The other day the Viking Prince informed me that he wants to be an artist like Mommy. Now, of course this is terribly flattering, and the Mother part of me is proud as heck, but the Artist part is appalled. (Or is it the other way around? Mother, who wants Viking Prince to be safe and warm and fed and happy, is appalled, but Artist, who understands the call of these things, is proud? Anyway.) Art, as a hobby, is probably a lot of fun. Art, as a job, is … well, it’s a job.
I bring this up because, what with one thing and another (i.e., life) my records got very much behind, and I have spent the last couple of hours struggling to bring them up to date. “Records!” you scoff. “What do records have to do with ART?” And I reply, “Alas, the job of the freelance artist is not just to make pretty pictures that people enjoy (and enjoy enough to buy). You must also communicate with clients, keep records of income and expense, pay taxes … in short, you must also run a business.”
This goes for writers, too, of course, and for a good rundown of what to expect as a self-employed creative person, head over to Patricia Wrede’s blog and look at the entries tagged “business.” She has been publishing novels for thirty-odd years now, and she’s a practical and apparently organized person who gives excellent advice.
“But look,” you object, “I got into art to get away from spreadsheets and all that boring stuff. Why should I bother about it?”
“Hey,” I respond, “you sound a lot like me!”
The thing is, life happens, and communications come at you from a bajillionty different directions at once, and when life is happening it’s hard (impossible!) to remember what you promised whom and when–and that’s why building good record-keeping habits from the start is a smart idea. So you don’t have to spend hours and hours much better spent making art catching up on your records.
If only I had reminded myself of these truths, oh … six months ago?