Explore the Blog

This is where I share occasional musings on all things type, design, and business.
Hi, I’m Jen Wagner

If anyone asked me to point to a time in my life that “made my career”, it wouldn’t have been the hours spent learning to design type, or going to school, or attending a big conference or mastermind.

There was a time in our early twenties when my husband and I were both working 50-60 hours a week at jobs that felt fulfilling, but to some degree forced us to put our creative pursuits on pause.

At least, that’s what we thought.

After some intense conversations about the life we wanted to build, we decided we needed to prioritize our creative pursuits (music for him, design for me) so that we could, eventually, build something that allowed us to leave our jobs and pursue it full-time.

The problem? Our job situation couldn’t change. So we had to.

For about six months, we got up at 5am, drank our coffee, and by 6am were sitting down at our desks working only on what we wanted to work on. We’d spend 6-9am on our own creativity, clock into our other jobs at 9am, and work until 9pm most nights. This was when I started diving into the world of calligraphy, and when he made his first full-length album.

Truthfully, it was the launching point of both of our careers and is why we’re where we are now, 9 years later.

Calligraphy led me to online courses and selling prints, which landed me my first book deal, all of which was the pathway to diving into typography and exploring type design and knowing how to run that business effectively.

Aaron now has written and produced his first global number one and gold record, and has worked beside and had songs on hold with some of the biggest names in the industry.

And we’d both say it’s because we made space for our creativity, despite “not having time.”

The hard truth is: you actually do have time (and cases where this isn’t true are remarkably rare; so if you’re reading this, you’re probably not the exception).

The likelihood is that if you’re not fully self-employed yet, you’ll need to keep your current job while you build something new. Or you’ll need to wake up before your kids because trying to be productive after bedtime can feel impossible. Guess what? So did most people who’ve turned their creativity into a career.

So let’s do an experiment. Try putting the phrase, “I don’t have time” on the shelf for a minute and ask yourself where you can make the time. Even if it’s 15 minutes at a time in the morning, or a couple hours on the weekends.

Dripping water, over time, will carve away stone. There are entire typefaces I’ve made an hour at a time while I manage other aspects of the business and life. Sometimes small, consistent action is actually the mightiest course.

If you don’t have time, you’re not going to find it – you have to make it. 

Wake up early, get off your phone (if you want to really see how much time you actually have, look at your daily screen time stats). Stop waiting to find time and start making time for the work, one drip at a time.

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