This journey over the past 2 months has been an incredibly rewarding learning and growth experience for me, so I wanted to share a little bit about my process. I wish I could say the work just poured out of me and that all of this went very smoothly...but that’s not the case. I struggled a lot; from the very beginning, just getting started was a hurdle. I didn't know exactly what direction I wanted to go for this project, so I became overwhelmed by the endless possibilities in front of me. It was very difficult to just sit down and do the work. I would procrastinate by finding the most unnecessary tasks to do organize my hair accessories (hey, we've all been there....right?). But my first deadline was quickly approaching, and I couldn’t put things off any longer, so finally I got started. But everything I was churning out looked terrible. 

The pressure of what this project could mean for my career significantly affected my ability to start; I had total performance anxiety. Then when I finally did start, I couldn’t allow myself to just create without instantaneous judgment and critique of my work. I kept thinking to myself that this project had to be the best work I put out, it has to impress, it has to be amazing or else I’m not going to get more work, and I was going to completely embarrass myself. That level of self inflicted pressure stifled me creatively, and made me really doubt myself. I was so afraid of failing, and as a result I would judge my work so harshly that I wouldn't want to start again the next day or the next. It was so hard to just let go of those thoughts, but I had to because I wasn’t performing under that kind of pressure. It was emotionally exhausting, and the work was suffering. 

Trying to let go was a daily exercise; sometimes I succeeded and sometimes I didn’t. But over the many weeks that I worked on this, I finally realized that my first attempt at anything is probably not going to be my best. This may seem like an incredibly obvious realization, but the pressure I put on myself took all of my focus and I forgot about this very important part of the process. Exploration is essential, and it's a necessary step in improving the quality of your work. If I wasn't content with what I had done, it motivated me to create something better. This is all part of improving as a designer, and now I understand that if I don't let myself be free to explore and take risks, I'm not going to get the results I'm hoping for. 

After that epiphany, I just allowed myself to create. When I finally gave myself that freedom, I still produced version after version after version, but I had a much less frustrated response which allowed me to start having fun with this project. Despite still being terrified to put this out into the world, I had the comfort in knowing I gave this 110% of myself. Also, the amazing support and encouragement I received from my mentor, Lawrence, was no doubt what helped get me to the end. Without him, none of this would have happened, so I am incredibly grateful.