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. ❤

 

 

Stories and Structures

Bonsoir.

Apparently, I have a thing for alliteration. I always have. I’ve heard that the magical laws of writing say not to use alliteration. I can see how that would apply to writing things of a more serious tone. Can you imagine an alliterated obituary? It would be like the writer was making fun of the deceased.

Doctor Diles died today due to a dubious dental detriment.

See what I mean? Horrible. For blog post titles, I think it works okay.

Today’s musing concerns  structure–something I traditionally struggle with. I suspect a lot of artists have this same trouble, but I think the media tends to exaggerate it. For me, my sleep patterns are fairly sensitive. If something screws them up, it takes me forever to fix them. Currently I am attempting a 16 hour fast from food reset again (see here for more info on that, how it works and why it works). I did it once before and it worked like a charm. Here’s hoping it works this time.

I have been an insomniac ever since I was a baby, so it really is very difficult for me to break this mold. When things mess with my sleep cycle, it returns to this natural comfort zone and I can’t sleep until well after dawn. I am only realizing why this happens as I sit here typing it out for you. Funny how the brain works. In any case, I need to be awake with the majority of people for many reasons, so I’m working towards that. I’ll let you know next week if it worked ,or if I have to find more extreme measures.

In case you’re wondering, sleep substances don’t work for me. I tend to become hyperactive on them and end up pinging off the walls until several days have passed and my body crashes due to extreme exhaustion. Not fun.

I also need to be able to work on The Novel if I am to be that world famous writer person I wrote about in my future diary. Structure is very important to this process. I think structure can be a cage for you or it can be scaffolding to help hold you up, it’s all up to how you use it.

Traditionally, structure imposed by others has been a cage for me. It wasn’t until I was no longer employed in a traditional way that I realized how set life is for most people. We are forced into structures for school that accommodate adult work structures that are based on antiquated farming practices. Second and Third shift workers’ schedules are different, but are ultimately determined by this same old system. We really need to update as a society, but I don’t see that happening as long as businesses run things.

I realized that for the first time in my life, I am the only one setting the structure. That’s not to say other people don’t effect and influence my structure, but I am entirely in charge of when I do things. Incredibly empowering, but also daunting. It’s all down to me if I screw it up too.

Presently, I am trying my hand at freelance. I don’t have much experience doing this type of work, but I am excited for the opportunity to try my hand at it. I suppose we will see how that works out. Hopefully I will be a rip roaring success. (Yes, I am still fighting my natural tendency towards doubting any hope.)

I would also love to try my hand as a voice actor, but so far it seems like that is as difficult to break in as normal acting and you have to live in busier cities. I suppose further research is needed on this one.

In other news, I cannot write in watches.

Every time I try my wrist pitches an epic level temper tantrum and refuses to comply until the offending accessory is removed. I typically have a polar wearable on my wrist to track my sleep patterns and activity level. It is very good at tracking sleep patterns, but not that great at tracking non step related activities, like yoga. If you bike or run, it does an acceptable job. I might upgrade eventually,  or just wait until it dies and give up on wearables entirely.

Well, it is time for me to dash. Thanks for reading. Keep hoping my dear non-hoper readers. Keep making art. We can do this.

PS – Another mini-series is coming in Goth Gal. Here is a wallpaper for you of my Goth Gal parody of Orphan Black. Click on it to see/download the full size.

Goth On.
Goth On.

Bright Ideas and Long Shadows

Hello. Me again.

I have been writing and painting A LOT recently. I am still not meeting my target goals consistently every day for writing, but I like to think I am getting closer to that goal.  I keep reminding myself that every single word I write moves me closer to the finish, whether I meet the target for the day or not.

In other news, I now have a new writing chair. My old forlorn chair (which you may recall from before) finally snapped one day. He will be remembered as the best chair ever. He was over 20 years old. The new chair is remarkably similar to the old one. The patterns are very different, but the construction is almost identical:

Rest in Pieces
Rest in Pieces
It's alive, aliiiiive!
It’s alive, aliiiiive!

Not bad for chairs purchased decades apart, eh? I had to do tons of looking to find a fabric chair of similar quality and build. Most of them are that awful mesh, or worse, leather. Yay for amazon!

I have recently been on a “house of horrors” kick. By this I mean the old films that centered on hidden horrors in old decaying mansions.  These films are often in black and white and full of atmosphere. The most recent addition to my collection is The House of the Long Shadows starring four of the great horror actors: Vincent Price, Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing and John Carradine. I love it as if I had seen it during my midnight wanderings when i was young.

As a child, I used to stay up late then sneak downstairs to a t.v. we had in the basement. I would watch Tales from the Crypt and Big Chuck & Little John. There were times I would be up until dawn then sneak back to bed only to have to get back up in a couple hours for school–no wonder I’m such an insomniac now!

It may seem strange to you that I am seeking such things in the middle of the warmer months (at least for us Northern Hemisphere-ers), but it isn’t really. In Japan, Summer is their season for ghost stories and the like: Ghosts in Japan. I always say East met West and I am their child, I guess it’s more accurate than I realized.

I leave you with thoughts of unnaturally cold creaking manors full of dark rooms, death and delightful depths to be delved.

Summer Sounds

Summer
Summer

Hello again. The smells and sounds of Summer are in the air and I am back into the swing of writing. It feels good to have taken a step back from the manuscript to let things air out a bit. I knew I was ready to return when I began inventing characters on my way home one day. I have moved beyond the chapter that was holding me up and I feel confident that I can complete it by my deadline of July 31st. This is a personal deadline of course as I have no publisher just yet. I would love for Harper Collins to publish me, but I know how tricky these things can be.

For now, I shall continue working on my dream until its polished, pretty and ready to be presented.  We’ll see what happens from there. May your dreams come true!

PS – Also, apparently, I posted my 12th post on the 12th of May. 🙂

Writing, Writing Everywhere

Write All Over
Write All Over

Hello Again!

Sorry for the long interval between posts. I was forced to pause my writing to deal with some things. Life has been insane lately. Far too much turmoil over silly things. All that is sorted now however and I am back to writing regularly. I am currently working on a TON of background info, most of which will never make it into print, but it is helpful for me. I now must dash, but I wanted to at least ping everyone.

Until next time.

One Day More

The Write Way
The Write Way

Hi, it’s me again.

Today is the last day of my media fast.

I am not as excited as I thought I would be when I started. I am still trying to determine how to work things out in the future so that media is never again as overreaching in my life as it was before this. I suppose you could equate it to a diet ending. You can’t go back to eating all the same foods like you did before, or the diet will be useless.

In other news, I am approximately 1/4 of the way done with the novel. The past two days have been slow writing days due to some family trouble, but, I have been pondering things in my head. I hope to finish at least another chapter today, providing circumstance doesn’t interfere again.

In the end, I think the time away from all things entertainment was very helpful. It helped me adjust my focus and get down to the business of writing. If I find myself slipping into the rut again, I can always go on another media fast–after I see Meet the Robinsons that is. I now shall return to the work and hope this finds you in good spirits.

PS – I think the forlorn chair has forgiven me now that I’m using it part of the time. At the very least, it hasn’t kicked me out of it. I shall have to post a picture one of these days.