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Preorder Emily's book now! There Is No Good Card For This: What to Say and Do When Life Is Scary, Awful and Unfair to People You Love is coming in January.

Things & Stuff

The Blog of Emily McDowell Studio

Thoughts on the old year, and the new year.

Since about 2005, I've been doing this thing where at the end of December, I look back through my email/facebook posts/spotty memory and write down all the significant things that happened during the course of the year. It helps me have a better grip on time's passing and a better understanding of exactly what it is I'm doing with my life, and it usually helps me see that I'm actually less lazy than I sometimes fear that I am. So I did that tonight. And it turns out 2012 was pretty monumental. A year ago, I'd just opened an etsy shop and was tentatively calling myself an illustrator in a very quiet voice, although I was much more comfortable with the phrase "Sometimes I draw things." As I write this, I'm sitting here on Hour 7 of feeding paper into my Epson, printing orders for my 3-day feature sale on That doesn't mean I'm sitting at the top of some gigantic illustration empire or anything - far from it. I'm still in my beginning! An illustration baby! But something significant happened for me this year, in addition to working my ass off. At some point -- I can't say when -- I experienced a shift in my story. You know: the story each of us tells ourselves about who we are, what we're about, and what we can do. For a long time, I referred to the story as "reality." But now I'm not so sure. The story is changing, because I am changing it. My motto for 2013 is "Surrender and show up." (I'm sure it'll make it onto a print at some point, if for no other reason than I want to look at it every day.) I have big goals and dreams for next year, but at the heart of them are those two things. Surrender to the person I really am, to the plans the universe has for me, to the knowledge that everything will be OK. Show up authentically and honestly for myself and for others; show up because nothing happens unless I get off my ass and do it. I made business cards today. They list my position as "illustrator, designer, truth-teller." I look forward to living up to them in 2013.

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