Wednesday, August 4, 2010

You Gotta Keep Showing Up

Many times in life, you may hit a wall or obstacle, or a huge setback. You'll probably feel like poop, and you'll want to stop working and just wallow in your own self-loathing. However, you can't let yourself fall into that pit for too long, or you'll fall into a circuitous path of feeling bad, so you don't work, which makes you feel bad, etc., etc.

Instead, there are two things that help us get out of the funk. The first is that you have to take action, any action, to get your mind and body moving and going. Don't get us wrong, sometimes you need time to mourn and to cry, but don't let it last too long. Do something, anything. If it's as basic as just drawing angry dinosaur stick figures onto napkins, do it! Write a list of little things that you could do now. Research some new opportunities or techniques online. Go to the library and scope out some inspiration. The key here to to keep on keeping on. No, you won't be as productive as you usually are, and if you keep working it'll probably won't be up to par with your usual work, but keep on working. Keep on moving, and shaking, and you'll find that you'll eventually roll yourself towards something new and positive and full of opportunity and before you know it you'll be back in the saddle again.

Recently, Monkey found out that he's going to need some extensive dental work done over the next few months. With a low, low, yearly maximum from his dental insurance (he does count himself lucky to have it though!), he's recently found himself with a huge financial burden to deal with. When he got home from the dentist, he immediately wanted to start drinking and just play games online. While as tempting as this was, he realized that it wouldn't really solve anything, and so he decided to start looking up submission information for book publishers and various art directors.

Now, Monkey has come up with a plan to rework his portfolio over the next week or so and to submit (scary!!) to some big-name art directors and try to get some freelance illustration work that actually pays industry rates. He is looking into ways to expand his current businesses and to perhaps venture into new territory. All in all, he found that a huge setback (crazy financial burden) has ended up inspiring him to take focused, concrete action towards his goal of being able to totally live off his art.

The second method that we've found to work is that you need to stop thinking about yourself. It's hard, since something crappy has probably just happened to you, but if you can take a step back and think about what you can do for others, you'll find that you'll end up helping yourself in the process.

By focusing on others and what you can do for your friends/family, you also stop thinking about the problem that is bothering you. Recently, Seal was feeling down and instead of letting that sadness swallow her up, she decided to try and give her friends a hand. After attending SIGGRAPH, Seal had seen a lot of animation and game companies who were hiring for artists, so she forwarded all the relevant info to some of her former classmates in her illustration and animation classes. In turn, she was able to catch up with people she hadn't talked to in a while which in turn cheered up Seal and helped her rise out of her gloom. By turning the focus away from herself and to her friends, Seal was able to cheer up faster than if she has constantly tried to figure out a way to help herself.

No matter what is bothering you, or what problems you're having that are stopping you from creating, you have to find a way to keep afloat. We know that it's difficult, and that the realities of life can constantly wound you to the point where you don't even want to get out of bed in the morning, but if you keep on showing up, and you take some time to help out others, you'll find that you'll heal faster and get back into the game quicker even stronger than you were before.


Katie said...

I'm definitely keeping both of you in my thoughts! I'm amazed that you can both be so creative when life's got you down!

Monkey + Seal said...

Thanks Katie! Glad you stopped by!