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So I've had a terrible bout of lucj with my health, causing me to be slow on commissions (i do keep in contact and offer refunds!) and i've been wanting to still draw and doodle to keep from getting rustt or art block, but I feel almoat guilty for wanting to sit all comfortable on the couch with a sketchnook or coloring book and doodle or color while waiting for pIn medication to set in than sit for a while at a desk in a chair staring at a computer screen.

I feel bad wanting to take some down time while i feel under the weather and do personal bits of art while my commissions sit half finished.

Should i feel bad for doing this? Is it normal to want doodle/colorwhile relaxing and feeling under the weather with health and not worry about rushing art or giving poor quality because i don't feel good at the time?

I'm quitr conflicted now.

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( 24 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 15th, 2018 02:31 pm (UTC)
A lot of freelancers feel guilt, even anxiety when wanting to take time for themselves to unwind with personal art.

I'm here to tell you that it's imperative that you absolutely make time for yourself between commissions. We have this notion in freelance that you're not a good artist if you don't charge through it all 12+ hours a day without a break or without a rest, but that's not true.

Yes, make sure and get your work done at a steady pace, but it's also ok to slow down and decompress. Doing work for other people day in and day out without ever tending to your creative ideas is a great way to burn out and end up in what I call a burn out cycle. It goes like this:

"I want to do personal art." > "I can't do personal art I have things to do." > "I'm so tired of doing commissions, and I can't do personal art until I get this commission done." > *artist proceeds to stall doing commission, and doesn't do personal art because they feel they don't deserve it until commission is done* > *artist does nothing* > *repeat cycle*

What's really helped with me is to set time limits. If I'm not feeling doing commission work, and I'm feeling burnt out I'll set a timer for 30 min. In 30 min you can do quite a bit of work. After that I'll get to doing something for myself.
Dec. 15th, 2018 02:57 pm (UTC)
This is great advice.
I'm required by law to take breaks at certain points during my shift, even if it just means I clock out and stare off into space for 15 minutes.
I am AOK with an artist doing personal downtime art in between commissions. You can't be "on" 24/7.
I think it would only be an issue if you were not communicating with commissioners, not actively working on your que or only working on personal art. If you're worried about other people's perceptions don't upload that personal art until you feel caught up. Or if you stream, designate some streams as personal art and some as commission only (A few people I watch do this weekly and it's fun).

Edited at 2018-12-15 02:57 pm (UTC)
Dec. 15th, 2018 03:08 pm (UTC)
As the other said, you shoudln't feel guilty doing personal art and you do need to take time for yourself.

HOWEVER, it might be best if you do not post this personal art publicly - or at least wait to post it until later - as despite how necessary personal time and art is, it sometimes gives off the wrong public image, especially to clients who don't understand the need to decompress between commissions.
Dec. 15th, 2018 04:05 pm (UTC)
If that is whats needed to get through the batch of commissions, I see nothing wrong with taking breaks to draw for yourself. Treating your commission work as "shifts" may help with the guilty feeling without losing productivity. Only work on commission work during your "shift", and during breaks or off time do whatever you feel like doing thats not commission work.
Dec. 15th, 2018 04:46 pm (UTC)
As a commissioner, I don't really care if you post some personal stuff while working on commissioned art. I mean, even at a fulltime-job, chances are everyone might do something else sometimes to get some energy back, chat with co-workers, clear one's thoughts, check on other important things or simply kill time. I do that myself.

As long as you continue working on the commissioned art, people shouldn't have a problem with it, since we're all no machines (Though there are surely those who expect that from others).

I think it only becomes problematic and causes some gripes if you focus on personal art and neglect commissions.
Dec. 15th, 2018 05:41 pm (UTC)
Unless you're posting the personal work, who's gonna know? Just relax and do what you want while you're recovering. You can always post the recovery doodles after you get back on your feet and finish the work you've currently got on your plate. Sort of a, "Made these while I wasn't feeling up to working on commissions."
Dec. 15th, 2018 06:22 pm (UTC)
I think it depends if you have people waiting in line for months. Which I'm guessing it is the case, otherwise you wouldn't feel guilty if you completed your list before taking some days for yourself before taking more coms.

Take your guilt with a grain of salt, but don't disregard it completly, it's a sign that you might be doing something conflictive with your own values. Figure out if you're doing something wrong at all.
Dec. 15th, 2018 09:17 pm (UTC)
Out of curiosity do you have any experience freelancing? Because I can assure you many individuals struggle with feelings of guilt for not being productive enough without doing anything wrong.
Dec. 15th, 2018 09:23 pm (UTC)
I said listen to your guilt, but take it with a grain of salt. Figure out if you're doing something wrong at all.

You read only what you wanted to read there for some reason. I've done that many times too, sometimes you're just having a shitty day.
Dec. 15th, 2018 09:31 pm (UTC)
Oh my, that's quite an assumption on your end. My day is going quite well! I was simply asking out of curiosity given that the tail end of your comment read as a bit accusatory towards the OP, and was a little baffling. The mentality that if a freelancer isn't working then that's bad and they should feel guilty is unfortunately quite pervasive.
Dec. 15th, 2018 09:39 pm (UTC)
I don't remember ever saying or implying that a freelancer should be permanently working and feel guilty if not. I said listen to your guilt because it might point to a value conflict, but take it with a grain of salt because it might be nothing... figure out what it is.

You're doing the strawman thing. Try reading what I wrote without inserting your own stuff in between my lines.

Edited at 2018-12-15 09:39 pm (UTC)
Dec. 15th, 2018 09:42 pm (UTC)
Uh? I'm confused why you've been hostile out the gate here when I asked a question. My apologies for offending you. I'll go ahead and drop it, because I'd rather not attempt to continue and then freeze my own thread. I hope your day gets better.
Dec. 15th, 2018 10:06 pm (UTC)
We can discuss opinions on the topic at hand instead of continuing this pointless personal bout.

Trying to complete your commission list before taking time to draw things for yourself, sounds like a bad idea to you? How about listening to your guilt to figure out if you're doing anything wrong to begin with?

The educated guess of there being people waiting in line as the source of the feeling of guilt comes from experience, I've been there, I was looking for the problem in this case, it's not to make someone feel bad, there was not the slightest bit of malice there other than what you attempted to add into it.

I believe I gave pretty valuable advice about addressing the guilt instead of living with it and hide it like others are suggesting. A better scheduling can turn this guilt feeling into a rewarding feeling for this person.
Dec. 16th, 2018 12:36 am (UTC)
Uhm... You accyse peoole of not reading your comments when you clearly havent read mine and rather play Dr. Phill and tell me to amalize my guilt when i already listed as to WHY I felt guilty, which many others have previously stated as the following "you feel bad because you have work to do and feel you shouldn't take personal time for yourself".

I clearly stated why I felt bad, but you seem to want to overanalise it as a deeper problem when it's not, take a hostile approach that we arent listening to you, when quite frankly you came out of the gates very negative and interrogating/making assumptions about me for just feeling bad wanting to take down time while I am ill.

Also: No ine here is telling me to "ignore my guilt". They are tellung me basically that i shouldn't feel bad for wanting to take a break and not work like an art slave 24/7.

If i was to personally give my opiniin in your comments, flat out i would say they aren't appreciated and i didn't care for your over analizing implications. Really, they offended me because you come off more as a person saying "yes you should feel bad for wanting to take a break and you need to do your work and get it done and only THEN you can take a break for yourself" which frankly comes off like you rather me be a slave worker woth art than a person whi vakyes their own health and life over anything else.
Dec. 16th, 2018 12:59 am (UTC)
-Dunno what's Dr. Phill.
-There's no overanalysis. Having people waiting in line is the most probable cause of guilt for a freelancer.
-I don't want anyone to feel guilty, I merely pointed out that the feeling of guilt is proof that you have good values and you're doing something that conflicts with them. And it would be wiser to think about it instead of trying not to feel guilty outright.
-Yes others told you to ignore your guilt, drawing for yourself without telling it to the public... but you'll still feel guilty unless you drop your moral values to begin with.
-I didn't tell you to be an art slave until you get everything done. I suggested an adjustment of your schedule to transform guilt into pride. A small adjustment of less commissions at a time over a few months might give you a big change of enjoyement of what you do, by removing guilt from the daily routine, and maybe account for health problems in your schedule if they are recurrent... so it becomes part of the plan.

Taking advice that is not a pat on your back telling you how awesome and not guilty you should feel, it's tough and that's very normal, very few can take ideas and points of view that they were not expecting when asking for them. We all would love to have unconditional support and never be told we could do better, because that implies we are not perfect. Feel free to disagree with my opinion, that's the point of asking for advice in public, you will get different opinions from different people willing to take the their time to share it with you, in the end you pick and chose.

Edited at 2018-12-16 01:04 am (UTC)
Dec. 16th, 2018 01:39 am (UTC)
Mod Comment
I think this comment chain has run it's course.
Dec. 15th, 2018 09:22 pm (UTC)
I currently have 3 people in queue whom i have all spoken to about my situation and they all are very understanding and know they can get refunds if they want them.

It still is the fact i feel bad for wanting to take time for myself while i feel under the weather than force myself to sit at a computer and work while i feel really miserable woth my health problems.

Edited at 2018-12-15 09:24 pm (UTC)
Dec. 15th, 2018 09:28 pm (UTC)
Well, my point is that things like that might be feeding your feeling of guilt, even if you're being honest with your client and giving them an out, you still get poked in the back of your mind about making them wait longer while you do things for yourself.

I've been there too. If anything, it means you have morals, just don't let it make you lose sleep, and try to schedule personal things in between taking commissions, it feels rewarding, the complete opposite of guilt. A reward after finishing the work, instead of taking it while you still "don't deserve it". Som like that.
Dec. 15th, 2018 11:23 pm (UTC)
Nothing wrong with this at all! If you're not going to be doing work or you're off the clock you're perfectly free to work on your own thing! In fact it can be quite refreshing and help you work on owed art better and faster afterward!
Dec. 15th, 2018 11:50 pm (UTC)
For about 6 months I didn't take any time to do personal art and the quality of my art tanked, plus I was stressed and strung out ALL.THE.DAMN.TIME

Now I do personal art in between both out of necessity (for future career) and fun (cos ugh.. sometimes I just need a break ya know?). Like someone else pointed out, you're legally required to take breaks *every day* in an employment role, so I don't see why freelancing should be any different - IMO it's not an 'easy ride' or less taxing somehow than a normal job, it can be very high stress so you need to take care of yourself =)
Dec. 16th, 2018 05:52 am (UTC)
So, if you work, say, a retail job in the US, every 4 hours you're scheduled, you get a 15 minute break. Every 6 hours, you get a half hour. At 7, you get another 15, and at 8, you get another half hour. My mom gets an hour lunch at her desk job. So did my former roommate when she worked at a call center.

Commissions are a job. Artists are humans, and humans are not machines. We need time to ourselves, and to do our own thing. Like Cel said, set a timer and take a half hour to decompress every few hours to work on your own stuff, or just veg/play a game/whatever.

As long as you are keeping in communication with your clients, and are doing -some- work for them, and finish within what is, for you, a reasonable time, you will be fine.

I fell into the trap of "I took on a crap ton of cheap commissions, now I have to get all of them done!" and while I did get them done, I basically never want to do that commission type again, because it was a lot of work and none of it was for me.
Dec. 16th, 2018 09:45 pm (UTC)
Should NOT Feel Guilty, there is nothing wrong with taking time to do something for yourself.

In my NON-ART Job which is my full time, we are encouraged to take what's called Micro-breaks. something starting to stress you out? go get some coffee and sit down for ten minutes.

When you feel like you need a short break from what you're working, say you have an issue you can't find with it, walk away do some personal art, and when you come back you might have a fresher look at the commission and see what frustrated you.

I had one commission that took a month to complete mostly because the buyer was difficult to communicate with, and I have been fighting a motivation to draw issue. I've found working on that for a bit and then doing personal work was the only reason it came out so well.
Dec. 24th, 2018 01:03 am (UTC)
So, I spent all of October this year doing just commissions. Almost no art for myself, it was commissions day after day, one right after another - bam bam bam done.

What happened after that was I spent all of November drawing... nothing. The idea of drawing made my soul die, just shrivel up and I felt extremely guilty because I wasn't producing content.

Take breaks. Love yourself and take breaks between commissions. I can't say that enough.
Jan. 4th, 2019 09:27 am (UTC)
Taking breaks is healthy, but it becomes a problem when the breaks start to become longer than the working time. I've had some instances where i've waited months because the artist would crank out more personal art and gift art for friends than paid work, which makes it feel as though they think the commissioner's money isn't worth their time.
( 24 comments — Leave a comment )


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