Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Make Your Own

It is Day 2 of yet another "make your own" week. I used to view "am I working or am I not" weeks as decidedly NOT "make my own." I used to feel trapped by the uncertainty, unsettled by the lack of income, boxed in by the waiting. It's not that I don't feel all those things anymore. I'm not sure that those things ever go away. But when you're a freelancer, if those feelings don't motivate your work searches, they often just wear you down, and whether you're working or not, worn down is not a good way to be.

How does a "make your own" day look? Kind of like a freelance day, it can look a little different each time. Perhaps it starts with a few goals--some tasks to accomplish, or a view of how you'd like the day to end. It might include taking steps to minimize future "make your own" days (i.e., job searching and networking), but it doesn't include just that. A "make your own" day acknowledges that there is no work, but takes advantage of the situation rather than bemoaning it.

Many years ago, I went to one of those "paint your own" pottery shops. As I stared at the white plate, I had a moment of terror as I tried to imagine how it would look when I was done painting. "Make your own" days are kind of like that. Unlike "go to work" days, they are a white plate, a blank canvas, waiting for the colors and designs you choose to make. Will the result be just the confusion of a day without work? Or will it be something beautiful, because you chose to make it your very own?

As freelancers, we will always have "no work" days. That is virtually unavoidable. But we can choose whether to see our "no work" days as simply that, or as "make your own" days. "Make your own" takes a little more vision. It takes the belief that we really can turn that white plate into something beautiful. So that when we go back to working, we actually have something to show for the days when we weren't.

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