Monday, March 24, 2014

Getting Back on The Path

Burnout is a bad and good thing. It's bad as you end up feeling horrible and unable to do anything, especially with struggling to try and get back on track. However, it is good as it let's you realize what your limits are and even begin seeing your path differently. In my case, though, it took me a bit of time to get things together, I am now finally beginning to get a grip of what I want to do, what my limits are, and what I need to work on to get there. I am still figuring out a schedule that will work for me, but I am getting there. I also learned that social media networking and marketing might not be my calling just yet.

I went to a business expo which has helped me realize how much of the businesses of the main city I was looking to work at already has good services for graphic design(even meeting one business and thinking of sending my resume to). However, I also happen to live in the boondocks between a city and two towns, all three recovering from the downturn and will need more graphic design services as more businesses are beginning to pop up. However, as I looked around the expo and during my burnout, I realized my specialty of vector images and logos is not as needed in this area than the editorial designs for brochures and other things. Luckily, I have some experience with such designs, but I need to begin working on it more. But, I found a small publishing house that I might see if I can join. One thing I love to do is illustrations. I am always doodling(even back when taking art classes with taking notes) and drawing. One of my personal project goals is to make a children's book I thought of during my last semesters in college, but having a hard time getting story and images to match up since I always done both separately with writing stories for a hobby and doing art for my career choice. Hence, with reading up on Chris Oatley's blog, I have decided on a smaller project of making comics to get into how to figure out how to get story and images to work together.

I also been following School of Visual Storytelling, especially since this year they began doing free webinars to teach the basics which the refreshers for me have been a big help. I joined their March Thurd Thursday contest which my entry is the image at the beginning of this blog post. I was not eligible for the prize and I did not get into the top ten... But, I still feel accomplished. I did this illustration after my burnout with trying to figure out social media and it is my first big leap to getting back on the track I want. I showed this illustration to the illustrator that was there with the booth at the expo and lifted my spirits with hearing her comments on it since I did not see a lot of people vote for my illustration. I am a homebody. I actually HATE driving and try to avoid it unless I want to go somewhere or have to go somewhere.  However, if I am going to improve as an artist, I got to begin reaching out to others around me, not just online, and finding out what's out there for me... Though, the upside of living on several acres, half to two-thirds covered in forest, makes it easy to do landscape painting without leaving from one's home and access to the main bayou is nearby and I might do some paintings on the river once the weather has equals out.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Managing Life and illolifeRPG

I will admit, I suck at "managing" my life. I used school(all stages of it) to set a schedule for myself... Now with it gone, I been struggling how to get my life together and get things done. The major issue I have is my attention span can be focused some days and other days it is scattered. Also, if I am thrown off one task I am working on to do something else, I can end up forgetting it and end up going straight into something else after finishing the quick task. I been trying to set up a schedule, but I am still working on it as it is harder to set up than one would think for someone who has ADHD. Especially with the rough ride February gave me.

However, I found at least a little helper, illolifeRPG. illolifeRPG is a role playing group, but the game is your life. You track your progress and earn experience by completing quests which are things you do in life. Basically, you turn things like finding landing freelance gigs and completing paintings into quests and reward yourselves with experience to level up. Turning life into a video game is fun. This is very important for someone like me, where my brain is not wired like normal people. The reason I became an artist is because it was fun for me and I love doing it. The management part, not so much unless I spice it up a bit. You can check the group out here on Facebook. It was created by Chris Conlon and its now has over 500 members in it. I have my current character sheet at the bottom of this post. Now, for people with similar issues with managing their life be it trying to manage time or a budget, I have some advice that might help you out:

Everyone does not work with the same method.  Just because one method works for everyone means it works for you. In fact, "your" method may not even be a solid method out there yet, but  mixture of several people's way of managing themselves. For example, I found I can "sort" of work with a typed up schedule, but I need to fix it up to make it easier for me look at and keep a schedule everyday. At best, I work great with dividing the day into two to three hour periods for working on things and my issues is trying to do shorter times like eating times and such without throwing my groove of the two-three hour deal off. The same with budgeting as I tried a budget, but I had trouble keeping up with my expenses. But, then again, with how fast everything is nowadays and people wanting me to move out of the way when I try to make a quick note of something, it is kind of hard for someone who likes to be a bit slower to catch details to do so. However, I am very good at keeping track of my income and accounts, so if I switch to planning where the money goes once I get the income, it might work better for me.  

Don't get frustrated. If things are not working exactly as you plan when you are trying to set up a schedule or budget, do not let it upset you. Just like learning and mastering art or learning to play an instrument, it takes time to learn how to properly do a schedule or budget. You are going to struggle with getting the schedule or other management things down at first. But, as you get more used to it and fixing the kinks in the system, it becomes easier and easier. For some, like myself, this is also a great patience exercise as it takes a lot longer to get down since there is a lot of kinks to work out. But, upside, it's starting to work as I got at least now down my sleep schedule set to go to bed at the same time roughly everyday. Usually, that happens after you get the rest of the schedule set.

 Do it in smaller steps, not one big one. This is one thing I learned in middle school when trying to deal with my ADHD without meds. I have to take things in smaller steps or else I am overwhelmed. Which is probably why I am not a big social media person as it is usually just all thrown right into your face to learn it. However, this is really helpful for artists and normal people. By breaking down deadlines and other big projects into smaller parts always makes thing so much easier. The same can be done with starting a schedule or budget and is how I managed to find the parts the work for me and what parts I need to figure out.

 Last, do what feels right and keep on track even if it gets bad for a bit. Just because someone has this "neat, clean method" that is "sure" to work and get you managing your life like a conductor controlling a symphony, does not mean it will work for you if you follow it to the finest detail. Some people can't work with a really strict schedule while others can't work with a really loose schedule. Then, there is people who can't work with either a really strict schedule or a really loose schedule. Everyone has to fine tune their way of managing their life and it's going to take a lot of sour note hitting to find that eureka moment where everything works. I'm still in my tuning process, but I am getting closer to it. Just like an instrument, the worse it sounds, the closer you are getting it to being in tune. Seriously, a note just off by a little bit from where it should be is a lot worse sounding than a note really off. Hence why musicians are so focused on making sure the note is right on. But, it also goes with many life managing issues and many other things including art. Right when people are really close to figuring out how to do it, they will often give up because it seems so bad and wrong when they in fact so close to the "Aha!" moment. That very moment that can push someone through that rough area and actually turning that mess into something so much better.  So, just because it seem wrong, stick with your guns and keep at it till you figure out your right tuning to your life management.

Well, I hope this was helpful to someone. Sorry for going on the music analogies. I been in concert and marching bands all the way from middle school to my junior year in college and it's sometimes is my muse for art. I am even planning once I get my life a bit more stable to possibly join a community band as I love playing my clarinet. Though, for me, it's a hobby while art is my real passion. But, music and it's organizations helped me set some of my life management habits together and now I am just refining them to get them to work for me instead of against me in a mess. Everyone has their way to work through the mess that is life, hence how you manage the things in life is also just as different.