Quite a few, if you sacrifice that lovely commodity known as sleep. Ah, sleep………….Sorry, I daydream about it when I can. Lately I have been doing lots of onsite design work. Which, I will add, has been increadibly rewarding. The environment is wonderful, and I am getting tons of work for my book. Then I come home and put my mom hat on until about 8pm, then on goes the wife hat, for only about a half hour. (sorry hubby, I do admit you get short-changed these days, but you are so sweet and understanding.) Then I put on my painting hat for as long as it takes. Last night was from 8:30pm until 11pm. Then I put my web design hat on and worked until 1am. The only thing that kept me going, besides the deadline of this morning, to finish it, was that it was final revisions. Whew! A huge project off my plate! Now, this pace is certainly not permanent, I would be miserable in the long run if it were, but it has been the pace for about 3 weeks now. The frustration I find is that there does not seem to be a payoff. We are still behind on bills, and every check, even those oh-so-lovely-large ones are spent before they actually get into the bank account. I know one of these days that will change, but in the meantime I keep telling myself, “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.” You Nemo fans will get that.
Yesterday I was talking to the other designer I am working with, and he has a similar situation. He runs a cd label out of his house. He produces cd, does all the design work, then markets and distributes them for unsigned bands. He is passionate about music and he admits that he is in credit card debt because of it. He knows one day his label will get noticed, but for right now, because of the pure love for his music and the belief in the bands, he gladly puts the expenses on a credit card and continues working each night after he gets home for another 5-6 hours on his passion. After that conversation I felt better, actually. I think this is just the path many artists must take. Sure, there are the overnight successes, but more often there are the artists working at night, long after their other jobs are done, creating for the sheer love of it. There are the moments where we long for the security from our craft alone, but each one of us knows in our heart that we couldn’t quit if we tried. There is something inside us that commands us to paint, draw, make music, write, photograph, cook, sew, or anything that makes our soul sing. We continue at it not because it is selfish, or a hobby we like, but because we absolutely MUST. We have to. And it is a blessing and a curse all at the same time. But no matter what, no matter how hard it gets, no matter how little time we can devote to ‘it’ some days, we don’t stop. Even if it means we just get to think about it some days. We simply cannot give it up. Like I said, we couldn’t anyway.