What am I doing.
The first night, I was so wide awake and stressed out about all of the work I SHOULD have been doing and how PRODUCTIVE I COULD have been doing if I weren't wasting my time lying in bed, I stayed up until 10 in the morning doing thumbnail sketches for commissions and outlining the script for the 3rd issue of BPD (I'm about 1/3 of the way drawing the outlines for issue 2). I'd hoped that forcing myself awake at 2:30pm (only allowing myself 4 hours of sleep) would make me so excausted that I would crash into bed at a reasonable hour, which for me would be anywhere from 10pm to midnight.
Yet somehow, I still found myself at 2am, wide awake, and mind racing about what a LAZY GOOD FOR NOTHING ASSHOLE I WAS. Since it was that weird "I'm wired and yet somehow not able to focus on anything" drunk-ferret type insomnia, the best I could do was read the first 3 chapters of Ursula Vernon's Digger anthology before forcing myself to at least lie the fuck down and pretend to sleep. The sun had risen before I managed to drift off.
Now, it's night #3. It's currently 3:23 am as I'm writing this. I have the "you haven't slept well in days" shakes (because well obviously) and my eyes feel the dry sort of tired. I also had 2 glasses of wine at around 10:00 and felt pretty sleepy come 11:30, and yet once the head hit the pillow, NOW it's time for the brain to remind me "hey, asshole, you got nothing done today!"
Well, obviously I got nothing done today, jerk. I haven't slept like a normal person in 3 days.
....ok, full disclosure: I haven't slept like a normal person in months. But it's only been full-blown insomnia for 3 days. Or at least I haven't actually called it insomnia until 3 days ago.
I'm pretty sure it's stress.
When I have a To-Do list that doesn't get done, it makes me feel guilty. Guilt leads to stress. When I have a To-Do list with multiple things on it that all seem of equal priority to finish, I have a hard time deciding what to do first, because as I actively work on one, I can't shut off the guilt over not doing the other thing. More stress. Then as the To-Do list gets longer, the guilt grows, because things aren't getting done as quickly as they should and now I'm dreading all of the angry e-mails demanding where their work is and why it's taking so long.
I think you get the idea.
Here's the thing; I got into being an artist because it was something I genuinely enjoyed doing. It's been something I was passionate about since I was a kid. I knew I wanted to be an artist professionally even at the start of High School, and then later went to college to pursue this thing that, had my parents not been the type of people to save for that kind of thing since I was in diapers, I'd be in debt to my eyeballs. This is a career I have very stubbornly pursued for the majority of my life.
So what is my problem now? Is it because I'm not where I thought i'd be professionally by now? Is it the fact that my audience and the demand for commissions has dropped significantly since I initially put BPD on hiatus? Is it because financially I'm barely scraping by every month because of that lack in demand, and am at a complete and total loss at how to change that?
I started drawing because it was something I enjoy. But I can't draw for fun anymore because even THAT joy is sucked out by the fact that I SHOULD be doing something else.
The only step I know to take at this point is to not accept ANY more commissions until my To-Do list is 100% empty. I realize that will not help the "I'm totally broke" stress, but if I can at least not have to worry about a buyer becoming upset that their art is taking too long, or a BPD fan wondering when the heck issue 2 is coming out (which, by the way, will be done before I go to Anthrocon the 2nd weekend in July)... that's something I can control. My income was never something I could predict, but at least I can try to get control of my workflow.
I'm not asking for charity. Nor do I expect it. Honestly, the greatest thing anyone who's reading this who enjoys my work and wants to show their support is to just post so in a comment. The tip jar in Lizzie-Bean.com side bar is there if you feel inclined to use it, as is my Patreon subscription feed, but don't feel obligated to do either. Any assistance you feel you want to offer, even if it's just a few kind words, would be appreciated more than you know.
So now it's 3:43am. I'm currently debating if I want to try to sleep again now, or stay up as late (or early?) as possible and just get a LONG sleep Wednesday afternoon into night, as I have to be out of the house at 7am on Thursday. Given that worrying about that is just another cherry-on-top of the stress cake, it'll likely be the later.
Anyway, um.... thank you for reading this. I'm gonna go send out a bunch of e-mails and... I dunno... try to not feel like a lump.