I'm working 7 days a week again, I haven't drawn anything in weeks now. My own projects are gathering dust, my NaNo count is 250. I'm finding it difficult to concentrate in the face of my stress. I scramble orders out at the last minutes, and feel guilty for it. I'm barely a face in my own projects, and they just don't move forward without me the way I always think they ought to.
Something is going to have to give, and soon.
It used to be that shutting down my business was unthinkable. It was a terrifying thought, or simply not an option.
Now... I dunno. It's not so unthinkable?
I've been doing this for fourteen years, non-stop, while I got a degree and pursued a career and built a house and got married and sometimes I feel like I've kept it going only because I can't imagine going on without it. It's not like these artists can't and/or don't make it on their own, with some willpower - I certainly don't pay them living wages. I don't pay me living wages - I don't pay me anything! I pour my energy and attention into it... and for what? It's got its high points, and its rewards, but at what price? If I'd kept working at Design Alaska, we probably would have paid off the house by now. It's somewhat soothing to go work for someone else, to leave every worry about my tasks at the office, and get a fat paycheck every month for something that doesn't require a fraction as much brain or heart.
I'm not planning an instantaneous shut-down of the whole thing, no worries. I'm just surprised to find that the idea of doing it at all... isn't impossible. Surprised enough to blog a little.
I like the idea of putting more effort into my own art for a while. I like the idea of not facing every single day with an inbox full of business to tackle. I like the idea of looking at my studio as a fun place to go and be crafty, not a drudgery of tasks that seem to pile up faster than I can accomplish them. I like the idea of not being the responsible one for a little while... not having to look at empty forums and think 'that's your fault,' or sigh over the fact that we haven't had more than one feature at EMG-Zine all year, despite relaxing the rules to allow reprints, or feel wretched for the email that's been lost in the inbox for six weeks asking enthusiastically about being an artist (but not reading the FAQ).
Don't read more into this than is here - it's just an option that never was an option before, and I've thought about enough over the last several weeks to try to put my thoughts down in order a little.
Back to work, now. DEC submittal to work on, wee!