Freelancer’s Diaries: Artists, Personal Time & Creative Pursuits

I have this overly romanticized idea of artists. Flip through history books and there’s such a respect for them because they’ve influenced art, culture, politics, and most importantly, people.

Da Vinci, Adrienne Rich, Robert Frank, Andrea Arnold – I want to (eventually) be recognized with such a line up of artists. Overly ambitious, maybe.  Crazy, most possibly. But I’m going to ignore that. For now, the question is how to make that happen:

I’m in a pretty decent place in my life right now. I have a job at a small TV station and get regular work from them. I also get enough freelance gigs on the side to keep my weekends just as busy. But then, where’s the time to do the projects for… me? The projects that will help define my point of view and therefore shape my art.

I had no freaking clue so I started looking into books on creativity and productivity. Turns out, there’s a big industry for it already.

I stumbled upon Manage your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, & Sharpen Your Creative Mind by Scott Belsky and it really helped get me become more productive and confident and happier because I was working on the projects that mattered to me most.

I swear I’m not sponsored by the book (which would be rad but…) so I wont delve into the details that the book goes into. But basically, no matter how busy you may be, the most important thing is to MAKE TIME for the projects that truly matter to you.

How often is the freelance work you do at your job the work you actually truly want to do? Where I work, we have regular programs where interesting people come in and talk about the community but… I think the talk show format is… well… boring. I like seeing people in their natural environment, I like seeing real reactions, not prepared answers and I like lively camera work. A talk show is the complete opposite of all of that!

So to keep me sane and truly challenged, I’ve started a number of personal side projects that I genuinely wake up and look forward to working on. Some I have no idea if they’ll ever go anywhere and some I just have fun working on (with friends for example). The important thing is that I feel challenged and feel like I can develop my voice through writing and cinematography and editing (and whatever else) and therefore develop as an artist.

A professor-friend of mine once gave me some advice that felt crazy at the time but now makes complete sense. She was, essentially, quoting Buddha: “what we do today is what matters most.” As an artist, everything we do contributes to our art. So, do what matters most to you, everyday.


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