I'm working on a post about the CD packaging I just finished printing and should have it up soon. Those were quite an adventure, and though they came out well, printing them was just one mishap after another. I certainly hope to print CDs again, but will I ever do it this way, using those plates, that ink, and the same level of ignorance? No, no I will not.
That last point, the level of ignorance not being the same again, is really resonating with me today. I’m finding this to be both a frustrating and sort of attractive thing about my printing experiences recently.
Lately I've been fortunate enough to have lots of projects to print, which is wonderful, don’t
get me wrong, but every time I start one, I seem to realize that I’ve never
done this sort of thing before, and that since I’m working with a deadline
(flexible, yes, but still), there better not be any hiccups. It can be scary.
Usually I have at least one moment of serious despair, where I wish that I
hadn't taken on this job, where I wish that I'd just stuck to printing my own
little cards, and where I'm convinced that this time I won't be able to
complete a project at all.
Earlier this year, it was those 2 sets of wedding invitations. First attempting to print the whole chase area on those save the dates, and then later doing that hand-set invitation and every bit of it was a challenge. More recently it's been the CD packaging. I must admit that I really wished for an invitation to print during certain points of the CD printing since I now know all about printing wedding invitations (ha!), but now of course, there's a new challenge. Early next year, it looks like I'll be printing some posters, and that too will be a whole new ballgame, with me making it up as I go along.
So far however, I've been lucky, or my perseverance and growing skill(?) have enabled me to successfully complete each project. Or both. But it feels so rewarding to look at a completed piece and not only does it look good, it looks right - or well printed, and to know that I got through that moment (or 5) where it came close to failure. And that's what is both so awesome and stress-making about this. Rarely in my professional life do I do anything that's outcome is ever in doubt or where my actions could cause serious failure. Don't get me wrong, I chose my career based on the fact that I wanted an enjoyable, mostly stress-free, 9-5 work environment, so that I could go home and do my stuff, and that's what I've got. I like my job but you know, at times it can be...a little monotonous. I’ve been really working on a plan or at least a series of steps to start transitioning Gamewell Press into a money-making operation (not big money – more like buying type from Skyline money), so this has been on my mind lately.
Anyway, it's great (so far) when I get done and am pleased with the finished product, but the nerve-wracking middle isn’t wonderful (though the sense of accomplishment is); nor is the worry that one of these days I’ll have bitten off more than I can chew and will have to let down a client. So is monotony that bad? Today I’d like to just have some run of the mill, easy projects, but would I grow tired down the line of printing the same wedding invitation designs day after day? Right now that seems like a problem I’d love to have, but do people who are doing exactly what they’ve wanted to do have that monotony problem? I’m going to guess that if I had a real printing business, I’d grow tired of the website or store updating and the accounting, and certainly the press cleaning, but not the printing. Is that naive?
So yes, I have a full time non-printing job, and until a few months ago I had another part-time job as well. I live in New York, which means that although I can read or zone out on my daily trek to work, it can be a surprisingly long commute (round trip: 1.5-2 hours, daily) and New York is hard - it's a hard place to live (this used to be an attraction, but now I’m lazy and getting old). But my point is that I don’t have that much time for printing. Doing it after work guarantees a very late night and that no other household duties get done, and I’m fairly useless the next day as well. Printing all weekend means not seeing friends that I rarely see anyway and not going to museums and galleries and all the things that make living in this city worth it. So before this becomes a rant about how New York and I might not want the same things anymore (hello, space and reasonable rents!), I’ll just say that if I’m lucky and very well organized, I get to print twice a week but usually it’s only once a week or so.
Of course, in addition to the actual printing, there’s all the set-up surrounding it. I need to find the time to design some ideas I’ve been sketching out, to set the type and cuts for another couple projects I’ve been thinking about, I really need to get on with learning to use Photoshop and Illustrator better, so that I can actually put my plans into action quicker and more effectively. I need to devote time to blogging and building my website, and I really ought to spend some time taking better-looking pictures of my work. You add all these up and where is the time? There really isn’t any, you know?So I want to ask you guys, how do you fit it all in? Are you just better at time management & multitasking? Do you perhaps not have another job? Do you not have sleeping issues? Do you require less of that lazy vegging out on the couch time? Or do you, like me, have trouble managing and sometimes feel like you’re sinking under the weight of all these intentions and to-do lists? At times I wonder if I'm really capable of turning this into a semi-successful business-type-thing because some nights, like tonight, I get home and have to abandon my type sorting plans and give in to an all-consuming urge to read a novel. That happens to everyone though, right? Thoughts would be greatly appreciated. As perhaps would a way to shake this winter-approaching, end-of-daylight-savings-time melancholy!