Friday, March 18, 2011

Diary of a Trailblazer: Fourteen Days to Go

Fourteen days before I'm left to my own devices.

It's weird...I've been planning my exodus forever (my actual decision to give notice was kind of spur-of-the-moment, but I've known since January that I'd do it around springtime...and I've been saving up money for this moment for at least five years).  I've been looking forward to quitting and eagerly imagining what it would be like to have all my time to myself...and when I actually did give notice, I felt totally calm and focused, like an ancient prophecy was finally coming to fruition (man, I've watched way too much Buffy and Heroes).

But today, I feel...a bit vague.  Directionless.  Suddenly I can't get my head around the magnitude of what I've done.  I'm like, "So I wake up on April 1st and...just do whatever I want?  ...Seriously?"  I keep expecting there to be a ceiling on this me-time - an immediate ceiling, I mean, like when I take a vacation day from work and pressure myself to have as much fun as humanly possible because I'll be going back to work soon.

I've heard that sometimes ex-cons are so accustomed to the structure and discipline of prison that the real world freaks them out and they commit another crime expressly so they'll get sent back to nice, predictable jail.  I totally understand this.  Freedom is...big.

Part of me thinks that once I'm off work I'll be super-productive - after all, haven't I always told myself I'd be a lot more prolific with the art if only I had more time?  Plus, I won't have a regular paycheque, and knowing that art is now my primary cash stream should be a pretty damn good motivator.

On the other hand, since there is no immediate "ceiling" on my free time, I won't have that sense of "make every moment count because this won't last long".  It might be all too easy to laze around watching cartoons all day because, hey, I can always start that painting tomorrow (or the next day or the day after that or...).  I do work well when I'm under a deadline (yay structure!), so I'll probably start offering custom work in my shop in order to give myself a little kickstart.  I know that once each commission is done I'll end up riding that momentum and doing a bunch more work of my own: it can be hard for me to start a project sometimes, but once I do, I always feel productive and energized and every synapse in my brain lights up like a birthday sparkler.  Then ideas start pouring out of me faster than I can put them onto canvas.  You might notice from my gallery pages (here and on Facebook) that I tend to do paintings in clumps.

I wonder...if I gave myself a daily "painting goal" and forced myself to stick to it, could I get to a point where I feel energized and inspired all the time?  And could my nervous system withstand it if I did?

Time will tell!

Note: I'm giving all the "here's what my life is like without a job" blog posts the tag diary of a trailblazer.  You'll easily be able to read the whole saga so far by clicking that tag in the list on the right side of your screen.  If you're not that interested in the whole "new life path" thing I'm going through, don't worry, I'll still be making random/funny/arty posts, too. :)


  1. That is such awesome news! I quit my day job about 8 months ago (boyfriend got a new job and we relocated) and my Etsy shop has been my only source of income. I do have to say that maintaining productivity is my BIGGEST problem. I think your plan of setting daily goals is an excellent idea. Good luck on your new adventure!!


  2. Thanks, Brandy, and yay for your full-time Etsying, too!

    I'll probably be forced to come up with all kinds of productivity tricks in the coming months out of sheer necessity...and when I do, I'll share them here. :)