A deliberate slow start of the new year

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.

Our new years wishes to friends and family obviously involved our ‘big plan’.
A little ‘making of’ of our Sardegna card: pen and ink and some hand lettering!

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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….
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
Practicing faces with Ana Santos’ Domestika course.
Testing watercolor techniques with Ana Santos.

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?

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2 thoughts on “A deliberate slow start of the new year

  1. Definately set up your website in Italian as well! That will make it much easier for locals who will find your business card in a local coffee shop next to your lovely cards, paintings and other handmade stuff. Go for it!
    Ps, congrats on your 10 year anniversary! (I am sure I forget about it in July).

    1. Italian!? I was thinking English 🙂 Ma, certo. Forse prima in inglese e poi in Italiano. È buono per pratticare! And thanks for the gli auguri, I’ll probably forget about it myself as well…

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