Creatives Need Hobbies. Here’s Why.
When you’re a freelance creative, chances are, your job is doing what you love. Congratulations!
You still need to love doing something else.
Doing what you love every day is a great privilege. And, chances are, you earned that! But, as is the nature of the world, anything you do for money eventually becomes work. And then the magic wears off.
Even sexy people have boogers
The first month of full-time freelancing is an absolute joy. I don’t have to tell you the benefits of freelance vs. employee life: You work from wherever you want, whenever you want, wearing whatever you want, eating snacks and taking breaks. It’s the dopeness.
Also, your freelance title is probably way cooler than whatever your employee title was.
However, eventually the tax man will call, and ‘sexy designer/copywriter/translator/et al’ doesn’t get any leniency from the tax man.
In this life, you are the sexy person, and taxes, paperwork, contracts, proposals et al are your boogers. You look super good from the outside, but you’ve got boogers, and sometimes they come out.
Basically, no matter who you work for or where you do it from, stress is stress.
When you’re up late making ends meet, that thing you love doing can pretty quickly become that thing you used to love doing.
Scary fact: You don’t have to be old to be burned out.
When you’re in love with what you do, sometimes it’s hard to stop doing it. That, combined with love of/need for $$$$, can make working too much a really big problem.
Saying no is a big issue for creative freelancers, for two reasons.
First of all, freelancing is often a ‘feast or famine’ kind of deal. You’ll have a few months of nonstop projects, and then a month or two of forced vacation.
It happens to everyone. You can expect it.
So, if you know that’s going to happen, how can you say no to a project? You have to save up for the dark times, right? Right. That’s the responsible choice.
Also, if you’re making the choice to go out on your own and, like, really do this, you probably love what you do to borderline obsessiveness.
So, if your passion is app design, and you’re already working 100000000 hours/week but someone comes by with the coolest app ever!!!!!!!, who expects you to turn it down? Not me. I get you.
Eventually, though, working all those hours will get you down.
You’ll miss your partner. You’ll miss your friends. You’ll miss the gym, reading books, sunshine, whatever you used to do for fun.
Unless you keep doing it for fun.
Scheduling time for the things that make you happy will not only keep you from working those way-too-many hours, but it will keep you away from the dreaded burnout.
Finding two things you love, and only taking money for one, will make your life balanced and whole.
The satisfaction of really working for yourself
When we say that, as freelancers, we work for ourselves, we all know it’s kind of a lie.
Maybe we make our own hours and maybe we work from home but we also have deadlines to meet and emails to answer. At best, you’re working with a lot of people.
Hobbies, though, are yours alone.
You get to do something you love at your own pace, and the results are for you. It’s something private.
There’s no fear that the results will come out shit.
There’s no fear that the results will come out amazing and still your client won’t be happy.
There’s no fear, period. It’s a space for you to enjoy without stress.
Beyond the enjoyment, though, hobbies are for exploration. The career that you’ve chosen isn’t a whim; it’s something you know you’re good at.
Hobbies are a space where you get to play, and the results don’t matter.
Developing your creativity on the side, without stress or limits, will help you approach your work as another form of art — and not really work at all.
Make space in your life for something a little bit less serious, and you’ll find your whole attitude towards creativity changing. For the good.
Whether you’re ready to charge more or just getting started, if you’re ready to work hard and stay organized, The Pricing Class is for you.
Learn what you’re worth and don’t be afraid to ask for it. Keep your head straight and your business right — and your bank account will be singing in no time.
Shayna is the Head of Friendship at The nuSchool, doing all things blog/community/biz dev/fun. She's a freelance copywriter working in art and design, and has two dogs named Chuck and Alma.
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