City Dog meets Creative Cloud



I feel like an escaped city dog. Like an adolescent who was given more independence than she was ready for, and is now dizzy with the possibilities, overwhelmed with the options, and frustrated with the constraints of reality that don’t enable her to do it all.

It started off innocuous enough. I was just going to re-design a logo for somebody. That’s all.

I told him that I’d do it free. I wasn’t in business anymore — my graphic design software was five versions old (I couldn’t afford to keep upgrading so dropped out the market), and with two small children now I didn’t have the availability of a professional, either. It would have been audacious to charge like one. But I don’t do ‘mates rates’. (That’s a topic that could be another post, by itself.)

I told him that the job could still be done with my outdated software, so if he was happy to work with me despite the limitations, I’d do the work free. I’d be glad for the non-baby-related preoccupation. Graphic design is something I believe I’ll always enjoy, and especially so when the alternative is washing dirty nappies and singing nursery rhymes.

Then my pro bono client, with the backing of the institution he represents, did something that made me giddy with excitement: he paid for me to have the current design programs.

I need to explain something here: That was like giving a shiny new car to a motor-head. Adobe dominates the multimedia world. They have programs for seemingly every direction of creative disciplines: photography, illustration, layout, digital publishing, website design and development, app creation, video editing, motion effects, audio editing…and others — I have no idea what some are about.

Until now, Adobe had released each program in a box. The conventional way. The old versions I had were a ‘Creative Suite’ of all the programs related to print design. As such, I knew Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign quite well, but little to nothing about anything else.

Last year Adobe changed their marketing strategy. Instead of selling individual products or topic-based Creative Suites for large one-off prices, they’d charge a monthly subscription fee for a user to have access to the ‘Creative Cloud’. To…everything.

Exciting for some. Unfortunate for others. The ‘low’ subscription fee is still too steep for a Stay-at-Home-Mum with no real reason for having it. I’m a hobbyist now, not a professional working designer with a professional income and a professional clicky pen.

But my client has enabled me, for the duration of the project, to have the tools of those who are.

At first I was hesitant to jump in. I was scared to get too attached to the power of the new programs, only to have to go back to my own hammer and chisel once this project was over. But I told myself that not jumping in to make use of the opportunity available to me was a shameful waste.

So I jumped in.

And the more I learned, the more I wanted to learn. I watched tutorial videos, read tip articles and comparison pieces, and even signed up to for some serious immersion training.

A drive and desire to learn is a good thing. (I wish I’d had it when I was actually at school.) But I find mine now without direction. There are so many ways it could go, so many things I could learn, get skilled at, even specialise in… I want to do it all!

But I don’t believe I could, even if I had no children. I’d have to be immortal, or at least have no need for sleep, ever.

I have too many things I want to do, for the time I have available to do it. I have over twelve hours of tutorial videos currently cued up at Also on my list of things for when I have spare time:

  • Organise personal photos in Lightroom (the Adobe program I’ve most recently been learning);
  • Add stock images to Lightroom in separate catalog;
  • Apply searchable metadata to stock images;
  • Learn Adobe Premier Pro and After Effects (video editing);
  • Learn Muse (website design for those who can’t code);
  • Get basic understanding of CSS coding;
  • Learn NZ Sign Language;
  • Work on Timmy’s scrapbook;
  • Work on Daniel’s scrapbook;
  • Add to;
  • Research NZ self-publishing;
  • Novel writing.

Around child-raising and household maintenance, I have about an hour a day to work with, if I’m lucky. If I can get the boys to nap at the same time. And if they haven’t already exhausted me so much beforehand that I’m napping, too. Typically, by the time they’re both in bed at the end of the day, I have no energy or brain function left for any of the things on my list.

No matter how I spend my morsels of spare time, I count the cost afterward. I think of all the ways I could have spent it, but didn’t. I may watch videos about how to format InDesign text for ePub, but then think of how much sooner I could have got going with working in Adobe Muse if I’d watched videos about that instead. With that day’s free time then over, I regret the lost opportunity.

For every one thing I do, there are at least ten I could have done instead.

That’s a lot of regret.

My excitement at the freedom to explore Adobeland has burned me out. I feel like I’ve been running around like a kid at a theme park, but now that I’ve finally slowed down from sheer exhaustion, I realise that despite all the splendour around me, all I feel is frustrated.

I’m frustrated because I can’t do everything on my list.

Because there are only 24 hours in a day.

Because I don’t know what to cull, or even if I can cull anything.

Because, for all the things I want to do with my time, being with my kids is nowhere near the list.

Because I’m just so, so, so tired…

And all I was supposed to do, was re-design a logo.


(2) Comments

  • Leanne
    08 Apr 2014



  • Rebekah
    08 Apr 2014

    This is my pain also, just not so focused to digital or print media. Wanting to learn everything! Not being able to pursue all the things that fascinate me.
    So I feel your pain… well, the “I can’t do it all” pain. Not the “I have no time around my kids” pain.
    I love you my chocolate chip.

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