Thursday, November 15, 2012


Being a freelancer is not always an easy thing. I experience it in two forms - my day job at Steven Edsey & Sons, and with my illustration career. Everyday is an adventure - and not always a good one.

There are times when freelancing seems exciting - work is coming in, projects are new and interesting, more people notice your work, and things are generally on the upswing. You feel on top of the world and there is nothing that can't be accomplished. Things could not be better.

Then the opposite comes. Work dries up - usually because of something that has absolutely nothing to do with who you are and what you are doing, companies don't pay their bills, things you've worked on get stuck in Creative Hell and it looks like they will never see the light of day or a project is put "on hold" indefinitely. You feel as low as you can go - and then the bottom drops out. Things could not be worse.

Living as a freelancer is probably what being a manic depressive is like - you're either riding the wave of happiness or the wave of despair with nothing in the middle. Things go up and things go down. What's the best way to adapt to this? It seems that there are two choices: Be happy when things go well and angry when they don't or stay exactly the same no matter what happens. Neither choice really bodes well.

The truth is this: you cope with it the best way you know how. There is no one answer, no one solution. As time goes on and you see the repeating patterns, it should get easier. That doesn't mean it does.  It truly is up to the individual who is being affected by the changes.

The only thing I can say is that the worst thing a freelancer can do is loose his or her head. Clients, editors, job givers of all kinds remember things about a freelancer: They remember that the person is reliable. There are many freelancers who are not. They remember if the person is easy to work with. There are many freelancers who are not. They remember what a person says publicly. People who go on social media such as blogs, Facebook, Twitter, ect. and trash other people - like clients, other creators, members of their audience,  projects they want to work on, political figures, or ANYONE - instantly show potential job givers that they are not to be trusted. A freelancer who lives inside his or her head must recognize the fact that the world does not stop at what their limited point of view is, they are not always right, and not everyone thinks the same way they do.

Being a freelancer is one of the hardest things in the world. A person truly leans that the only person they can rely on is themselves. It is not fun or easy, but it is a reality that just about everyone in the creative community gets to experience.