The Protective Wall!

Good morning Fuzzbutts!

Alright so a creative friend came and asked me a little bit about commissioners but this is something I’ve heard about before that drives many artists, whether they make fursuits or sketches or whatever, to go batty. If you’re a creative type who has turned your art into your income, listen up! If you’re somebody who likes to purchase art stuff that somebody else has made, listen up! If you’re neither of those, then read this post anyway because I put in the effort!

So you create something and somebody comes to you for a commission. You do what they say and then they have a couple of corrections. You fix those and then there’s other errors they want you to fix. Those are handled and then suddenly the whole thing just still isn’t satisfactory. You’ve spent about twice as much time on this one commission without any increase in your price and they’re still walking around grumbling. Their grumbling hurts you because you really tried to make them happy and put in extra effort. They don’t seem happy either. Next time you open up for commissions, they’re right there with another handful of dollars to have you go through it all over again with them.

There’s something called the 80-20 rule that applies to a lot of stuff. If you’re a creator, 80% of your problems will come from 20% of your customers. That means if you’re spending a bunch of time with one unhappy customer, it’s taking time from customers you enjoy dealing with and most of your issues are coming from a small group rather than the majority! So it’s time to recognize the problem furries and cut them off! Preserve the sanity!

There’s a mindset sometimes that you want to be liked and you appreciate your fans for the fact they think enough of you to give you money for art. You get the money and want to satisfy their request! If there’s something wrong, even though the commissioner didn’t actually tell you the thing that should have been there in the first place, you want to make it right. They’re not very happy with what you made but can’t even explain what you did wrong without requiring you just start over.

Nope! That bad commissioner goes out the window! Next time they show up, you close that door. You give that slot to somebody who will appreciate your efforts.

One thing I think happens with artists when they get repeat bad commissioners is that they’ve already been turned away by other artists. These sour platypuses then waddle their way to you since you’re the only one who puts up with their needs. Don’t enable their behavior by dealing with them and then stressing yourself out!

Commissioners! I’m speaking to you now! If you have a specific thing in mind for your commission, describe it in detail! Have a good ref handy! If you weren’t clear in your description and they show you a beautiful artwork that wasn’t exactly what you wanted, then take it as a lesson to be more clear. Then just enjoy the artwork, even if it’s not exactly what you had in your head. Other times, the art just doesn’t look so good where the artist doesn’t seem to have put as much effort in yours as they did with the other commissions. I’ve experienced that too. Take the art, thank them, and don’t bother with them again. There’s plenty of artists out there who will do your characters justice who will also take your money. Now if there’s something that was in the ref or description that they clearly forgot, feel free to point that out to them (missing a marking on their face, the pose is way off from what you described directly, etc).

Please, regardless what side you fall on, realize the other end of the FurAffinity notes is a person and also loves furry stuff. Artists, do your best and work with your customers but don’t stress yourself out and spend too much time with unpleasant experiences but make sure you complete the work you take on. Commissioners, provide your feedback when something has to be fixed but realize the effort that goes into making artwork and don’t nitpick or change what you asked for. Together, the furries will maintain their fun, artsy economy and we’ll all get to appreciate what gets posted!

Have fun, fuzzbutts!

Knocking out those negative voices!

Rawr! Intense wuff!

So yesterday morning I looked up the obstacle course and some of it looks intense! Of course, my brain did what many brains might do- tell me I couldn’t do it. I see something that looks awkward or I haven’t done before and a powerful voice in my head says “You should quit. That’s too much. You aren’t ready for that.” And then builds onto my anxiety. Before I began to imitate the cowardly lion, I caught myself and realized my brain was trying to push me right back into my safe bubble. It’s an obstacle course full of people I don’t know! So what if I end up looking silly on some of them and doing the penalty burpees? As difficult as some of it looks, there’s no realistic reason to expect to get hurt!

Even when you think rationally, your mind can still build those feelings of anxiety or other issues. One way of dealing with it is channeling that energy. Being anxious just keeps you stressed so turn that energy into something else! By imagining the negative voice as a separate entity from myself, I can see it as something to be irritated by, converting that anxiety into annoyance which is something I can work with.

You’re not prepared enough.” POW! I’m going to lay out what I’m going to wear. “You don’t know how to do that! You’ve never done that before!” KABOOM! I’m going to try! Not like there’s a bunch of places with a hanging rope I can practice climbing. I can at least watch videos to learn what the technique is supposed to be so I can try when I get there. “You’re not strong enough.” BIFF! I’m way stronger than I was and I’ve never tested myself before so what do you know about what I can and can’t do? “It’s going to go badly.” WHACK! It won’t but even if it does, I can always sign up for another one and train more with a better idea of what I need to work on!

So yeah. My own technique is to make the negative voice something separate you can fight against. Channel the energy into something you can use like developing plans or working harder toward your goals!

Good luck, fuzzbutts!

The big important things first

Hello fuzzbutts!

Sorry for the late post! I’ve been busy helping the folks get stuff ready for their big move (assuming we can sell the place). Anyway, one thing I wanted to emphasize mostly applies to your days off but can easily be incorporated with those early mornings that some of us like to use to get stuff done.

Whenever there’s something to do and you know you need to do it, then just get that stuff out of the way before it drives you crazy. In helping the folks try to sell their home, I have to keep stuff clean. That means putting away dishes, sweeping, mopping the floor, and regular dusting! The house is sorta “on-call” for this so I don’t have much time to make sure things are ready if I get a notice saying to hurry up and put stuff away. There’s definitely been more than one time I’ve had to make a mad dash to clean up or sweep before people show up and I get out of the house!

This applies to anything that’s important, not just chores. You want to draw more? Get up, get a snack in you, and start drawing in the morning. Not enough time before work? Change your schedule so you get up earlier and THEN draw. Have various projects at work to do? Prioritize them however works best for you and then take the best one on first. Have errands to run? Pop out of the house as fast as you can and take care of it, beating traffic and crowds! You’ll feel a lot better when you flop down into bed at the end of the day!

 

Surrendering to the Nudges of Life

Hello fuzzbutts!

In the pursuit of productivity and improving your lot in life, you’ll notice things can often improve and, just as if not MORE often, life gets in the way or you just feel like something is pushing on you. Your home life stinks with your parents so now is the time to do anything you can to set yourself up to move out when possible. You hate your job but haven’t taken that as the hint that you need to look for something else.

Life as a silly habit of being subtle for most of our lives. It just sits there, whispering in the back of our heads when something is off. Like there’s a little cloud or a sour spot in our lives. Unless it’s resolved, it’ll keep building up for you. Eventually, if you’re not careful, you’ll wake up hating your job or stewing in your frustration without even doing anything!

The first thing to do is notice the signs. I’ve been unhappy with my current job for a bit now but only recently realized I need to just move on and do something else. I’ve considered the other options but I feel like moving on is the best way to go. I’ve had days where I don’t want to do anything but need to head out of the house while the realtor hosts the open-house. For this little nudge, I just decided to roll with it and do something different like go to the beach. If I remain at the job, I’ll be unhappy. If I tried to stew in annoyance at leaving the house when I’d rather relax at home, I’d end up with a terrible day. Instead, these situations (or at least my feelings about them) are turning around!

So try to listen to life and learn how to accept the situation and roll with it to find the best solution for yourself. Often, you’ll come out the other side much better off! It doesn’t have to be a big issue for you to make the most of it!

Good luck fuzzbutts!

Wednesday Tailtip: Even More Online Courses

Hi fuzzbutts!

I’ve mentioned online courses before. There’s things like Coursera which aren’t accredited courses but will teach you a variety of skills. I like Coursera since just about every single class is completely free (unless you want to pay a fee for it to show up on your transcripts and your LinkedIn profile). There’s also lots of stuff on youtube from a wide swath of people so you can try to find somebody who trains well. The only disadvantage to Youtube is that ANYONE submits stuff and some teachers are much better than others in terms of both content quantity and quality.

One site I recently discovered is Udemy. I had heard of it before but I decided to check it out yesterday and saw some courses have dozens of hours of content, lots of positive reviews, and were dirt cheap ($12 for a 70 hours course). Then I realized this was a site-wide sale for yesterday and today. What luck! I bought like 9 courses, some related to my professional development and others related to my personal goals like drawing and singing (Did I ever mention I’d like to get better at singing? Not a specific goal but an overall thing I like I try sometimes). I assume the majority of people who read my blog might not catch this particular sale by the time they read this but I wanted to put this out there as an option since I’m now going to keep Udemy on my radar for future sales and courses I might want to take.

In other news, it’s a week late but I’m happy to report that my latest digital artwork I submitted on FurAffinity reached 34 favorites, finally reaching my goal of reaching 30 faves with one of my art pieces. Heck I also got 4 watchers after posting that one too! I want to keep improving my art so I’ll set up a new SMART goal for my drawing goals!

Replacing Bad Habits

Hello fuzzbutts!

Oh you read that this will be about bad habits and probably a hundred things flooded into your brain that you currently do. Habit of eating junk food? Drinking too much coffee? Bouncing around the various video games you own rather than working on your goals?

We all have bad habits. Even the best the fandom has to offer have at least a bad habit or two they could identify. It stinks because we know we shouldn’t do it but we do. Then we beat ourselves up a bit for it anyway. A personal example I have is that I went running yesterday. I was doing well and decided I want to cut down a little bit of weight and carry less fat. So I ran as hard as I could and thinking to myself “Less sweets, less fat, less junk.” So what happens when I get to work? Somebody brought donuts! Without even thinking, I grabbed one and wolfed it down. I wasn’t even thinking. It was just an automatic response to what happens when I see free donuts after years of going in and grabbing a donut if there were any available. This is a deeply ingrained habit that I have to work on if I want to lose some weight.

Studies have shown that going cold turkey on a habit, whether it’s smoking or even snacking, rarely works. You’re so focused on resisting it that the temptation just builds up until you break down. The true solution from these studies is that you need to replace the habit with something else.

One thing for me would be that I already try to make plain oatmeal every morning at work unless I’m not hungry or somebody brought bagels and donuts. The habit I should cultivate is to ALWAYS make oatmeal. Two reasons: 1- I’ll always end up eating it. 2-After eating oatmeal, I won’t be so tempted to grab a sugary treat. The only thing I need to do is have some quality oatmeal on hand which is something I already have the habit of keeping.

For video games, I end up having similar issues. I have all these unplayed games and occasionally I’ll want to install all of them and just have them there at the ready. Instead of working toward my goals, I might fire up a game. With so many to choose from, it’s easy to put off serious work. So, obviously, the point is to keep 1 or 2 games tops on the computer. If you want to play something else, you need to re-download and wait. That extra obstacle will make it easier to choose the things that are actually important to you.

So what’s something you’re doing that you’d like to stop? What’s an option you can try to replace it with? It won’t be easy. After all, preparing oatmeal is more work than plucking a donut out of a box! However, if it’s really worth it to you and your ideal furry life, you’ll do your best and it will get easier over time.

Good luck out there, fuzzbutts!