Well, today I turned 30, and the days/weeks leading up to it have been a mixed bag for me, to say the least. I think this is a very good opportunity to break the secrecy that I think I've been unintentionally keeping as far as my online persona, real life, and work is concerned.
I started this journal with just a title and the intention of expositing about all the good and bad things I've been dealing with lately. I completely stalled at the first sentence until I decided to start with a short meta-commentary. Be warned that this journal will likely be very rambly, but there's a lot on my mind that I've wanted to share with you all.
Feel free to skim through the sections for easier reading, pick and choose what interests you, or just skip this entirely. I appreciate anyone who can spare the time to read about all my innocuous thoughts, but I understand if it's not all that important to anyone in particular.
If you do skip this journal post, just know that I value you being part of my audience and I hope you enjoy my artwork more and more as I've been improving, and will continue to improve in the coming year.
Journals and being Active in a Community
Online, offline or wherever, I find it very difficult to just talk about myself without someone directly prompting me to do so. Journals are an excellent way for me to keep you guys in the loop, but my reluctance to do so, combined with rarely getting much response from them makes it difficult for me to get over my own compunctions and just do it.
If I wrote these a little more frequently then perhaps they wouldn't need to be so long. Twitter has been an excellent substitute for journals as far as my own catharsis is concerned, but I sometimes feel like I've lost touch with a large part of my audience in pretty much every furry community site despite being an active poster on so many of them.
I would appreciate your thoughts on this, if you have any. How approachable or active do I seem on this site? I figure the answer is probably obvious on some places where this will be posted, but I'd rather hear from some of you guys.
The Need for "Constant" "Creativity"
Over the past year, I've managed to start a number of ambitious projects. Here, I use the word "ambitious" relative to what my work habits used to be. Happy Campers, my Patreon page, as well as a number of other similarly longer-term projects that I've yet to expand upon; these were all little more than pipe dreams just a short year ago. I'm happy that I've gotten braver and more willing to embark on ideas that require a much larger commitment than a few hours' or days' worth of effort.
That having been said, what I've achieved still feels lacking to me - of course this sounds like little more than perfectionist nitpicking, but hear me out. Although I've gained a much greater understanding of the sheer effort that goes into projects like these, I can never shake the feeling that I could be doing more, better, and getting it done faster than I already am. Big whoop, I know - most if not all artists struggle with this. I can only comment on what I experience, though, and given that I'm not the most optimistic kind of person, it really runs my batteries down something fierce.
I'm fortunate that I get to make a decent income drawing fluffy furries doing degenerate deeds, and as far as facing the day every morning I can honestly say that I'm doing a lot better than I have in the past. Some days, though, I feel like I'm simply incapable of doing any better. To try and put it in simple terms, there always seems to be a massive, insurmountable, and entirely opaque barrier just a few steps ahead of wherever I've reached. I can very well appreciate where I've reached by my own efforts and the support of others, but the looming uncertainty of what comes next is unshakeable, impenetrable, and very burdensome over long periods of time.
My achievements thus far are extremely motivating to me, and I value greatly all the encouragement and support that my fans have given and continue to give me. That will never go away. However, the constant, inescapable slew of "what if"s just wear me down, and the best that I can do always feels like it's not quite enough.
The Windingest Career Path
The biggest burden that this birthday has dropped on my shoulders is seeing all my peers apparently getting much farther ahead in life than I have. I realize the word "apparently" is doing a lot of work there, and I also know that success is subjective. However, when I see my younger friends buying and building houses while I continue to draw kink art out of a bedroom in my parents' house... It raises some questions, to say the least.
Over the last 3 to 4 months I've applied for about 8 jobs. I was rejected for 7 of them, while I had to turn down the 8th because it was too demanding and would have meant that I'd have to drop every other part time commitment - including my artwork. I've bounced back every time, and I'd even go so far as to say that it's strengthened my resolve to make this whole freelance art thing work out. However, the last major rejection stuck with me slightly. There are only so many repetitions of "you're not good enough" I can take before it starts to get under my skin.
This has, in fact, caused some insecurity. Years ago, I found it easy to get new jobs. While I didn't abuse this privilege extensively, it has given me confidence to try new things and broaden my horizons. My ethos towards work has generally been to seek out what is most fulfilling as much as possible, and I've been very fortunate to have every opportunity to do so. Now, though, it looks like there's little of that left for me bank on, other than getting a job I don't enjoy. While it's hardly a fate worse than death, I know my limits; working a job that I dislike will sap me of energy and my creativity will dwindle. I don't want, nor can I afford that to happen.
I could instead see this as more of a motivator to make my freelancing work out. However, my experiences over the past 8 months or so have not given me any real insight into what has led to my long series of small successes as of late. Beyond "planning ahead" and "drawing more," I have no idea what I've done that has given me a good response thus far. While I guess it's better than being entirely clueless or starting from scratch, it leads me to question most of my ideas that try to break new ground.
Don't get me wrong; I'm happy doing the things I'm doing, and I acknowledge and appreciate just how fortunate I am to be doing them. Unfortunately I'm not quite at the point where I can keep doing it full-time, and since the past isn't any guarantee of the future, I often worry that my plateau is just around the corner.
So Many Ideas, Too Little Time. Also, Crushing Self-Doubt
January was an exciting time for me. Although I did a lot of sketching involving many different fetishes, it wasn't because of that. A sudden surge in growth on my Patreon page forced me to put some serious thought into restructuring my rewards system (and by the way you should totally check it out) which, to cut a long story short, highlighted just how eager my fanbase is to support me, even despite some compromises and drastic changes to how I was doing things.
This filled me with resolve and led to a lot of new ideas which I'm excited to explore further. Unfortunately, the breadth of possibilities were as motivating as they were paralyzing. Despite my own confidence in the choices I've made and have yet to make, constantly wondering if this would be the final straw - the thing that everyone hates - holds me back to an extreme degree.
By this time you're probably noticing a trend.
This is something I think I've brought onto myself by trying to have such a broad focus (if you can even call it a focus) of themes and subjects. Since I can (and want to) take on so many different ideas, it's very difficult for me to commit to any one thing for fear of putting off several others for a long stretch of time, especially given the time it takes for me to complete things.
I'm not entirely sure where I'm really going with this, but I guess I just want to make it clearer to you all that I really am open to a lot of different kinks and themes. Even though I just don't have the time to do them all justice at any given time, I am interested in seeing and knowing more.
I love discussing ideas that may lead to commissions or some random personal piece somewhere down the line. Throw pictures at me, get excited about your kinks and talk about why, write a little story about it. Whatever you fancy. I set out to be an enabler of sorts for all flavours of perversion, but stumbled upon a lot of my own limitations in short order. There are other ways for me to achieve this, I suppose, but I guess that's a whole other subject for another day.
Let's Talk About the Positives
If you've gotten this far, I guess it's about time I mention some good things that have come about over the past year. Before I get to that, though, I feel should explain the previous 20 paragraphs of negativity:
These kinds of things stick in my craw so much because they get in the way of the things I want to do, even though they shouldn't. The reason I keep pushing forward is that I don't want to be beaten. It's often easier to talk about the problems and it may breed negativity, but in my opinion, acknowledging and discussing a problem is healthy. Writing down a few of the above points helped me clarify the muddled, overwhelming feelings that they give me. This lets me either set them aside for later, or figure out a solution more easily moving forwards.
The fact is, the list of things I have to be thankful for are even more overwhelming than any of these issues. I think that being faced with such challenges and still managing to work hard so consistently is motivating enough as it is, but also shows that I have a lot going for me. Although I'm focusing mainly on the problems related to my work life, being able to summarise them all within a page's worth of writing is a blessing in disguise.
In the past year, I've achieved a lot. I've started a webcomic and built a small following for it, set up a Patreon, Gotten halfway to a very major milestone within 6 months, Set up an active online community of kind people, Made a ton of new friends - both fans and fellow artists alike, Worked on a lot of new, fun and interesting themes and projects, Learned to use new media and techniques to make art, and even Booked my very first Furcon, which I'll be attending as a dealer/artist.
You've seen most of what I've gotten done, but that's just the end-result of everything else that goes on in the background. I have a lot in mind for the next year and even though I know I won't get it all done, I'll have a lot of fun trying.
In celebration, I will be streaming for most of the day tomorrow; whether it will be spent playing games, working on art, or just hanging out with the audience - I don't know. What I do know is that it's going to be a lot of fun and I plan to share as much positivity as I can with you all. You can follow me on Picarto to know when I start, and I hope to see you there.
Thanks for reading, following, supporting, contributing, discussing, sharing, and liking what I do. I wouldn't be here if not for you guys, and for that much I am definitely thankful.