How to Thrive During Minted’s Holiday Challenge Season

We’ve heard from Minted artists that some of you are a little stressed right now, because we’re in the thick of Minted’s annual holiday design challenge season. To provide insights about staying cool, calm, and creatively collected, the best sources of advice often come from leaders in the community. Here, Minted artists Amy Ehmann of Design Lotus and Lea Delaveris answer this question: What’s your best advice for avoiding burnout and staying motivated, especially during the holiday design challenge season?

Amy Ehmann
Denver, Colorado
Design Lotus Minted Artist Store

Pray before I work. I once read an interview where Megan Gonzalez of Mae Mae & Co. said this is her motto: “People Before Paper. Prayer Before Productivity.” It stuck with me. So I try to pray before each workday that I would do my very best to honor God with my work and time.

Participate in community. I’ve been participating in the Minted holiday challenges since 2008. There were years when I was very heavily involved in community and years where I was not. I’ve found that I do better the years when I am involved and active in the community. I think the process is much more enjoyable and the real-time feedback is invaluable. It’s like having a team of design experts eager to help you grow and improve.

Try something new. It’s easy to get bored if you’re doing the same thing over and over again. I’m a creature of habit, and many of you probably see my work as nothing groundbreaking. For me, “new” may be using a new font, trying a new technique, or learning a new software. I am trying really hard to stick to my brand and style, and that is new for me…

Keep my eye on the prize. I try my very best to block out time for the Minted holiday challenge each year. This is my bread and butter, so I need to give it as much undivided attention as I can, without neglecting my family too much. I am blessed to have a husband who is incredibly supportive and not only helps pick up my slack, but reminds me to keep focused.

Perfect Harmony” foil-pressed wedding invitation by Design Lotus

My perspective on winning has changed a lot through the years. It may sound weird, but I don’t design to “win” anymore. My main objective is to design for editor’s picks. I want to design things that Minted wants and needs. The early years when I tried to design for the top spots, I felt really stressed out, and when I didn’t win, I was utterly heartbroken, and then the green-eyed monster would rear its ugly face. Ugh! I didn’t want to be in that place ever again. Now I try to play to my strengths and work smarter rather than harder. Honestly, because I have to, y’all. I’m feeling old!

Mountain Retreat” wedding invitation by Design Lotus

Lea Delaveris
Columbus, Ohio
Lea Delaveris Minted Artist Store

I remind myself to HAVE FUN! If I hit the point where working on holiday cards feels like a chore, I walk away—for a minute, an hour, a day—until something hits that makes me want to be back at my desk instead of feeling like I have to be there. It’s easy to get caught up in the pressure and hit unproductive panic mode. Last year was the first year I put real effort into holiday submissions—I went into it super chill with low expectations and just tried to enjoy it. I am trying my best to stay in that mode this year, too—relax, enjoy the process, and let that come through in what I create.

Retro Worded Tree” Christmas Photo Card by Lea Delaveris

Sometimes that means switching gears by turning to a fresh page in the sketchbook or opening up a blank Illustrator template. The chaos of the page you just had open is set aside and there’s a blank slate. And sometimes it means not touching my computer for a few days—but always with a sketchbook within reach—and coming back with a fresh set of eyes.

Dreaming of a Liked Christmas” holiday photo card by Lea Delaveris

6 Tips For Success In Minted Challenges

Published April 14, 2016 

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