Sen Mendiola

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My online journal filled with random musings on motherhood, life and my creative journey as an artist.

My 2018: Bravely Creative

Happy New Year!!! How’s your first week of 2019 so far? Me? Slowly working my brain to accept that holiday is over and we’re back to our daily grind a.k.a. day job. Don’t get me wrong! I *still* love my day job and the benefits that comes with it.   

But, we’re not here to talk about my day job! As the new pages unfold and before the busyness kickoff, I’d love to share with you a glimpse of my 2018 - my year of “BRAVE” in my creative world. 

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If you’re wondering how come it was my year of brave, here’s a bit of back story: 

I started, no - rekindled rather, my love affair with calligraphy and art last 2016. I wanted to do something for myself so I finally threw out my excuses and committed to “MAKE IT HAPPEN”. And so I did. I started researching, studying and learning pointed-pen calligraphy on my own. Then, later on I attended 2-3 in-person workshops and just practiced intentionally. I made progress and intentionally committed myself to my craft - yey!

The following year, 2017, an idea was lurking that maybe I can try getting commissions with my creative skill. I was inspired yet pressured at the same time by social media (eeek, I know!). But then, I made an effort to step back and evaluated my craft. I felt it could be painful and hurtful, but awfully necessary. My skill level was okay at this point, but it’s not yet in the level that I can or would like to pitch to a prospective client. And so 2017 is my year of “PATIENCE”. My time to push harder, aim for more progress and find my own groove. And early on, being patient paid off. You can read more about it in my previous blog post, here.

Enter 2018, my year of “BRAVE” (cue confetti and fireworks haha). It was the year to be bravely creative: my first step to really put out myself and work out there. Let me do a recap!

Just Do It!

In January a colleague asked if I’m accepting commissions. Nervously I responded, “Yes! Just recently actually.” I still find it funny but yes, I thought it’s now or never. Just. Do. It. Simply because I don’t want to deal with what-if’s. 

And the best part is, I was able to test my client process. Another plus: I was given creative freedom and compensation! No haggles! I felt so respected as an artist. Oh, the work is to write her word of the year: focus. I delivered with extra  flourishing, of course!

Protect my work, sanity and job as an artist  

I took advantage of the time off I got from work to draft my calligraphy service contract. Yes, I created one even before I publicly offer my services. It is not an artistic work but it is super important not just for me but also for my craft. The last thing I want is to be stressed out on anything that I can prevent early on.

Claim My Space

I wanted a platform that I have full control and freedom. A safe place where I can put my work and thoughts, for the world to see. And so I finally bought my own domain and website!!!

I worked on it for a month and launched my site on May 8! (Maybe I will share the details on a separate blog post…) I was so proud of myself!!! It was just a dream, a wish list and now I’m online for almost a year!

As you already know, dreams do come true. BUT only if you do your part and put your heart on it.

Start Writing Again

I love writing! It is one of my ways to destress my mind. When I was younger, I wrote stories and poems whenever I had a chance. Sadly, I was too caught up and I forgot about it.

While setting up my website, I intentionally wrote my first digital journal. And then another one until I realized I was blogging not just for myself, but also for moms and calligraphy community! It felt so good to be able to write again!

Sharing my first blog post was kinda scary. Like I worried for a moment, “what will people say? will at least one person read it, aside from my husband?” Well, instantly I snapped back and hit publish, haha! I reminded myself of my WHY.

And so I continued to write. Intentionally and with a purpose. Quality over quantity. Embracing the slow blogging.

Create More

I started drawing again, created tons of calligraphy works, and sample pieces of what I love to offer to a client.

While working quietly behind the scene, I was also visualizing the type of client I want to work with. Also, the creatives with aesthetics that I adore like MangoRed and Wild Reverie.   

The Finale

Come November, a bride messaged me asking if I can work on a stationery suite for their photoshoot. I was thrilled but hesitated for a moment (self-doubt anyone?). And so I asked my husband if I should take it. And his very confident “WHY NOT?!” sealed the deal!

This project was really close to my heart for so many reasons. First, the couple was so nice to work with because they are collaborative and trusted my direction (and the list could go on but I’ll stop here).

Secondly, a simple stationery suite inquiry became a handmade paper + wax seals + calligraphy heaven dream job! 

And lastly, I got to work with Wild Reverie for the couple’s wedding place cards, and my work was shot by MangoRed!!! How awesome right?! 


Whew! And that’s how my 2018 went. One action lead to another. I decided to take a plunge and be courageous on this creative endeavor.  

I have a fair share of doubts. But I learned that you have to face it then work your way pass through it.

Take risk. Start again. Move forward.