January is a slow month. Every friggin’ year. And instead of enjoying the extra time I have, I start to worry. I’ll never land another job again. Everybody has forgotten about me. I’ll soon need to start spending my savings. How long could I last without work? I need to step up my game, adjust my portfolio, work on my skills. I am not that good anyway. I’d better start working really hard to improve. I could always get another day job. Or could I? I am too old and too expensive to work in a supermarket by now.
S T O P. I’ve been doing this freelance thing for 10 years, I officially started in July 2010. And never ever has there been no work for months. A few weeks of quiet times, sure. And then everything comes all at once and you wish for less work instead of more. I know this. But still.
I thought I would outsmart myself this time and give myself January off. No work inquiries coming in is all of a sudden a good thing. I don’t want to say no, so they better not ask. My mail box has been quiet this first week and I am actually enjoying the extra time without stressing.
What my January looks like this year:
- I am taking a Domestika course from Ana Santos at the moment, making a water color portrait. I am practicing with facial proportions as well as with watercolor techniques. And it feels like a hobby instead of work.
- I am completely digitizing all my paper admin, so I will be moving as little paperwork as possible to Italy. 2 years down, 5 to go.
- I am redesigning my portfolio website, making it more simple and obviously update it with my recent work. I intend to make it bilingual, but that may be in phase two….
- I will be visiting a museum each week. I plan to keep doing this way beyond January, making the most of it while we still can.
- I plan to take more online courses, via Skillshare. It’s like a gym membership: you pay every month, but you never go…. Of course this is way more fun than the gym. So it shouldn’t be that hard.
- I am continuing with cleaning out all of the clutter in our house. I would really like to have everything sorted out before we start packing up boxes and end up taking more with us then we need.
- I am doing a tiny bit of client work: I had a meeting yesterday and will be designing a newsletter next week. And another meeting planned for next week. Oops. Well… Let’s do the meetings while I am still in the country.
- And of course: Italian! It’s a lot harder to really sit down for a couple of hours each week without having a teacher to answer to… Self discipline. But I try to sneak in Italian in everyday things, like reading Italian articles online while researching housing, listening to Italian music, writing in Italian to inquire about apartments I found online.
I’ve seen a lot of colleague freelance creatives using January for experiments, self improvement and organizing. I guess it really isn’t just me. Are you having a quiet January as well?