This week, I’ve started work on a commission. This is the first time I have been responsible for not only the layout, but also the photographs. It’s a little bit harder to orchestrate, shoot and edit your own images but as expected the pay off comes in being complete creative control and ownership of the project. I still have quite a way to go – there’s 36 pages in total and not surprisingly it took a while for me to really nail down a time period for my quote (given that I haven’t ever charged for something like this).
It’s funny comparing the different approaches to work and time with my designing vs. my teaching. You’ll, without a doubt, hear teachers complaining that there just aren’t enough hours in a day. To be more specific, you can have around 45 minutes to cover a learning experience with a class. Miss one of those lessons and the entire learning program can be completely messed up. To make matters worse, the time you do have with a class is dictated by a timetable. Not in the mood to explain essay writing for the umpteenth time to breathing corpses at 2.55pm? Too frickin’ bad!
I’ve read about the importance of creating a schedule when you are freelancing. People starting out find that without a routine, they can find themselves suffering from procrastination. At the same time however, from someone who has seen the other end of the spectrum, I can find some comfort in having a little more flexibility – a strength in being able to tackle things when the wheels of motivation are in motion and have a little bit of breathing room when not. I guess what’s important is maintaining a balance between knowing when to work and knowing when you simply aren’t going to be productive.
The older I get the more and more I understand the concept and develop a deep value of balance. I’ve always had a compulsive personality. I become fixated and have been known to burn out quickly. Growing up, I was always encouraged to work hard. I can count the number of sick days I’ve taken on one hand! But, as any body builder will tell you, over push your limits then the results are nullified. Strength comes in the form of both work AND recovery.
I’m now preparing to show the client what I’ve come up with so far. I’m torn between the, “this looks good so far, I can see this working out really well” and the, “Sweet Jebus, is this actually terrible? Will they think I’m pranking them with this and have ‘the real design’ hidden behind my back”. I guess we will cross that bridge when we get to it…
Work hard - but not obsessively. Learn to recognise when you're at peak productivity, anything beyond that and you run the risk of making uninspired choices that don't reflect your true capability.