Sunday, January 28, 2018

An Announcement

There’s a decision I’ve been scared to make for months, since it always felt dumb, both financially and career-wise. It still feels dumb in that respect, but after having a breakdown in October, I know this is probably what’s wisest for my mental health. So, I’m finally allowing myself to announce it publicly, despite how much it frightens me…

I’m taking an indefinite break from art commissions. I’m pretty much in a constant state of terror whenever working on one, thanks to my anxiety. (Panic attacks are not uncommon.) This, coupled with my perfectionism, can lead to some unhealthy habits on my part. (It’s too easy for me to forgo eating and sleeping in order to meet a deadline, for example.) Since I struggle with mental health issues outside of this—I self-harm by hitting, am overwhelmed with intrusive thoughts, and have also wanted to kill myself—I feel like if I have the power to remove a stressor, I should.

Although I’ve been working hard to improve my mental health since my breakdown, these issues are still a daily battle, and can even bring me down on the best of days. Since many commissions that come my way have inflexible deadlines, I simply don’t feel comfortable committing myself to one until I know I have better control of my self-destructive urges. Might cause unintentional delays for a client otherwise, and I'd feel like absolute scum if that were to happen.

If/when I return to commissions, I’ll probably make some changes to the guidelines, especially in regards to the pricing. I often feel like I’m killing myself to meet a deadline and make the art as perfect as possible, and I really shouldn’t put myself through that kind of stress for how little I charge. I have to figure out a fairer price for the amount of time and effort I put in. I can picture myself easing back into commissions with something simpler, like ACEOs, but I honestly don’t have any concrete plans right now. I want to focus on my own projects at the moment.

7 comments:

  1. Your health and life come first. If it stresses you out that much, just say no. Wait for a better time and certainly get what your efforts are worth.

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  2. Don't beat yourself up. Commission breaks are actually common in the art world. You need to collect yourself, speaking as both someone who regularly overburdens himself creatively AND suffers from panic disorder. I definitely get where you're coming from. Relax and come back stronger for it.

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  3. You must put your health and well-being first, Heather. It sounds like a good idea to take a break and remove that stress for now. If and when you return to commissions it should be on your own terms. Best wishes.

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  4. You definitely need to put your health first. Do what you need to do for yourself before anyone else.

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  5. *hugs* I really get this. It's one thing when you're creating your own art, but it's a completely other thing when creating something for someone else. The pressure can really get to you. That's why I had to stop editing for money. I still edit for critique partners, but it was too much with deadlines and being afraid the client wouldn't like the end result. It's much easier without such stresses.

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  6. I hope you find the stability you need and want. I can see why doing what you do for others could put so much pressure on you.

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  7. Good for you! It takes a lot of guts to admit these things are going on in your life, and it takes even more to do something about it. Taking a break sounds like more than a good idea; it's a lifesaver. I'm glad you're stepping back from the stressful work for now. YOU come first.

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