August 15, 2012

How to be a Happy Freelancer: Part 3

Plunging into Loneliness

You work from home.

You are your own boss.

You are free.

But also alone.

So very, very alone.
You are utterly alone in this apartment.

For many hours...

a l o n e .

So how do we deal with this?

Dance break.

My butt gets really sore sitting in one of two chairs all day: my computer chair or the one at my drawing table.

As such, I need to get up and move every once in a while.

As I'm moving around, I'm actually figuring out problems:

I also love being active (running, yoga, swimming, etc)  The adrenaline rush also gets me revved up for another long work session.

I have different mixes for different projects:

  • Frankenstein Mix: ambient, dark, dream-scape stuff to put me in the right frame of mind (post WWI German Expressionistic)
  • The K.O. Mix: super upbeat, electro house mix to get me pumped
  • The Warrior Mix: power-house music for when I need to feel like a champ
♪ ♫ I'll post one next week! ♪ ♫


It's hard to set a schedule when you don't know what your week will look like.  Someone may call me up and need something ASAP, so things get shuffled all the time.

My typical work week is Monday - Friday, working 9am - 6/7pm on :
  1. client projects
  2. lesson plans
  3. researching art directors / new illo prospects
  4. doing my own PR
  5. making new art for a gallery / my web store
  6. my Frankenstein graphic novel
But I try my best to put these things:
  • Monday is AM Run
  • Tuesday is Cook Something with Billee Day
  • Wednesday is AM Yoga
  • Thursday is Dig Out Music Haven't Heard in Forever Day
  • Friday is Skype with Mai + Dinner with my Husband

and everyday I listen to Japanese TV / news so that I'm passively learning while working. [Immersion is the only way to learn a language, I can tell you that.]

You are not a hermit
Freelance is hard when you feel like you're making work in a vacuum.

But you don't have to!  

You can : 
  • get a studio with other friends or professionals
  • have weekly video-chat critiques
  • put people on speaker phone while you work
  • work at a cafe or library to break up the monotony 

The internet is the bane of the freelancer's productivity, it will shoot it in the heart and your daily work goal will die a painful death.

But that doesn't mean you can't reverse the power - the internet doesn't control you - you control the internet.

I love to Skype with my friends in Japan or have old college buddies on speaker phone.  I am not a mountain hermit and I don't want to be one.  I like people.

Of course, you can't do this for 6 hours - you have to focus at some point - but there are times when you just can't take it anymore, and if you don't get some kind of human contact you are going to lose it - then you should make a point to rejoin society.

Next time: 
Dealing with Clients & Criticism


  1. DANCE BREAK! Lol nice. I really like this post. Even though I'm not a freelancer, being the only one at my apartment in the summer gets pretty quiet and lonely.

  2. I LOVE THIS SERIES! You are so wise and inspiring, woman! xo ;-)

  3. I love this post, and just discovered your work! Yay!