I’ve finally done it!
I’ve left teaching to set sail on a new career as a freelance illustrator/artist and whatever else happens along my way. It’s both exciting and scary.
A lot of things came together at once to get me to start a new path. Another bout of long-term illness being one, a good look at the amount of work available to me from existing editors/publishers being another.
I think the financial aspect of the change is the biggest scary thing I have to face. For 28 years I’ve been a teacher with a permanent contract that has a regular monthly salary attached to it.
Now, there’s no regularity in income, which is a tad scary when I stop and think about it in connection to my past. However, I am doing my best not to do that, to think positively about my future, a future that is so good for me in so many ways.
One excellent thing about it is being able to choose as and when I work. After 28 years of dancing to a regimented timetable and day the freedom is bliss! I can make use of when I’m inspired and full of energy and motivation. The deadlines I have to work to help with the focus, but I know that I do have a lot of flexibility in how I work to meet those deadlines. I also love the ability to have energizing afternoon naps when I need to!
Working from home is another plus. It’s been my refuge and place of safety and security for so long that it’s nice to be here. My cat really appreciates me being home too; at 14 years of age and a clingy pusscat with some health problems I’m happy to be with him. He’s good company and makes sure I go to bed at a sensible time; simply because he wants to cwtch up to me for his big nights sleeps.
Of course, the biggest wonderful thing about changing career is that I am doing something that I’m passionate about, that brings me joy and pleasure.
Not that teaching didn’t. It did, for a long time, but it’s time for me to change. I’m sure I’ll use my teaching skills in other ways as time goes on, but not in a school environment. However, for the foreseeable future I’m going to be focusing on my arty pursuits, as well as learning about a lot of things such as accounts and accountants (I have one, I just have to collect together all that she needs from me …) and get into a routine of keeping receipts and a log of journeys made in connection with my business.
My home as had a HUGE clear-out to make space for me to work in comfortably as well as to store all my arty crafty supplies and completed artwork and various forms of paperwork and so on. Eighteen years of accumulated stuff had to go as well as stuff I no longer need, value or find pleasure in. My niece helped, rather, did most of the work, and between us we were ruthless! There are still bits and bobs to sort out and do, but deadlines take precedence for the next couple of weeks or so! The clear out has me behind, eek! Luckily I have so good and understanding editors who always build wiggle room into contracts for me without telling me what that wiggle room is.
The process is mostly finished, but a deep clean is on the cards for soon, and some repairs need doing so I need to find reliable tradesmen who charge fair price and do a good job, something else I need to learn about!
It is all exciting.
Add to that there’s more colouring books and stamps coming out that I’ve done the designs for.
I’m currently working on a Tropical Rainforest themed colouring book for Skyhorse Publishing and the sixth in the series of the Color Me books along with Lacy Mucklow. The sixth book is appropriately named ‘Color Me Grateful’, and grateful is something I really am of my new career, my cleared out home, my family and friends who have helped in so many ways, and the many experiences from my past life as a teacher that have helped to get me to this point in my life, both good, indifferent and bad.
Friday last, I met up with a small number of colleagues from the school I taught at for 27 years for high tea in a local country house hotel. There was lots of laughter as we remembered the good times over those many years, not a lot of mention was made of the not so good times. All the characters we’ve worked with and known, both staff and students! It was good to do. I couldn’t go into the school for the official farewell gathering as my emotional/mental health isn’t strong enough for that yet. But a quieter gathering away from the school was perfect!
One other thing I do hope to do is to make more frequent blog posts once I find my ‘voice’ for my blog. I’m thinking of adding some tutorials to do with the arty stuff I do, maybe. Feedback or ideas are always welcome, whether for blog posts or ideas for future books, artwork themes and so on.