I work on the news desk in Raidió na Gaeltachta and we do regional news primarily. I work in Gaoth Dobhair with a great team and they’re all so kind and so lovely and so good to me. I only started this job last summer and I’ve had a lot of other things to keep me busy, thank God; I love keeping busy, it keeps me motivated.
It started >>View Video>>
I run a small business called Mara Duit which creates greeting cards and prints in Irish. It started out with me making these small cards for friends and family and then they said, “Why don’t you expand this a bit”, so I said, “OK”.
I took the plunge, in October last year, or maybe it was November, just after Halloween I think. I started a website called maraduit.com. I sell about 22 different greeting cards and a few different prints and they’re framed. It keeps me busy when I’m not working because my work schedule’s a bit changeable so if I have a day off I’ll go in and I’ll pack some orders or I’ll design something new and it really helps as an outlet.
Mara Duit >>View Video>>
Mara Duit is ainm don chomhlacht beag atá agamsa agus cruthaím cártaí beannachta, agus priontaí, agus dearadh a chuirimse amach ag daoine atá ag iarraidh cártaí a cheannacht agus rudaí beaga deasa a chur chuig a chéile.
Go príomhiúil, is bealach atá ann domhsa mé fhéin a chur in iúil go pearsanta i mo chuid dearadh, agus tá súil agam fosta le heispéiréis dheas a thabhairt do dhuine inteacht nuar a osclaíonn siad cárta breithlá, nó cárta Nollaig nó rud ar bith eile mar sin, go bhfosclóidh siad é agus go ndeirfidh siad “Oh! Tá seo i nGaeilge, tá sé pearsanta agus smaointigh duine ormsa mar gur cainteoir Gaeilge mise agus cha deachaigh siad amach agus cárta ar bith ar chor ar bith a phiocadh. Smaointigh siad ar seo.”
Is maith liom sin a chruthú do dhaoine. Is maith liom priontaí a chruthú i nGaeilge agus sílim nuair a dhéanann tú priontaí i nGaeilge go bhfuil tú ag cruthú spás go dtig le daoine eile ealaín a dhéanamh i nGaeilge, agus go mbeidh earnáil ealaíne ann i nGaeilge má tá daoine ag iarraidh a bheith páirteach ann, agus tá fáilte mhór roimh dhuine ar bith atá ag iarraidh rud ar bith mar seo a dhéanamh, agus tá achan duine chomh tacúil agus chomh deas nuair a thosaíonn tú ar ealaín i nGaeilge.
Tá fanbase iomlán agat trí mheán na Gaeilge nuair a thosaíonn tú ar an idirlíon, ná ar na meáin shóisialta, nó rud ar bith. Tá daoine ann a deir “Seo duine eile ag déanamh rud inteacht i nGaeilge, tacóidh muid leo!” agus srl. Mar sin is rud inteacht iontach pearsanta atá ann domhsa, cé gur comhlacht atá ann a chruthaigh mé, is cineál mo bhabaí beag atá’nn. Coinníonn sé ag gabháil mé”
I also do shortform video pieces for Cula4 ar Scoil so that helps me when I’m not doing the news thing. Then when I don’t want to do the news thing or the video editing thing, I go and I do the drawing thing. So I hop between these three aspects of my life in terms of freelance production.
Sometimes I think I’m mad because of the amount of stuff I take on, I have a serious problem saying no because I feel like I’m capable of doing all these things at once but sometimes I have to say, “You can’t, you don’t have enough time to do all these things.”
Discipline >>View Video>>
My college course was fantastic and the lecturers were amazing in DIT; they were incredibly supportive, but I think a lot of times with an art degree, you feel like you’re being pressured to create all the time and trying to discipline yourself into creating something so specific everytime when you’re just not feeling it, is so difficult. I think that was the biggest challenge for me and I still struggle with trying to get things done or trying to think of things in a certain amount of time. I think that’s why I keep so busy.
I think I try to fill every hour of my day with different tasks so I have to be like, “Well I have to get this done by Friday because on Saturday I’m doing that thing, and then on Sunday that’s when it’s due”, so if I cut my life up into these little chunks then maybe I can deal with this and try and stay creative, like “OK this is urgent – I work well under pressure I’m gonna get this done”. And while that is a sort of coping mechanism that I developed in college, it’s probably not particularly healthy and I have started to recognise that.
I think over Christmas I had a small break and I realised that, God I really needed this. Now that I’m back working I can see myself slipping into that cycle of, “Yeah I can do that, that’s no bother, I can do that” and I love it but it takes a toll so I have to look after myself as well. That’s a balance that I’m still struggling with and trying to get over.
Sheet of paper >>View Video>>
One thing that I’ve started doing in the last few months and I think it really helps is sometimes when you get that crushing feeling of, there’s way too much to do, I just want to curl up into a ball and sit in a corner and cry and maybe I’ll deal with it tomorrow. When you get to that stage, it really helps me to just write every single thing that’s going on in your brain, down on a sheet of paper: every task, every thought, everyone you have to call or text or every email you have to send, just get it all down there. Once you see it on paper it’s never as much as you think it is but when it’s floating around you can’t pin it down; you have this stress building up in the back of your mind that you’re gonna miss a deadline or that you’re not gonna remember to call that person back.
It really helps if you have it all on paper so then I look at it and think, “OK, what takes less than 3 minutes, less than 5 minutes?”, and I order them in terms of what I can get done right now, i.e. the person that you’ve been meaning to write back to or that call you’re meant to take. Once it’s done, it’s a thing you’ve ticked off your list so that really helps. Prioritising has been a struggle for me for the last few years so this has really helped with that and I feel like it’s a practice, that if everyone did it, we would all get on so much better.
People will understand >>View Video>>
Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you’re struggling. If you think, “Oh I have to get this done, I have to launch by this date”, people will understand if you say, “Look it’s taking longer than I imagined it would”. People are inherently good and they’re inherently kind and they’ll want to help you and if they see that you’re struggling, hopefully they’ll help.
I can’t count the amount of times that I’ve had my family putting cards into little bags so I can send them away to someone when I’ve had a busy stretch, and friends that have come over and worn masks and helped me wrap frames and things. I think the best thing is having a support network and having a plan.
Where life takes me
I filmed a kids’ TV show with Fíbín the production company last July and that’s hopefully coming out near the start of this year. It’s about sustainability and the environment so I’m really excited to see what became of those two mad weeks we spent filming in Galway in the summer.
I have some new prints and cards coming out which I’m really excited about in February.
With work, I’m really excited to keep going and see where radio and the news takes me. I love the fast pace of radio, I love how you can have an idea one minute and it can be on the air the next. I love how fast that is and how creative that is. Hopefully I can stay there a little bit longer. We’ll see after that.
Maybe in the future I’d like to go away somewhere for a bit and work somewhere else. Really I’m just looking forward to seeing where life takes me.
Remember, if you’re a member of the Irish creative industry, you can talk to a counsellor free of charge at any time of the day or night. Simply call the phone number below.