I think I ought to provide a personal update to all of you, just to vent all my thoughts somewhere and to explain my recent activity.
Like many of you, 2020 was not kind to me. While I fortunately haven't been directly impacted by COVID yet, the pandemic amplified some minor personal missteps to the point where I'm extremely anxious about my future.
I'm a college student, and I'll have a bachelor's in engineering in May. My GPA is phenomenal, but I fear that's all I have going for me. The thing that really matters are connections, as well as the early experiences that connections help with. I don't have that. I'm quite shy and never put myself out there to anybody in the industry or professors, nor do I come from a family of engineers who can get me a job through nepotism. Either it was too late when I realized that connections were at least as important as grades, or I willingly buried my head in the sand. By the time I was planning to sort myself out and put myself out there, COVID hit, putting an end to physical interaction and any shot at an internship last summer, which I was really counting on. More recently, I've all but canned some plans that I had for grad school. I don't feel like it's worth it in the position I'm in. Thus, I've jumped right into finding jobs, and it's tough. I imagine it's a mix of a bad economy and just not knowing how to do it since I've never been hired for a competitive position. I'm gonna need a lot of luck.
I know I'm not alone, but it weighs heavily on me. Sometimes it overwhelms me. When I think about it, I feel bad to do anything else to enjoy myself (especially art), but at the same time I feel defeated and discouraged from trying, so it becomes a vicious cycle.
I fell off hard in the second half of last year. ATG last June burned me out. By the time I recovered from it, my computer broke. And by the time my computer was fixed and I was getting back into art again, the semester started. It wasn't even a particularly hard semester, but I just struggled with time management. This break between semesters (started a month ago, ending very soon) hasn't been too productive either. There's still lots that I want to do (OC development, learning to draw backgrounds once and for all, collabs, anthro, non-pony, just some good ol' canon ponies more than once every few months, reviving that kinky alt of mine I've mentioned here once, and probably more), but I just struggle to focus on it with the world weighing on my mind.
A few months ago, I opened commissions. If any of my commissioners are reading this, thank you again for buying one. I was a little disappointed with the demand I got for them, but I figure it was mostly because when I opened them and ever since, I've barely ever been drawing. I might not have been able to handle a lot of commissions anyways. For now though, commissions are closed, and I'm not sure when they'll open back up.
I've been becoming more closed off online (and offline probably) over the past few months. Again, it has to do mostly with poor time management and stress. I treasure many of my past interactions, and I'd love to talk to more people online, but I just struggle to balance it all. If I've drifted away from you lately, it's not anything to do with you. Maybe I'll be able to get back out of my shell soon.
Twitter bothers me a lot. Actually, nearly all of the art sites bother me, but Twitter bothers me most. First of all, it's one of the greatest hotbeds of toxicity ever. Even outside of a strictly political sense (which needs no elaboration, but I must say makes me fear for the world's future), it still leads to all sorts of unwarranted harassment that isn't good for society. I'm looking at you, "Trixie is trans" folks. That drama, along with the Capitol stuff, is the straw that broke the camel's back for me. Secondly, it just isn't an art site. People use it because others use it and because it has porn. That's all. There's no organization on Twitter, and stuff just gets easily lost to time. And yet, some artists not only put up with Twitter, but can't get enough of it. They get caught up in trends that spam my feed. They get caught up by numbers. They use fleets, which is just the dumb corporate "stories" fad imported to Twitter, and doesn't even appear on desktop (which is both a blessing and a curse). Some call themselves "Twitter artists", letting it form their identity. But really, I can't blame these people, and if I described you, I don't mean to cause offense. The toxic hellhole of Twitter just shows no mercy in corrupting reasonable people. And the people who run Twitter love every single bit of it. Fuck Twitter.
I don't want to support Twitter, and I've been considering abandoning it, even if it means losing most of my following. I have a few artist friends who don't actively use Twitter and they live, though frankly they have less of a following, so there's less pressure there. However, the main reason I stick around is because so many artists only use Twitter, so that's where I can see their art. If I do leave it, an idea I've been considering is doing a raffle on all of my other sites. Not only would it encourage a few people to follow me on new sites, but maybe, just maybe it would encourage people to use sites other than Twitter. Still, I would need to either say goodbye to a lot of art or browse Twitter without actually using it (RSS? Keep the account to browse but not interact?).
It sucks though, because besides Twitter, where else is there? I've been getting more and more fed up with DeviantArt, my second most popular page, seemingly purposely killing their website. Tumblr is already dead, and if Pillowfort is supposed to be mimicking Tumblr, then it mimics Tumblr's inactivity best. I created a Newgrounds account recently and it actually seems pretty decent for art, but it too is dead. I've always been heavily active on Derpibooru, but that lacks the features of a full-fledged art site and has its own drama. As an aside, I actually joined staff there pretty recently. I understand that some people may not be happy with that site or its staff, and sometimes I'd agree with you, but it's been so incredibly valuable to me in exploring the pony fandom that I felt obligated to help it out, and I hope you can accept that. Anyways, Inkbunny looks like it'd be great if it weren't for all the... y'know. FurAffinity exists I guess. And Instagram is just Twitter but worse. I'll never touch it.
If you read everything up to here, or at least skimmed it thoroughly enough to understand, thank you.