Dual Brush Pen for the third time. How the heck did you expect to be freaking awesome when you had literally just began your journey? Speaking of journeys, don’t take yours for granted! If you don’t enjoy the ride, then you won’t fully appreciate the destination (which by the way, you haven’t reached yet). So might as well take note of everything that happens along the way!
Even better, you’ll be able to look back on your original posts and get a good chuckle out of it!
No matter where you are or what you’re doing in life, you’re going to experience failure. Literally no one is perfect. Just because you’ve done something wrong or dropped the ball, that does not give you permission to give up completely. That’s when YOU turn into a failure.
If something does go wrong, I want you to give yourself one hour to pout, vent, grab a glass of wine, and maybe scream into a pillow. Then, you've got to dust yourself off, figure out what you can do to fix it and learn how you can do better next time.
You know what you do, 2015 Catie? You give way too much of a damn what everyone thinks. You do a good job of hiding it with jokes, sarcasm, and false confidence. But at the end of the day, if someone doesn’t like your art or if your post doesn’t get enough likes, it crushes you. And once that thought enters your brain “my art isn’t good enough”, you SPIRAL.
You have to remember that you only have to prove yourself to YOURSELF. That’s why you wanted to start calligraphy in the first place, to have an outlet to create for yourself. So that’s what you need to remind yourself. Your only competition and critic is yourself, and your goal should be to crush your own goals and the expectations you set for yourself. That’s when you’ll truly find happiness in your craft.
There have been a few times in my calligraphy journey where I’ve burnt out and needed to take a step back. One time, it was for my physical health. Another time, it was for my mental health. Calligraphy is your side hustle, so because it hasn’t been your sole source of income, it’s totally okay to give yourself a break. Because you’re only human.
Girl, burning out on something that you once loved is THE WORST. Not only because you felt you've let yourself down, but because the art that once brought you joy now made your heart rate freaking race. As much as it sucks the first time, remember that feeling. And more importantly, remember the feeling when you finally pick up that pen again. That's when you rediscover the joy.
Can you relate to any of this? Are you going through it today? Let's chat. Because I know that you got this. ♥
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