Motivate yourself!

Working at your own pace can prove to be quite difficult sometimes. When it comes to my creative endeavors I am my own boss, which means no deadlines, no briefs, no actual boss. I am naturally a very self-motivated person and I find myself doing multiple things at the same time. Thanks to the flexibility of my day job I can easily maneuver between doing my master’s degree, various courses (now it’s mental health, hr and pr courses) and planning to open yet another business – for now there are only plans and even more courses! But how do you stay motivated in the world filled with day jobs leaving you little to no time to relax and have a breather? Let me give you some tips!

  1. Working on a project doesn’t always mean getting stuff done – make a list of things that you need to get done in order to be able to sit down and start actually working. It may be something like getting more pencils and paper from your local shop or drafting a plan of dealing with everything. Get a scrapbook and make your mind map for the project, it makes it easier to keep on top of things!
  2. Every little bit helps – if you find yourself stuck at some point look for inspiration in different places. My current go to are online forums with fellow creators. My favourite one at the moment is the Dots. It’s a platform for creatives run by an amazing creative Pip Jamieson. You can ask the creative community questions, read posts and project plans by other creatives and simply get engaged!
  3. Webinars – in the age of global pandemic there are more and more online webinars which are easily accessible, all you need is a laptop and the access to the internet! Many creatives and entrepreneurs make free webinars where they talk about their craft and how they got started. For example Sophia Amoruso is holding a free webinar on 5 Things you need to know to start your business today this Thursday! If you’d like to sign up for the webinar click HERE.
  4. Set little goals for yourself – I love the feeling of crossing out things I did from my to do list. It gets me going and keeps me motivated. In order to be pushed forwards and not held back by your own lists make sure that what you write down is not a goal that would take weeks or months to achieve. Start small, even with a breakfast plan or morning meditation and grow from there. You need to make sure you know what to do to get to your final goal and not get demotivated by the amount of work you need to put in to get there.
  5. Treat yourself – I can’t stress this enough – happy and comfortable person equals more shit done. Don’t stress yourself, don’t overwork yourself and always put yourself and your well-being first. Make sure you know why you’re doing what you’re doing, eat that chocolate, go watch a movie, buy that book, go out with friends. Things we enjoy doing are not a distraction but a treat and sacrificing doing something that brings you joy to throw yourself into a spiral of constant work has never done any good to anyone…

Keeping yourself motivated can be a hard full time job. It is necessary to remember that we are allowed to have a day off and just… breathe!

We don’t earn aloe vera

In this post I’d like to share with you my experience and things I’ve learnt (and constantly keep learning) as an art student/freelancer. I think it might be helpful to those of you who are just starting in the business but I would also really appreciate some feedback from more experienced artists. I’d really like to open a discussion here because even if “freelancing” starts with “free” there are some rules and guidelines which we should keep in mind.

My freelancing patch is very broad. From selling paintings, creating works made especially for an order, caricatural/comic-like portraits to murals and videos. Am I proud of all the works I’ve done? Hell no. But some of them were pretty great. So let’s talk art freelancing:

1. You’ve got to be flexible. Do you think that the greatest of all – Diego Velázquez – felt the great urge to create so many portraits of Philip IV of Spain? Nope. I don’t think so. Our clients pay and have certain demands so we’ve got to be smart enough to do what they want but in a way that also doesn’t make us cry while working. My hack to do that: negotiating and not procrastinating. Putting off the work that you don’t really enjoy might make you fall into a huge rabbit hole. Remember, you should always do your work up to standards but if you don’t enjoy working on a said project – rip off that band-aid as soon as you can, simply – just get it done.

2. That brings us to the big green subject of money. Discussing payment usually sucks. On one hand if you’re a student some of the clients might not treat you seriously. On the other hand – maybe you don’t treat yourself seriously enough to ask for money? Remember, always before you start working or buying materials ask about the budget. It’s not being greedy it’s called having respect for what you do. What to do if you’re not sure how much is your job worth? I usually start with the subject of materials, sometimes it might get quite expensive. I also try to count hours I will spend on creating. And then, a thing that’s essential and I recommend to you all: discussing the pay with art professors, other artists. Just to make sure that everything is reasonable and beneficial for both sides.

3. Recognize the differences. In your creative job there are going to be situations in which you will have to decide if a project is worth investing your time if it’s not a paid gig. Some projects are definitely worth it! If they are connected with the art world, bring you contacts, marketing opportunities and additionally you can place them in your portfolio it’s definitely worth it! Maybe you and your friends are a group of people who just want to do something great (just like us, My Best team). Try it and I promise you won’t regret it. Sometimes it’s about what you love doing and about exploring opportunities as a creative group. And who knows, maybe someday it will be your golden ticket to doing the job you love.

4. But be careful with people who will try to give you unfavourable *trashy* propositions. Last week I got a call from a woman who claimed to be interested in buying my painting, telling me that she can give me a creative job. She invited me to a meeting at her private house with a group of women where we would talk about our professions and do home spa. The whole thing seemed stinky from the very beginning. I decided not to go and confronted her through the phone. It turned out that she wanted me to sell “natural” cosmetics and that she would give me aloe vera in as a payment for the painting. Guys, don’t get trapped like this. Art job is like any other. We don’t earn aloe vera.

5. There are going to be great people on your path and I can’t stress it enough that it’s crucial to keep in touch with them after your engagement is over. Keep inviting them for your vernissages, exhibitions, art events. If they enjoyed working with you the first time it’s very possible they will want to try that again or they will tell their friends about you. That’s how you build a network and in the mysterious environment of art- it’s a crucial element.

Keep creating, stay healthy,

Maria

Working and… working?

During the lockdown I’ve spent my free time doing what I’m truly passionate about – reading, writing, editing, I have finally started the magazine you are currently reading. A lot of good things came out of the lockdown, I have all the time in the world to simply create all day every day and do all the courses I could think of. Then the 4th of July happened and with my freshly washed uniform I went back to my day job since I don’t make enough money from commissions and the magazine at the moment is mostly a hobby that adds to my bills. I work in a chain pub in the town centre, honestly, I was really looking forward to going back to work after three months of being sat at home. However that meant that I will have less time for my creative work, which at first didn’t seem to be that obvious to me.

We have reopened almost a month ago and I haven’t submitted any of my poems to any competitions or poetry magazines. I haven’t written a single article as a ghost writer and I have not had enough time to reply to all of the emails as quickly as I used to before 4th of July. The lack of time for something that used to be my entire world for the past three months made me think that I’m doing something wrong. It made it difficult to enjoy my day job, even though I adore people I work with, they never fail to put a smile on my face and they are very supportive when I tell them about my creative work.

This is one of the issues a lot of creatives face. When we just start off in the world of creative industry it can be hard to find a job in the art world that pays you well enough to support yourself only from doing art. Apart from pursuing our passion we also need to support ourselves and yes, we won’t have that much time for being sat at home creating but with good time management one can achieve equally as much with a full time position, which pays for your bills. I’m lucky enough to be equally happy at my day job as I am as a creative – that’s a first piece of advice – find a day job that makes you want to wake up in the morning and go to work. No matter what you do for a living if it doesn’t make you happy you have to change it!

Plan your days off and days when you’ve got a late start. I don’t always have to wake up at 8am bu I do. Why? Because if I start at 3pm I still have time to do some social media marketing for the zine or reply to some emails. I have enough time to get ready, have breakfast, work on my creative projects and then go to work. Since I usually write at night if my partner isn’t home I will spend good 2 hours working on the book I’m currently writing. As long as you want to find time for your projects, trust me, you will. Go, get yourself a planner, calendar, notebook. Write down what you want to do during your day off. Make the points very specific so that you have ten tasks to do and then cross out half – amidst creative jobs and working day jobs don’t forget you also need to rest.

Take care of yourself, get those bills paid, stay safe and stay creative!