So, I’m coming to the close of my first year as a full-time artist. That’s right – I’ve been my own boss all year – woohoo! I excitedly imagined this year as a never-ending amount of time I would have to do anything I’ve ever wanted to do in the past but couldn’t because of daytime time constraints. More than one person conspiratorially whispered to me that “it seems like you’ll have so much time when your kids are all in school, but you really don’t have that much more time.”
I’m embarrassed to admit that I thought the people saying that just weren’t making good use of their time (!!) Even those 2 days a week when my kids previously went to preschool ended up being a solid chunk of productivity if I planned ahead. Wouldn’t working as a full-time artist translate into months and months of unbridled creative productivity with my newly-found cornucopia of time?!
Probably the overwhelming majority of artists have, at some point in their career, worked a regular job. Remember that job where you could do all sorts of non-work related stuff while you’re on the clock? Yeah, me neither. Same thing with this job of being a full-time artist! My work day is still just that – a work day. But now I’m doing exactly the creative work I’ve dreamed of doing for a long time.
My previous artist work habits leaned more towards a hobbyist’s approach towards my art – heaving a huge sigh of relief when I finished a painting or art-related project. I would overindulgently give myself at least a week to recover before I started on a new project – ha! I’ve had to adjust my transition time in between projects dramatically now that I’m working as a full-time artist.
Just like a “regular job” has deadlines that have to be met, so does a full-time artist. If I didn’t meet my art deadlines before the kids came home from school, I worked overtime, beginning when they got home from school. What if my artwork still wasn’t done after their dinner, baths, and putting them to bed? Yep, that meant still more working on art. Somehow this realization surprised me, but once I finally got it, my art production mushroomed.
This Golden Year dedicated to working as a full-time artist has been a priceless treasure. I’ve learned so much about time-management, creating and meeting goals, making art, and balancing being my own boss with what I wanted to get done.
Now that I’ve figured out what I do and don’t have time for during the day, I would TOTALLY hire myself. Because, in the end, I figured out that as a working artist, you ARE hiring yourself.
Artists, looking realistically at how you’re spending your day, would YOU hire yourself? What changes would you make? Are you approaching your art as a hobbyist or as a working artist? I would love to hear your answers in the comments – thanks!