Free Time

5 Oct

All we have to do is decided what to do with the time that is given us. ~ J. R. R. Tolkien

When I was in grad school, Professor Dick Krepel told us that out in the real world there would be time to fill between jobs. “That’s when you clean your studio,” he said. “You know it’s messy. When else are you people going to clean up?”

He was right, of course. (Dick was right about everything.) Recently, having finished a barrage of book assignments, I took his advice. A few hours later, sitting in the middle of my pristine studio I wondered, “What next?”

There are a multitude of tasks that need to be handled between professional illustration assignments:  receipts need filing, portfolio sites need updating, and that unfinished book dummy calls from the shelf, “Pay attention to me!” What to do first? What is most important?

Obviously if there is no paid work to be done, attracting a NEW assignment is Priority One. For me, this process begins by making new work for my website. I use printing guidelines from a favorite print shop so that I can turn one of my new illustrations into a mailer. When completing the order I generally choose the slowest possible shipping option—to save money, and to buy a little time. Because time is always in short supply.

While waiting for the cards to arrive, I update my website and my mailing list, a combined task which, for me, takes a couple of weeks. Seriously. If I rush, I make mistakes. Putting sub-par work on my site, or mis-labeling postcards (or, sending cards to clients who would most likely not be interested in my work) are mistakes that could hurt my pocketbook and ultimately my career. Evelyn Underhill wrote, “Hurry and impatience are sure marks of the amateur.” She wasn’t kidding.

When the postcards finally arrive from the printer, labeling and stamping them usually takes me a day or two. The drive to the post office with the completed batch is pretty exciting. The way I see it, once the cards hit the mail box, the whole thing is in God’s hands.

Meanwhile, back in the studio while I wait for the phone to ring, I spend my days making more new work, promoting it via Twitter and facebook, and organizing those dreaded receipts. And yes, I tidy up. Again.

Free time? Who has free time?

One Response to “Free Time”

  1. Charla Pettingill October 5, 2012 at 2:09 pm #

    Another helpful post!! Thanks, Violet! 😀

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