Quit your day job.

kitties and the tree

On every book I’ve read about how to build a creative business, it was suggested how important it is to have a day job to support yourself while you ‘build your dream’. I’ve read stories of authors and illustrators working as bartenders, carpenters, secretaries, waitresses and waiters and every other kind of odd jobs, possibly at very odd and very long hours. 

The ‘rags to riches’ story, the Cinderella who works crazy hours and then comes home in her super shallow mini apartment and still have the strength and inspiration to work on her thing and eventually succeeding in making it come true, it’s a plot good for a movie.

Real life? Nah. Maybe one in a million.

In real life, you keep that level of skyrocketing drive and will up for maybe a week or two: then you become sleep deprived, too tired to focus not to mention inspired, and you tell yourself ‘okay, I’ll take a couple of days off to catch up on sleep’. But then sleeping is good and you dread feeling like a zombie again and you go ‘okay, I’ll wait until I’ll have a few days off’. But when those days off come you have a pile of errands to do, stuff you never have the time for when you are working the odd jobs at crazy hours to support you dream, and so…you dream stays a dream.

If this has happened to you, it doesn’t mean that you have not enough passion or determination, or will. It just means that you are human, not a character in a movie, not that one in a million lucky person who makes it because he doesn’t need much time to experiment, learn, get better and fail a dozen times before actually starting to make something right.

This has happened to me a few times in the last 20 years, before reading all those best-sellers about how to make your dreams come true. I had a good day job. Then the company I worked for got sold, and I was forced to quit. I had to find a new job quickly and I found a good one. But ten years later the company got sold again and went bankrupt. The owners ran away with all the money, including my severance. I was almost forty, I had had a day job forever but I had a different dream, and I thought ‘it’s now or never’.

I made a choice that wasn’t a hundred % mine, but this is a story for another post. When that experience ended, I was lost. It looked like nothing worked for me.

But I had the time to draw. Only that it’s very difficult to draw when you have money issues and you are worried all the time. So last September I decided to look for another job. Let’s call it ‘an official job’ since drawing feels more like playing to me.

And so I became a cleaning lady.

I clean the public library and the City Hall. And what looked like ideal – just a few hours per week, not a job I would think about once at home, no problems to solve, etc. – revealed itself for what it is. A fu**ing waste of my time.

Guess what? I work crazy hours. I never have time to draw. I haven’t touched a pencil in three weeks! All the plans I had have been set aside.

This day job thing maybe works for some, it surely doesn’t work for me.

The illustration on top of this post is something I have made in NOVEMBER. Did I have the time to upload it and promote it? No. And Christmas deliveries are already officially closed, so it’s an entire Christmas of sales lost…for what?

Ha. Quit your day job, kid.

A simple list of goals.

At the end of 2018, I wrote a list of goals for 2019. It’s something I always do, I’m a listaholic, I make lists for everything: movies I want to see, music I want to buy, places to go etc,. Everything that interests me ends up in a categorized list. It calms me, it makes me feel like everything is under control (even if I know NOTHING is under control), and it helps me to clear my mind. I also find it very funny to read lists after a few months and discover stuff I used to be obsessed with but that I have completely forgotten of in the meantime! I’m kind of mercurial.

Researches evidenced how writing down a list of goals and reading them every day is the secret of the highest achievers in the world. I can’t add anything to this researches with my experience, because I’m good at setting the goals and writing them down, but I have no consistency in reading them often, much less every day.

This year, or the past two…or also the past seven or eight, have been quite strange. Things have changed so much and I still have to adjust and digest a few issues. I have gone through many changes in my life but none of them have been so transformative as the one I’ve been going through lately. It’s very very hard, but I know I’m going in the right direction, so I keep going. This to say that the goals that I’ve set for in the last years have seen no materialization as everything kept changing and I had to adjust my goals to the situation too often. I’ve often lost focus and felt demotivated, but I’m happy to say that I found a way to manage and juggle all this madness. It’s material for some other post, though.

Sorry for the very blurred picture. I took this a few days ago, but the sky hasn’t improved mhttps://quotefancy.com/quote/1563030/Adi-Da-Relax-Nothing-is-under-controluch. Weather like this is made for meditation and goal setting, I think. I woke up this morning, looked out the window and felt like it was a good time to sit with my thoughts and think about how I want to end this year.

There are 74 days left. I want to use them well. I want to set the base for a great 2020. I’ve trashed the list I wrote at the beginning of this year, I want to start afresh. Self-care and my business are top of my list now, everything comes as a consequence. So my list is very easy.

I just want to draw every day and publish a new video on my YouTube Channel every week.

I want to carve out an hour every day and read, meditate, do yoga. My yoga practice has been lacking and so did my meditation routine. Self-care is so important. Balance is everything.

And yes, this list can look extremely simple, but drawing can take long hours, editing a video can be a long task too, so it’s easy to forget to have some time for yourself. I used to make such ambitious, complicated plans but I’m all about simplicity now, I’m all about flowing with life.

74 days left. Let’s go.

Getting back into the swing of things.

O tendinitis, tendinitis, wherefore art thou tendinitis?

I’ve been in pain, not able to draw, for the past three weeks or so. Now, I’m better, and so I’m here at my desk. I really, really feel uninspired. I have to do something every day and keep swinging, keep a rhythm to keep my creative juices going. Which is not uncommon. Pablo Picasso once said

“Inspiration exists but it has to find you working”

and nothing is more true to me. Do something every day, no matter how horrible or wrong.

Today I am going to finish this one. It’s been sitting on my table for more than a month, collecting cat hair and stains. I’m going to finish it no matter how much I don’t like it.

Stillness kills me. My brain works extra hours if not engaged in anything else, and starts making up impossible plans, impossible dreams, impossible ideas, impossible – and deleterious – thoughts.

So let me get back to my watercolors.

I’m also filming the second YouTube video for my channel. Let’s see if the second will be less horrible than the first!! 🙂