So you have some down time eh? You’ve been pacing the floor, obsessively checking email, conjuring up clients etc and still nothing is coming your way? Welcome to the harsh reality of freelance life. Sometimes shit will be so hot that you can barely sleep: you’re high on life and you’re convinced that this is it! You’ve finally made it! Hot damn! But then, a week later, you’re sitting around wondering why you weren’t invited to the party this time. Bummer.
Now there are the usual recommendations for what to do with your free time: put together a test shoot or personal project, update your website, work on your advertising strategy, write a new blog post, update your social media, etc. But WHAT IF you have already done those things? Gah!!!
Things not to do:
2.) Repeatedly call/email people until they no longer want to talk or work with you
3.) Have an existential crisis
4.) Stalk an art director’s online profiles
6.) Consider giving up and looking into that teaching gig your dad mentioned
I did ALL these things at some point in my career. All of them.
My boyfriend kept telling me I needed to get a hobby. “Yo- you don’t understand I made my hobby MY CAREER. I’m living the dream!” This was apparently not an acceptable answer.
Obviously not all of us can afford to take vacations when we have a substantial amount of time “off.” So I asked some trusted fellow Fstoppers what they do in these periods of down time.
Things TO DO:
1.) Sometimes it's a good idea to use this down time to learn a new skill. David J Crewe says he likes to, "research, read books on my peers/idols/dreams and watch tutorials to enhance my skills as a business owner and artist." It's important to both know the past, and prepare for the future.
2.) The world is full of things we haven't seen before, and the more we see, the more we can build up our inspiration bank. Peter House says, "When I have a spare moment I will hop in my car and head north into the open country." I've lived in LA for the better part of a decade now, and I know there are things within driving distance that I haven't explored. I'd be willing to bet it's the same for most people. You may even find a great location for a future shoot!
3.) Clay Cook says he, "Loves to hang with friends in the creative community." This is one of my favorites. Instead of comparing yourself to other photographers and wallowing in envy and what not, get to know your fellow photographers. Often we are all going through similar struggles and it's nice to feel that sense of community and have people to talk to about both the positive and the negative aspects of our careers.
4.) Pinterest is amazing people. Amazing. I have never gotten so much inspiration in one place.
5.) Contribute to your community. I've been volunteering at spcaLA for about six months now, and man is it relaxing and fulfilling. And every once in a while, I get to take pictures of the dogs and cats available for adoption. It's a win-win. With all the "glamour" in my photography life, it is nice to feel grounded.
6.) If all else fails, it is completely ok to watch TV or play video games once in a while. Or go for a pointless walk. Burnout is real folks. Don't be afraid to chill out. For me, the best ideas often come to me when doing the most mindless things. :)