In an age when we increasingly find inspiration in a feed of ephemeral images (Instagram, Pinterest) and news articles (Facebook, Twitter), it’s worth reflecting on the wisdom of some timeless quotes.
Being a creative - especially a freelance creative - is a wild, frenetic mess, with a million different “right” ways of doing things. Pick the advice that resonates with you and forget the rest!
“You can think of freelancing as volatile and risky, or as flexible and opportunity-rich. Doesn’t having multiple sources of income and multiple moneymaking skills sound less risky than putting all your eggs in one employer’s basket? Freelancing lets you shift gears when the world does.”
— Sara Horowitz
When you’re feeling uncertain about the economy and the state of your freelancing career, remember that the alternative—a full-time job—isn’t necessarily more stable. Moreover, the potential upside is lower. Freelancing stifles complacency and gives you the flexibility to grab opportunities of all kinds—do pro-bono work with a charity you admire, work in-house for a couple of months when you’re tired of working from home, or take a last-minute vacation.
“Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.”
Great work and the success that comes with it aren’t a guarantee based on your innate talent or past accomplishments. You have to get up every day and put in the time to make it happen.
“If you get one percent better each day for one year, you'll end up thirty-seven times better by the time you're done. This is why small choices don't make much of a difference at the time, but add up over the long-term.”
Incremental improvements compound over time. Organize your code a little better than the last project. Write that ad a little more concisely. Cut one extra tap from that UX flow.
“Instead of worrying about what you cannot control, shift your energy to what you can create.”
—Roy T. Bennett
You can’t control if your client will react to a color, a word, or a feature in a way you might find irrational. But you can take your experience, deliver good work, and know that you put yourself out there. And when paid work isn’t giving you latitude to create the kind of work that makes you excited—start a side project.
"And any claim I might make to ‘originality’ in my fiction is really just the result of this odd background: basically, just me working inefficiently, with flawed tools, in a mode I don’t have sufficient background to really understand. Like if you put a welder to designing dresses.”
You don’t have to do things the right way, you just have to do them the way that works for you. Have you ever found yourself reading an article on procrastination while trying not to procrastinate? Instead of trying to plan the perfect process and getting stuck trying to perfectly emulate the process of your heroes, throw yourself all the way in, go with your gut, and experiment to find out what works for you. Fly your freak flag.
“Be willing to be a beginner every single morning.”
– Meister Eckhart
“One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one’s work is terribly important.”
Don’t take your work too seriously. Work hard and find satisfaction in the process, but don’t lose your sense of humor along the way. The truth is, in 100 years, no one will remember the article you wrote, the checkout flow you designed, or the website you developed. There’s satisfaction in doing good work, but there’s no point in beating yourself up when it falls short of yours, your client’s, or the public’s expectations.
“You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”
Next time you feel creatively tapped out at the end of the day and want nothing more than to marathon The Great British Baking Show (no shade, Netflix has its place!), try sitting down with a pad of paper and marking instrument of your choice (pen, paintbrush, crayons, etc) and see what happens. You might be surprised to find that yes, you are tired, but the creative juice is still there, ready to flow whenever you want it to.
No matter what your process is or where you get your inspiration (even if you need to do in quarantine), Artisan’s here to connect freelancers with great projects.