A Kick in the Pants, or I Can Haz Motiv8ion?

Sorry for the Internet lingo.  It’s painful to me.  SO PAINFUL.  But I’ll leave it.

Today I received some news that means we won’t have the easy financial path open to us on our quest towards creative fulfillment and a life of self-employment.  It was a path I hadn’t even considered but had suggested to me, and it would have provided the bare bones needed for our survival now that we’re living with my father so that all other income could be put towards the business (materials, marketing, etc) and savings.   The answer of “yes” or “no” was about two weeks delayed, which is annoying especially as it’s a no go.  So now, we need to maximize our income streams a little sooner than later if we want to have any hope of doing this full time.  It means we have to push commissions a little more and potentially do a little less creative work (but still self-employed work) for a while.  Because if we can’t, one of us will go back to office work so we can continue to inch ahead.

This was the wake up call I needed.  It’s been so difficult to want to do ANYTHING lately with the heat and humidity and dealing with a teething toddler and adjusting to the move, but this is it.  Our one chance to leap ahead rather than crawl.  We have to take the chance.  We’ll make adjustments to our plans, bust our asses, and not sleep very much in the next month and a half.  You may not see a lot of the fruit of that labor here, but you’ll get to enjoy some of it.

In a way, I’m glad the easy path didn’t work out.  It would have felt strange.  Anything worth having is worth struggling for.  Although I will admit that having a bit bigger of a financial safety net would have been really nice, it obviously wasn’t meant to be.  Anyway, I’ve spent tonight contacting several local businesses about freelance work, created a press release and answered interview questions for Penumbra, and did some work on an online commission.  I wasn’t in the state of mind to write, but I will tomorrow.  My husband is working for my father this weekend, but we are planning a full-out business/planning meeting for Monday when my in-laws will have my son.  Now that we know WHICH path we have to take, we can plan the next several steps.  The waiting was the worst part.

Now, the wait is over.  And I’m going into super-active mode.

I am a Zombie

I’m exhausted and stressed and feeling worn down.  My eyes are bleary today, aided by my allergies in being even more heavy-lidded.  My day job has been a whirlwind of activity, as I fill every moment with either wrapping things up here or planning the move or sneaking a few precious minutes in to work creatively.  I wonder if I can get through the next few weeks without burning out or melting down.

But I’m also excited at embarking on this new journey.  And I’m happy to be doing the work that I’m doing to push myself forward.  It means so much to be seizing the reigns of my life and steering myself in a different direction.  Change is never easy, but it is good for growth.

It’s Okay to Say “I Can’t”

I started doing what will hopefully become regular creative freelance work last week.  When I first picked up what I’m working on, the shop owner said “see you in two weeks” and I told her that I wanted to try to get them done in one week and set a time to meet with her.  I had high hopes of having a fast turn around and bringing in oodles of cash to put towards savings and towards the business.

But as it turned out, I couldn’t do the job in one week.  I mean, I could have, if I had been willing to do a few all-nighters, but I couldn’t bring myself to wreak havoc on my system like that anymore.  It’s just not worth the stress.  And I was stressing.  I had this huge ball of it sitting on me.  I was stressing about the quality of my work.  I was stressing about my tools not working properly.  And I was stressing big time about not finishing the work in my self-imposed deadline.  I felt this intense pressure to perform, and I almost cracked beneath it.

I emailed the shop owner yesterday and told her that I do need the extra week.  And immediately, a lot of the stress lifted.  Over the next couple of months, as I gain confidence and get faster at my work, perhaps I can build up to a weekly turn around time, but if not, then that’s okay.

The trick to staying sane while trying to juggle many projects is being honest with yourself about what you can do, being kind to yourself when you need a break, and prioritizing your deadlines (whether they be actual deadlines from a client or self-imposed ones).  It’s like yoga, and you need to accept the present state of your body-mind.  There’s a time and a place for killing yourself over a project, but it shouldn’t be on a regular, weekly basis.  Life’s too short for that kind of stress.