Being autistic, my mind will sometimes fixate on an idea. In rare cases, my mind can focus on an idea for several hours, but usually it’s only for an hour or two at a time (I realize that’s still intense, but that’s how I work).
So it’s very important to me that the ideas I DO fixate on are positive ones. Because if I allow myself to get upset about something (like Trump, or my neighbors, or the legendarily bad D&D player from my comic shop known as “Doc”), my mind will be stuck on it for three or four hours at a time and completely ruin whatever momentum I have going on outside of me.
So whenever I find I need to calm down and find something else for my mind to cling to, I think of my two mantras.
I only have two. Some people may have one, or several, but two is all I need. I often only need to say one of them, depending on what’s happening. They are…
I have had many difficulties. Most of them have never happened.
One at a time.
I realize these aren’t in Sanskrit, but they’re still effective for me.
I have been working my butt off the last two weeks, and it’s not on comics.
While I’ve been taking this month off making comics, I’ve been working two part time jobs and making commissions for folks. And while it’s good to keep busy, it’s starting to take a toll.
All of this extra work is making me wonder,
“What can I do next year to go a little easier on myself?”
I admit, many of my goals for next year are work-related, and deal with making more comics, more books, more blog posts, more, more, more.
Part of that is my brain rationalizing that making more, better work will improve my art, thereby giving me more pieces for my portfolios, therefore more pieces to show off to people to say, “Look what I can do now give me work please!”
But where do you put the cap?
I’m hesitant to leave the day job I have currently because the alternative – freelancing full-time – is something I tried last year when I lived in Arizona. It didn’t really work. It’s one of the big reasons that I moved back to Ohio.
While freelancing seems to make more sense in the Midwest, where the cost of living is easier to manage, I’m still hesitant to switch to full-time freelancing because it’s a LOT of work.
The nice thing about my day job is it gets me out of the house; plus, a steady income stream is not a bad thing, either. It’s draining sometimes, yes – especially now that it’s the few days before Christmas –
Completely tangential paragraph: everyone says Black Friday is the day people shop the most but that is FALSE. This is a nation of procrastinators. The biggest shopping days of the year are the weekend before Christmas, and Christmas Eve. Bunch of Liar McCheaterTrousers.
Anyway, day jobs are nice and all, but it would be nice to make a living full-time on my art. My goal next year is to be able to leave my day job and just make art. But that implies freelancing full-time. I don’t know if I’m ready for that again.
The thing that weighs heavy on my head right now is the answer to the question, “How do I decide what’s worth pursuing for making a living on my art?”
Most art blogs I’ve come across don’t talk about how to tackle that question. All they do is talk about inspiration and works-in-progress and other artists.
They don’t talk numbers. They don’t talk business.
I took business classes in college. My parents owned a small business. I think about working independently and earning financial success A LOT.
So how do I decide what to pursue to grow my business – of making art?
I don’t know how to answer that question. At least not yet.
I have a few ideas.
And a beautifully hilarious notepad from Knock Knock I got when I stopped for a day trip in Ann Arbor with a college buddy. It’s called “Make a Decision.”
I get the feeling I’ll be using this little device an awful lot in the coming weeks.
If you have any ideas or advice for me, I would love to read them in the comments below. At this point I would love to hear outside opinions and experiences.
Thank you for reading, and I’ll see you again on Friday, the day after Christmas.