I’ve been living the freelance life for a few months now. Nowhere near long enough to feel experienced or comfortable with it. In fact, I feel like as time goes on, I realize how little I know about being a freelancer. I mean, I know the basics. How to make art (woo!). How to keep track of my bookkeeping responsibly, for taxes and such. How to work with clients. But.
Always a but.
The more I continue down this road the more I feel like I am not on the same playing field as most freelancers, both in terms of quality of work and networking. I don’t say this with the idea of fishing for compliments. I know my work is good and I’m proud of it. But it seems everywhere I turn, other people’s work is better. Other people have more established clients, have a set style, have a cohesive portfolio. I don’t have any of that. And I kind of don’t know where to start in order to get those things. Other than to keep creating.
Freelancing is never a guarantee. I know that, and I knew that going into it. There are often stretches of time with no work. At the beginning of the year, I worked steadily and it was great! In fact, I had paid work right through early March. But then that work ended. And now it’s early April. And I haven’t had paying work in three weeks. So my brain freaks out and says, Good job! You suck! Way to fail! Which I know isn’t true, I know there are so many ventures I haven’t even attempted yet, I know there are opportunities out there that I have to find, I KNOW all this, but it doesn’t help to silence that incessant voice.
The voice that constantly tells me I’m not good enough. The voice that says I can’t successfully be a freelance artist living in a small town in New Hampshire. The voice that says my family and in-laws think so little of me because I don’t have a ‘real’ job. The voice that tells me I’ll let my partner and daughter down. It’s an ugly fucking voice.
I’m realizing this post sounds really depressing, and I don’t mean it to be. I’m not depressed. I’m just…wanting more from myself. Wanting to be better. Wanting to have more paid work. Wanting to be able to shut off the voice in my head that says I don’t contribute, that I’m a financially useless part of my family. Wanting to say that I made this career a success.
So. Where to go from here? I will put on a smile and tell that voice to fuck off the best I can, and sometimes have a little meltdown about it. I will keep creating. I will keep making and working and seeking out opportunity where I can. I will do all that I can to make this freelance thing be a success.