Overwhelmed (As Usual)

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My “Day Job” such as it is, is pretty regular freelance work designing lapel pins and medals for Little League teams, Soccer Clubs, and Marathons. I bring this up, because I bought this account when I left my first studio job to be a full-time freelancer and stay-at-home dad. I was thinking about this last night, and realized that I’ve been a working professional for eleven years now, and a freelancer for almost seven of them. And I still don’t feel like I know what I’m doing.
I started the year off with three resolutions:
  • Instead of saying “I couldn’t”, I would say “I didn’t”. This was a personal call to not make excuses, and to examine what was actually going on and adjust to meet problems.
  • Instead of saying “I’m gonna”, I’ll say “I’m working on”. I was recognizing a tendency to dream big without planning and following through.
  • Instead of saying “I’m afraid to try”, I’ll plan to succeed. Facing the things that scare or overwhelm me is the most productive way to move forward. What’s the worst that can happen?
So here I am at the halfway point of the year, and I need to step back and assess things a bit, because it all feels like it’s falling apart. I’m coming to realize that an unspoken goal for 2017 is to actually begin to figure out what I’m doing wrong, and what I’m doing right, so that my career can be more sustainable. I’m going to jump right in with two things I know I could be better about. Time Management, and Over Committing.
Something a lot of artists seem to struggle with, especially those of us who’s work is largely autobiographical, is separating our work life from our home life. Compounding that, something that I’ve realized this year is that while I might spend a lot of time convincing other people that my job is not a hobby, I have trouble remembering that myself. This leads into the problem of over committing. My job is supposed to be FUN, and involves a lot of schoolwork type research and behind the scenes stuff. There are so many fun group activities that I could do, and it’s all work right? It all helps me get more stuff done, right? Right!?
My self-worth shouldn’t be tied to my output. I shouldn’t feel the need to fill every square in my schedule. Doing more doesn’t make me better. It just makes me cranky and distracts me from focusing on things I’ve already committed to. This is turning into the longest lead up to an apology ever.
I’m sorry.
I over scheduled my life to the point where I couldn’t possibly keep up with my commitments here to my patrons, and as I got more in the weeds it became harder to face that and have an honest conversation with you all about that. So now I’m clearing a lot of stuff off my desk and moving forward again starting with this post. To wrap it all up, here’s what’s going on with the current projects:
  • The 100 days project – I’m putting this one aside for now. It’s something that I really want to do, but honestly don’t have time for and it was stressing me out to the point where I couldn’t get anything else done.
  • Life With Girls – I’m taking a short break from posting new finished comics. The forty days leading up to my fortieth birthday, I will be posting a page a day of 6 short stories looking back on the places I lived growing up and unspectacular art projects I made there. My $2 patreon backers will get to see these pages in my sketchbook posts this month.
  • 2018 Story Calendar – I’d planned on having this year’s calendar completed by the end of July, but that’s just not realistic. I continue to work on it, devoting a little bit of time each day. The end of August is my new soft deadline to have the bulk of the work done. Expect to see much more about this in July once the forty day project is fully complete.
  • The Breakdown – this isn’t really a project yet, but has been playing a key role in figuring out what works and doesn’t in my daily work life. My friend Sally and I have been developing it as a way to schedule projects, professional development, and celebrate successes.
  • Postcards – I owe my $5 backers some personal correspondence. I’ll be making a poll for new postcards so I can get something special to you soon.
Thank you all so much for your continued support, it really does mean the world to me.
Take care and be good.
Jeffrey