Art Anxieties and Other Adventures

Hello dear readers.

I hope today finds you well.

I am coming to you live from my new art making nook:

wri
Newly dedicated writing and arting space. Also fuzzy.

I keep trying to figure out how to convince my heater that warm does not mean melting all the clocks in the house with epic heat and that likewise cold that stops time dead is not appreciated. These extremes should not be the only settings available, but my heater is unaware of this fact.

Even though it’s not going very well with the heater, other things are going VERY well for me, some for the first time in a long time:

  • Goth Gal is almost a year old and no one has threatened me to stop making comics or face the fish of pain.
  • Goth Gal is now on Tapastic and will hopefully be seen (and liked) by more!
  • My novel is almost two years old–still in first draft editing mode because life interrupted my plans.
  • I have a brand new freaking awesome professional art board to create stuff with thanks to donations from patrons at Patreon and GoFundMe.
  • I just sold my two paintings for the first time to a non-friend/non-family person.
  • And I was just promoted in my part time job to a much higher position.

Things are going well.

So why am I paralyzingly worried?

I should be dancing on the moon in a full on conga line with some little green (or gray) men (or women) right about now. Instead I find myself worrying that I will now not have time for art.

This may sound selfish to some. I know there are plenty who can’t get a job, let alone get promoted in a position that lets them work from home in their pajamas. This is the college dream–well this is someone’s college dream anyway. I saw enough pajama pants on campus to know that. Still, please don’t get the wrong idea: I am so overwhelmingly grateful and excited that I don’t know quite what to feel…but I am also downright terrified.

Why, you may ask?

My first thought after the excitement of the offer fizzled down was what if I don’t have time for art?! I then readily followed a bunny trail of thoughts down a dark road that involved my dreams being locked away in drawers as I was forced to deal with the practical things of life until I died of old age or alien invasion–whichever comes first.

 

now-im-a-superhero
Not my art. Anxiety Girl belongs to Natalie Dee (as far as I can tell).

 

In my epic level disaster scenario (which oddly does not include zombies at all), I age rapidly while my dreams abandon the obviously failed artistic writer person in search of sunnier shores (read people who make money off of their art and don’t have to work a non-art job). Right about now is when my more logical side started giving me the Ben Franklin stare-of-discomfort ™:

960
This is the face of a man who has seen things, or had his parking space stolen–hard to say.

My logical side knows all sorts of stories about all sorts of people who made it while doing a normal person job but it also knows stories of those who had everything going for them and somehow did not make it. (That latter part was really unhelpful logical side!) The one helpful thing my logical side did point out (before I stuffed it back in its cage) is that dreams are not in fact separate entities, so they can’t technically run away.

So, how am I managing this unhelpful fear of change/life/dreams/art?

Up until now, I’ve been working major overtime at work, helping other people with various things, hanging out with friends when possible (I’m so sorry Blanka–I totally forgot until yesterday and I really did have a message sitting in “send”. I WAS NOT FLAKING ON YOU!), and doing all the other things people have to do in life to stay alive.

All of that really needs to change.

The new position means I don’t need to work overtime. Being that I’ve been working almost 80 hours a week for several months and doing Goth Gal and doing all the other stuff, this is a HUGE relief (I began this job as a part time job…life had other ideas). However, a leadership position means more time in other ways. Plus, even without overtime, it is still hard to work a job and create art. And for me it may be harder than for most because I have some remnants from my major health issues of last year that I am still battling. I will be taking some health steps soon in an attempt to cleanse all of that–but that’s another post for another day.

So, to fix my quandary, and make sure my dreams are fed and watered properly, I am setting up some boundaries!

Yay–wait what?

I know, it sounds kind of boring, and vaguely like an adult thing… and even maybe not inclusive. Really though it’s more like YAY! because it is inclusive and I am totally NOT adulting.

Really.

So boundaries, how can they help?

Well Tim, boundary inc. guarantees that as long as you enforce their patented boundary technology, you will be able to decide things and mostly stick to those decisions.

Subject to terms and conditions, special offers do not apply, not applicable in the case of natural disasters or health issues.

Or, in other words, I’m blocking off specific days and times for art. I’m also overhauling my schedule completely. I will do art in time slots before work because that is the only way I can really stick with this. Different strategies will work for different people, but this is what it has to be for me. Nothing but art will fill these specific slots because I will guard them like a rabid hyena. That’s my job. In return for providing them some dedicated time, the dreams with stick around with me as long as I feed them.

Which is why I am sitting here typing this at 6am…my eyes hurt.

Normally, I don’t get into work until noon. This means I’m up all night then get up and go to work. Unfortunately this also means that by the time I get to me time, or art time, or writing time, I am tired and I don’t have much drive left to push myself with. So, I end up giving myself permission to take off JUST THIS ONCE. Which of course becomes JUST ABOUT EVERY TIME.

So, from now on, I get up in the wee hours of the morning and I get to arting and writing and my million and one projects that are always flowing through my head screaming PICK ME!!!!! This is also why I made the new nook. I need a space my brain doesn’t associate with my normal job that is easy to get to when I’m bleary eyed. (Right now I am convinced coffee is nature’s superpower). I have also dedicated my weekends to creating deadline specific art so that I am not overwhelmed during the week with it. And I am going to take at least 30 minutes to write every single day. Arting needs to be as much a priority in my life as eating, sleeping and working for my paycheck.

No art can be created without TIME; it is one of the most important ingredients. Many of us (I am looking at you here dear readers) beat ourselves up about our imperfect art. Yet usually we are stealing moments in between other moments to be able to make the stuff in the first place. So in essence you and I are creating time in between the ticks of the clock. That’s magic as far as I am concerned.

Getting off of a full time job and working on your novel even though you are worn out is MAGIC. Painting even though you are going to school and working a part time job is MAGIC. Making videos and uploading them to Youtube even though you have crippling anxiety is MAGIC.

YOU ARE MAGIC!

Ongoing art making is nothing short of heroic. Ongoing art making when you have a million things vying for your time and you have to provide for your family is nothing short of miraculous. So good job to those of you making it despite the odds. To those of you making art in the wee hours of the night because you have to be somewhere in the early hours of the morning: I salute you and admire you, even though we might never meet. You are amazing people.

And to those of you who want to make art, but keep waiting because you are busy or tired or worried, it’s ok. Start small right this very minute. Try to take as little as 15 minutes each day to spend on art. You don’t need fancy tools–any pen and paper will do. My novel started out as random snippets doodled in notebooks and grew from there. Eventually you will find that what art gives back to you is greater than what you put into it. Don’t wait for life to give you the time, because there will always be a more practical thing waiting to fill it. You must take the time you need, life will not give it to you. The struggle is worth it. Somewhere, someone desperately needs your art.

Imagine a world where David Bowie didn’t try because he didn’t believe he was good enough. Even as we grieve his loss, we see his huge impact on the world. If he can do it, you can do it. If you aren’t sure this art thing that you want to try is really what you want, experiment. Art is everywhere if you are looking for it. You can try 50 different art forms until you find one that clicks with you. You don’t have to go all in at once. Work on little dreams. If you take some time out to care for your little dreams it gives them the chance to grow into big dreams.

Take time.

Make art.

Live.

Until later my dear readers. ❤

 

 

Stormy Seas and Story Skies

Bonjour!

I hope things are going well for you this chilly morning.

I have not abandoned this blog; I have been working on a ton of projects recently. While I don’t mean the literal 1,000 lbs that “a ton” implies, it seems awfully close to it at times.

I have not been working on the novel for a few months now. This is mostly due to my intensely judgmental views of my own work. I tend to write a chapter, then rip it apart, then rewrite the same chapter and repeat. Pretty easy to fall into a depressing malaise if you keep that up for long. I intend to break this malaise starting today. Time to move that plot along with a barbaric YAWP! (Internet high five if you got the reference!)

Yesterday I felt stupid. I did not feel stupid for any sane, rational or even logical reason. I felt stupid because I had created a patreon for one of my projects. See, I decided that the low traffic on the website of said month-old project meant that it didn’t deserve a patreon, or some nonsense like that.

(rant: I’m not mentioning which project, patreon links, etc. because I am really trying not to beat people over the head with this. This is a journal designed to communicate with the world, not advertise. /end rant)

It took a friend pointing out the logic fail inherent in this thought pattern before I could see it clearly. She said something along the lines of “Well if you don’t put it out there, no one can decide if they like it or not…”. I am butchering her words (sorry dear!), but the idea is there.  It is at this point that I realized this was my self doubt rearing its multifaceted head. My brain immediately travelled in two different directions with this newfound knowledge:

The path of art doubt:

I have always doubted that my art is “good enough”. Always. It’s like the awful feeling that stress testers get right before an exam, except it revolves around your child..er, I mean art. (Yes, my arts are my children.) Don’t ask me who could deem my art worthy. As far as I know there is no benevolent art deity who can give my art the high holy seal of art approval. Even as I sit writing this I have to fight not to give it up as a bad job.

Yet fight I do. I MUST create art. My writing, my drawings, my fashions, my crafts, my single attempt at a floral arrangement, they all come from a need to create. It is this need that keeps me pushing despite the glacier of self doubt that I keep bumping into. I think in some ways all this critical thinking helps the art be better than it might otherwise be, but in other ways it can choke the life out of the thing.

All things in balance.

The path of people doubt:

At the time of writing I have a total of 9 twitter followers. I think there are animals on twitter with higher numbers okay. I really am not good at being social in real life, so it comes as no great shock that I’m not very good at it online. This number has risen to as many as 15 before, but those were the people who click follow so you’ll follow them back. I do NOT do this. I in fact am vehemently against this. To me this defeats the point of twitter, social media etc: connecting with what you actually CONNECT with. If you want to boost your numbers just to boost your numbers, don’t waste your time with me. I don’t play that game. I follow people or companies (or animals) that I genuinely find interesting, or inspiring, or a hundred other ing words.

This disturbing “numbers are all” trend is the same across instagram, tumblr, facebook, google+ and any other social media. This is why spam accounts have become an epidemic on such platforms. When you take the element of connection out of anything with the word social in it, you kill it. What was organic and alive and evolving has become an empty vacuous thing that nobody recognizes anymore.

All of the lovely artists (By artist, I mean anybody who creates anything.) making it and connecting with their fans and creating art is WONDERFUL. I love this stuff. I love that I am able to keep up day to day with people who inspire me, awe me or are just freaking epic. Sadly, it also makes the critic in me compare my own serious lack of connection with those who are killing it. It does not make me jealous that they are successful, it makes me criticize everything I have ever made. Silly right? Recently, I make sure to remind myself that at one point in time everyone who has ever made it (however they, you or anyone else defines “making it”) was an unknown person swimming in the sea of humanity. They failed, they fought, they made art and eventually, after much effort, it worked out.

Most importantly, as a lovely little fish so famously said, they kept swimming.

So keep swimming!

Until next time, dear readers.

Thanks for reading! <(~_~)>

___________________________________________________________________

PS – Also, Goth Gal is a comic that I have been creating for a while in my spare time, but it has only recently been released to the internet. If you like what you see here, please go check her out at gothgal.net

GG
Hey. I’m Goth Gal.

___________________________________________________________________

PPS – Here is an inspirational wallpaper I made a little while ago to inspire more writing (click the image to see the large version):

Dory writing
Dory is AWESOME. I love Disney.