You should be working...

Why I'm not enjoying the sunshine

Steve Bentley

5/19/20243 min read

I’m Sitting in my yard, enjoying the first real week of warm weather. The sun feels good and it’s just nice to be outside after all the rain. My plan was to read but by book lays forgotten in my lap as I watch my dog run laps around the garden as he gets the zoomies out of his system. All of this I am enjoying and yet, at the back of my mind I’m thinking you should be drawing. You have a deadline. This is the curse of freelance work.

I know how lucky I am to be in a position where I can do this. It’s great to have a deadline, it means I have work. So, while I’m enjoying the dog and the sun on my face, I know I’m going back inside soon, and I’ll be at my drawing board with my head down working in about 10 minutes. That’s what it the way it has to be, because there will be days and weeks with no work. Then I can sit in my yard, but then I’ll be thinking, I should be inside looking for the next job. Promoting myself and my work ,staying up to date on the social media. What I guess I am saying is there really is no downtime, it really is a 24/7 kind of life and once you have set foot into it then there really is no looking back.

Don’t get me wrong there are so many benefits. Setting my own schedule and being my own boss are highlights. There are however lots of drawbacks. Financial worries and a constant nagging doubt that I have made a tremendous error and that I really am wasting my time, because I am not good enough.

These doubts are my constant companions. I can see them, they sit at the back of my mind., in cheap deckchairs. They periodically nudge my brain and chuckle as they say, “Don’t forget about us, still here” and with a cheery wave they relax back into their seats making themselves comfortable until the next time they decide it’s time to throw in their two cents worth.

The way I deal with it is to set up a routine for my day. Treat it like any job. In the morning when I get up, I look at the social media and go through emails get that over with. Then It’s job hunt time. I cannot imagine what this process was like before the internet. I like to set myself a goal of sending out at least a handful of emails, to see what is out there and who is taking submissions. Then I go paint or draw for the rest of the day, working on whatever project I happen to have or if not then a portfolio piece. That can potentially put out on that voracious beast that is the internet. Everything I create now always has the potential to be a promotional piece. I am just starting out and I feel like everything has to be working towards being successful. That means I am up till 2 or 3 in the morning, and I am always, always painting or drawing, it’s almost an obsession.

That being said, we all should stop and relax. Sit in the yard, enjoy the sun and watch the dog. Even if it’s only for 10 minutes and then remember as you walk back to your studio. You are doing this because you love to create, and you are lucky enough to be able to make this happen. So, ignore those two jackasses in their deckchairs telling you that you aren’t good enough. They are wrong. The work is hard and the hours are long but we love art and nothing can or should stop us making it.