Yup, for the last three weeks or so, I've been employed as a manual notetaker at the University of Lincoln. ...Bloody hell.
I can hardly believe I've found a day job which is actually enjoyable and fulfilling. I'd always pictured myself in future years hunched behind the service window at a drive-through somewhere, plotting world domination and hating everything. For a start, I had no work experience (for various reasons) and no clear identifiable skills. The jobcentre was struggling with me, I could tell.
But if there's one thing I'm good at, it's the whole lecture thing - turn up, take notes, then piss off to the uni canteen for a sandwich. Thanks to the notetaker role I've been assigned, I can do that every day - the only difference is that the notes are more comprehensive, and I don't get to keep them.
Also, the lectures I'm required to attend are in different subjects, like Law, Business and Criminology. It's rather different from what we covered in my drama degree, but in terms of levels of academia, they're all about the same, and I can mostly keep up. All I struggle with is technical language. (What the hell is an ombudsman anyway? Sounds like a tomato juice brand. Ombudsman's Finest Tomato Juice! 100% organic!)
There are only a few downsides to the job, and I should know better than to complain, but sometimes it's frustrating being so close to the student environment again, yet totally unable to participate. I am no longer one of them. What's more, the students don't talk to me much, if at all, and my support worker status has already come up in seminars when a lecturer's tried to include me in group work. It's also rather a boon that I am so fascinated by the law lectures but can never apply my knowledge in the way these students can. But, again, I'm not complaining.
Has anyone noticed that my creative output has ground to a halt, as of late? Well, it has. I haven't had any sort of urge to draw, even though I have lots to do: the OFFS comic, page 2 of Horace, a tattoo commission, two hand-drawn portraits for competition winners on Facebook, a painting for a friend... I haven't done them.
And the weird thing is, I don't really want to.
I'VE LOST MY CREATIVITY!
How could this have happened? Am I emotionally fatigued from venturing into work every day? Is my hand strained from constant writing? Am I going through some kind of dissociation? (Am considering this more seriously now that I've spent 3+ days in odd, dream-like state). Or am I just turning into a lazy arsehole?
Well, I'm not about to nag you to nag me to get on with making art, because that's not up to you at all. But I'd like to ask a question, if I may: At what point did you begin to feel obligated to those who support your work?
(I'm mainly directing this question at artists with a significant following. For the record, I don't flatter myself that I have a fanbase. Anyone who liked my SKUL-MAN comics were fans of the original Skulduggery Pleasant series, not me. Anyone who likes OFFS is either a close friend, or an already well-established artist, apparently sympathetic to one so unpractised and unnoticed in the competitive, stormy aether that is deviantArt. Ahem.)