How to be a Happy Freelancer
August 22, 2012 7:30 am
By: Veronica Fish
So I’ve been thinking a lot about my life, what I do … why I do it … and if I’m happy doing it – I think I am, no I’m pretty sure I’m happy, because if I wasn’t I’d have stopped this crazy gig a long time ago.
I thought I’d share a 5 part series
on what I’ve learned in 5 years
of being a freelance artist.
It’s hard. And wonderful. And completely unstable, but I can’t seem to give it up.
Going to work… in your house
Work in your work area. Play outside of it.
- I eat only in my kitchen, never in front of my computer or drawing table
- I don’t work out in here any more, either
- And it’s not a place to hang out when I’m done
I have to feel like I’m going to work. Working from home, your house gets smaller and smaller. You start to feel like you spend all your time here and the cabin fever can strike at the worst moments.
Personally, I have to feel like it’s not actually in the apartment.
I clean my studio on Sundays so it’s fresh for Monday morning, and I keep lots and lots of plants around for clean air.
My studio is filled with just stuff I need:
- art supplies
- reference materials
- wall calendar to keep deadlines in check
If I wouldn’t have it in a cubicle, I probably wouldn’t bring it in here.
[ Okay, with the exception of my giant pink foam skull. I ♥ that thing. ]
And my dog gets to sleep at my feet, that’s nice, too.
We’re fortunate enough to live in an apartment big enough for us to have our own workspaces.
If you don’t have this situation, you and your partner will have to come to an understanding about your work.
When you are in your studio, it’s work time.
It was hard to tell my family “No, I can’t do it right now, I’m working” when they knew perfectly well “Veronica is at home.”
Be honest, tell them that you’re really at work, they’ll understand.
Walnuts, Pebbles + Sand
Don’t give yourself too much to do in a day.
I used to have a terrible habit of making a To-Do list, and ALWAYS adding something whenever I crossed something off! How impossible!
It also lead to the feeling that I NEVER accomplished anything! When in fact, I had done a great deal.
For me, only 3 goals-a-day is manageable and they are executed well.
This motivational speaker [Floyd Wickman] on the radio said:
“You have walnuts; those are the big things you HAVE to accomplish now. Then you have pebbles; those are the things you have to get done soon. Then you have sand; all the little stuff you don’t have to do right now.
The glass holds as much as you can accomplish in a day.
If you pour the sand in first, then the pebbles on that, then the walnuts on that – they don’t fit right, and the walnuts spill out.
If you put the walnuts in first, the pebbles next, then sand fills the rest, they fit together perfectly.”
So yeah, walnuts -
tackle work in order of importance
- walnut // Pencil Frankenstein page 99
- pebble // put Talia drawing on eBay
- sand // tweak website coding
CRACK THAT WALNUT. I could tweak my website ALLLL DAY and never get anything else done.
Don’t put anything off – EVER! Your time is super important!
In fact, your time is MORE important than people with hourly wages – because when you DON’T work you are making zero.
When people in an office don’t work, they still make their rate.
So you can’t afford to Tumblr right now!
At least not until 5:01.
Then go for it.
Veronica Fish is a freelance illustrator and comic artist, based in Massachusetts. A contributor to galleries across the US, her work has been exhibited in Los Angeles, Boston, New York and London. She continues to work in comics with writer JJ Kahrs on Pirates of Mars. She is working on graphic novels Sherlock Holmes: The Southampton Horror, and an adaption of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein to be released October 2012.
Clients include Seltzer Goods, Wired Magazine, Mowgli Surfwear, Colombia Magazine, The Girl Scouts of America, Quintet Publishing of London.
She lives with her husband Andy and their dog Allie Oop.
Republished with permission from Veronica Fish (website here).