Monday, May 25, 2009

Books: Creatively Self-Employed

Creatively Self-Employed: How Writers and Artists Deal with Career Ups and Downs
By Kristen Fischer
Copyright 2006, 2007
170 pages

Two years ago when this book came out, I purchased it because I am quoted in it on page 78.

Appropriately enough, I appear under the heading "The Procrastination Blues."

Two years later I have now read the book (talk about prophetic, eh?).

The author interviewed about 50 different writers, artists and other folks who are self-employed business persons to learn how to deal with the slow times, the boring times, the lonely times, and all of the other times in between.

The advice boils down to "time heals all wounds." Freelance work comes in fits and starts. If you are a life coach or something like that, clients come and go in spurts. If you make pocket books and travel the craft circuit, some years folks buy and some years they don't.

If you're a writer, the stories might flow but getting them purchased is something else again.

Dealing with all of that from the financial end as well as the emotional end can take the form of little activity, lots of activity, whining or gritting your teeth to move forward. In other words, as many ways as there are people.

Aside from the "time heals" message, the other thing I took from this self-published effort is not to give up, and to go with the flow, and to remember that I am not alone even if it feels like it.

I can quickly count up the number of folks I know who are in the freelance business, only they don't call themselves that. One is a marketer and a website guru, another is an interior decorator. Another is a woodcutter. And another puts in septic tanks (though I am pretty sure no one ever calls a septic tank installer or other kind of contractor a freelancer, though in essence they are). They all depend on their own efforts and a little luck to keep the money rolling in and their career moving forward.

Actually I have been quite fortunate in that (a) I was satisfied to be a one-woman article-churner for only a few companies and (b) that it lasted as long as it did. For me to only now experience my first real downturn in my work load in 13 years is really kind of mind boggling in the grand scheme of things.

This was a good book for me to read at this point in my life. Another thing it offers is a list of websites and resources, which I will eventually track down and review.

A website with the author's blog and other information, including the aforementioned resources, can be found here.


  1. Sounds like a book that anyone who's lost a job could benefit from---freelance or not. I think one of the most important things to remember is something you seem to already know---to see a "downturn" as an opportunity for growth and change. Though, of course, that can be hard when one is struggling to pay the bills.

  2. This sounds like a great resource...heading over to check the web site!

  3. Anita, as someone who has worked semi-freelance for 20 years, I can attest to the value of the down times to prepare for a big upswing. That has been the case for me time and time again. You're a doer, so my expectation is that you will shortly be fine again, but till them, my thoughts and prayers are with you. It will be interesting to see what this time will lead to for you!


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