I’m having a “I just want to quit this and write novels instead” moment.
This isn’t a “I want to change creative tracks to a more fulfilling or lucrative field” kind of emotion, but more along the lines of “I’ll be like Emily Dickinson and just create in secret, because interacting with the real world is too hard.” In other words, I want to give up.
I’ve felt like this pretty much solid the last two weeks, and each bit of hopeful “maybe this will help me feel better” thing I try has ended up being further ammunition for “I should quit while I still can.”
Any advice for getting through these phases? Has anyone felt similar?
I think most people who know me would be surprised that I’m struggling right now. I was a key speaker at the Las Vegas Science and Technology Festival’s big “May Science Be With You” event yesterday, and pulled off a rather fantastic demonstration with liquid Nitrogen:
Water goes in…
And 1 second later Science Mom disappears in a cloud.
At this “May Science Be With You” event I earned $30 from sales at my vendor table. I spent $32 on food at the same event to feed my three kids. And I spent $225 on supplies for the demonstrations and inventory for the table.
This kind of inabalance of spending almost 10x more than I earn has been haunting me all year, and I’ll be the first to own that part of my problem is reaching too big too fast. Last month I spent more than $1,000 hiring a professional makeup artist, because adding a Klingon alter-ego to my YouTube channel just called to me as being “the art I had to make!” After 5 hours in the makeup chair and a botched effort at fimling, I had to admit that I wasn’t ready and the concept wasn’t quite ready either.
But besides poor budget decisions like the above, I’m also feeling daunted/deflated by the shear size and scale of the funnel:
In the last 4 months alone I taught science lessons to more than 5,000 elementary age kids. The YouTube channel had more than 40,000 views and 500 new subscribers. I saw thousands of additional people at two homeschooling conferences I attended, and hundreds more at local events in Vegas. If the ratio of people who see me versus people who sign up on Patreon holds constant (50,000 to 34?), then I’ll literally need to reach millions of people before I’m able to pursue the creative projects I want without the constant stress of “Shoot! We’re going to be hit with another low balance fee in our bank account this month.”
I got notice this week that I didn’t make a fellowship I applied for and a different grant I submitted wasn’t funded. Bill Nye didn’t return my email. Yesterday I learned that the $350 Nevada Business License fee is an annual fee rather than a one-time fee, so there goes May’s budget.
All of this I could handle if I felt motivated to continue. But right now, I just don’t. I hesitated to post this because it is a bit of a rant/vent and complaining is generally not the most helpful of behaviors - plus I don’t want to appear ungrateful for the support I do have from Patrons - their contributions have been invaluable and they are the only reason I was able to make it through this year. But I thought perhaps it might be helpful to talk about. First, for others who are facing similar moments to know they aren’t alone, and second (and more importantly), I’m really hoping someone will have words of advice for how to keep going when you just want to throw in the towel.
Thanks for reading.