One week down, hopefully a million (or so) to go

Well, it has been a week since my last day of ‘guaranteed paycheck’ work. After the anxiety stopped…oh wait, it didn’t. As a matter of fact, I have had nightmares every night since then. I would tell you about them, but I don’t want to give YOU sweet people any nightmares. But to sum up? I apparently am very scared that I will end up never making another dime and living in a cardboard box. And that there are little toddlers that run around burning other toddlers favorite dolls and stuffed animals on a grill until they are a charred mass on a stick and then taunt the other toddlers with them. Like I said, NIGHTMARES. And don’t even get me GOING on literally the saddest children’s book ever thought of. I woke up BAWLING.  Issues? Too much prozac? Too LITTLE?

But I decided to use that fear to drive me instead of paralyze me. I use it to work harder. I use it to work longer. Fear can be turned around, twisted inside out and turned into determination. And that is what I am doing. In the past week I have talked to sales reps with my publishing company, set up going to two festivals and one book fair this fall, contacted a company that prints painting reproductions on canvas so I can start selling those on my website and at festivals, set up a deal with my coloring book peeps to hopefully drive traffic and sales to my site, finished a dummy book and sent that and the text to my editor (crossing fingers!!!) made 2 new Whatif Monsters, sketched a completely new one and am hoping to finish 2 large commissions by Friday.

So all in all I am keeping myself nice and busy. And I love it. And I have moved past the anxiety and fear into perseverance and determination. I hope never to think about retirement because this is work I never want to stop doing. One week down and as many as I can fit in until I take my last breath to go!

So grateful for this life I get to live.

And last night my hunnie took me to see Jimmy Buffett. He hired a driver to take us there and drive us home. It was heaven. AND I caught Jimmy’s guitar pick!! I TOTALLY think he will want to license my “Fins Up Whatif Monster” don’t you??? I think it is a SIGN!

Best email EVAH!!

In case you haven’t heard, I am quitting my job. Tomorrow. And I was SUPER excited. All KINDS of excited! Until I woke up yesterday. Then I was gonna throw up. Because you know, time to talk the talk and walk the walk. I’ve been telling my hubbie for the past two months how I will for SURE, TOTALLY make money from home. It is MY TIME!!! But my time is now here and that guaranteed check every two weeks, the job I know like the back of my hand, the coworkers who are GOOD friends whom I adore and talk to every morning over coffee are going AWAY. And, well, I spent the entire day yesterday having a panic attack about it. I got home and worked out trying to relieve some stress. I am shocked I didn’t keel over dead from a heart attack from Jillian Michaels kicking my butt while my heart was ALREADY in overdrive. (Side note: beach trip in two weeks – I HAVE to exercise anyways but thought it would help with the stress. Two words: bathing suit. All you chicks out there understand.)

AND in case you haven’t heard, The Rapture is coming this Saturday. So perhaps all my panic and worry is a moot point. I mean, I KNOW I will still be around afterwards, but about 200 million peeps will be gone. And those left behind? May be a wee less concerned with buying cute kid and pet art just then. Soooo, maybe I should panic? Maybe not ? Who knows??!?!? My heart…is beating…so fast…palpitations….

So there I was this morning. Driving to work telling myself not to panic all day AGAIN today. I said, “Okay, UNIVERSE, just in case ‘they’ are wrong, or got their math wrong AGAIN, and we are totes here on Sunday, please give me a sign that I am for SURE doing the right thing with my life.

I got to work and got the following email:

Hi Michelle,

I was the parent volunteer/ room mom who came in with Mrs. XXX’s class at Whitlow Elementary last week to hear your presentation to the 3rd graders.  We enjoyed it so much!   You just have to know that your talk was very inspiring to my 9 year old daughter. Especially about pushing on in spite of the rejections you got to your first book.   I just have to tell you something funny that came from that. My daughter is now furiously working on a book of poems she calls…. ( are you ready for this?)  The Great Big Book of Platypus Poems. (I definitely think she has hit upon a previously untapped market)  ha. She also wanted to run right out to Hobby Lobby and and get your coloring books. ( They only had one left, but she got it!  The Dogs at Work one..)  She took it to school today to share with everyone.

But I digress….    

The main reason I’m writing is that next Monday, May 23rd, Mrs. XXX’s class is having their End of Year party and we had an idea for a very unique and personal gift for her. She loves your paintings and seemed really excited about your upcoming books.. Sooooo  instead of giving her the usual gift card to Barnes and Noble or Cheesecake Factory.. Could we pool together whatever donations we get from parents, for a gift certificate good towards YOUR products?  I am not sure if she’d want a pet portrait or to spend it on books… but I think this would be so special to her.  Please let me know if this is possible….and if I can get a PDF version of the gift certificate  to print at home given the time constraints here..  Or if it can be mailed to me quickly.  ( Need it by Monday morning)  We will probably have an odd dollar amount once I total it all up.  

You must be very busy…so I apologize for the short notice. 

Thank you so much ! 

(mom of Emily …future artist/author of Platypus poems)
p.s. We can’t  WAIT for the Whatif books and hope that the little green guy himself might be for sale!

I responded like this:
Hi Nancie!

I would LOVE to do a personalized gift certificate for Mrs. XXX! As soon as you let me know the amount, I will send you a pdf. I love it!

I had SUCH a wonderful day on Thursday – I just floated home! Thank you for buying my coloring books! If she wants the others, I have them for sale on my website and they a bit cheaper there too.

Well, your daughter and I must be kindred spirits because I have a pet platypus! I found him on the ground walking at Stone Mountain and was THRILLED with him. I named him Mr. MacGillicutty and made the photographer I was with take a picture with me. Then he got a place of honor with my gang of characters on my mantle at home. So tell Emily I think she is totally onto something!! (attaching pics for Emily to see my platypus)

As soon as you the the amount, let me know!

Thank you so much for writing – have a great day! 😀

And just like that, no more panic. Just PURE JOY.

My cast of characters! LOVE. THEM.

Me and Mr. MacGillicutty at Stone Mountain!