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.

Christmas illustrations and moving forward.

The Christmeows kitties illustration | Cat Cottage Design

Christmas is just around the corner, and as always, I am late. Every year I plan in making a good amount of Christmas merchandise, and every year I fail.

Hopefully, this year is going to be a little better. My ideas are clearer, I am more organized, and I have a few projects in mind for the future of my small business, that I am already putting into practice. I feel creative and inspired.

This is the main reason why I moved the blog here, on this new domain. I can’t tell you much about my project because I have no idea if I’ll be able to put it together, but I’m trying, I’m confident, and it feels good.

In the meantime, I have re-opened my store. It’s been off on vacation for a longer time than I had planned, but now it’s back and I’m getting it ready for Christmas.

Actually, I’m getting it ready for CHRISTMEOWS, as it’s the only kind of Christmas I celebrate.

If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen the Christmeows illustrations. The first one, up here on this post, is already available on a couple of items, and I am editing the other two as we speak. They all will be up and ready to be purchased soon, so keep an eye on the shop.

On another note, I am sad to announce that cold weather has arrived. It’s not really winter yet, but I had to turn on the heating inside at Cat Cottage and it’s always a very sad moment for me. Shorter days, no garden time, hibernation. I know summer will be here in no time, though. Winter feels infinite and never-ending, but it’s actually the shortest season! And if I can keep up this level of inspiration, it’s probably going to be a very productive and fun winter.

In order to make peace with this season and make the most of it outside my projects, I’m enjoying a lot of couch time. I have never been much in front of the tv, but I don’t know, maybe it’s age, but I find it relaxing lately. It’s probably also because watching tv is not as passive as it was before. With all the streaming apps available, tv time is actually a nice thing to look forward to.

I’m probably going to binge a lot of Christmas movies and cartoons soon!

What’s your favorite Christmas movie?

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!! ūüôā