The Januariest January; Finding Motivation in Lockdown

Sorry that it’s been so long! I don’t think I have posted a single blog piece so far in 2021. But I’m back now baby! Today I’m going to chat about climbing the big ole mountain of 2021. 

The Arduous start to a Perilous Ascent

OK so I am being dramatic but you know what? I FEEL dramatic. 2020 had such a negative cultural identity and so much was pinned on 2021. But the truth is I have been more scared of 2021 myself. January is always a bit miserable. This is the first January since the pandemic. The first in lockdown. The first since brexshit. For me it is the first where my art income was my only income in a notoriously quiet month. January 2021 has been one scary dot on my horizon and now it’s here. 

I KNOW things will get better. I KNOW that there are barriers we had in 2020 that we will overcome. But it’s been a hard start to the year because things are still hard. Except they are harder now and it’s freezing bloody cold! Between navigating the implications of brexit, working out where my income will come from this month, hospital trips and a general feeling of malaise; blogs were the last thing on my mind. Feeling creative was a struggle. I couldn’t help but feel that hibernating would have been a good choice this winter (and at very least would have saved me from the horrorshows on the news).

A Solo Expedition

The reason I am writing this slightly whiney blog (it’ll turn positive I promise) is that motivating yourself when you are self employed is a big issue for all freelancers at some point. On one hand it is great to be able to give yourself that breathing space when you need it. Especially when you have a creative job that demands new and original ideas from you constantly. I have my best ideas when I am not working. When I give myself a break. When my brain isn’t trying to focus on something right in front of me.

Giving myself space and working on my own schedule is generally positive. But everyone needs a kick up the backside every now and again, right? Especially after a gloomy start to a new year. When you are self employed, who wears that boot? It can be too easy to slip into a bit of a rut.

So how do you cope? Are you hard on yourself? Do you promise yourself a treat at the end? Carrot or stick? I took a slightly risky decision this January, I indulged myself. I let myself have a break. My days began with too many lie ins, I ate Mcdonalds, I bought some fun new notebooks as a cheer up treat. I treated myself kindly and I didnt blame myself for just not feeling up to much. I did this because I know that I can only stomach so much wallowing. If I give myself a little bit of it I quickly become sick of it. When I am sick of it I jump up and I want to work. I have drive and energy. Plus in that little gap between wallowing and jumping back on the saddle… I get loads of new ideas!

Importantly though I am really passionate about my business succeeding. Of course I don’t want to burnout, but I also really want to work! I knew January was always going to be stressful so I made the important decision to budget carefully in 2020 so that my business can withstand a quiet winter. I built the infrastructure to have the time off if I needed it. I’ve had a break but I’ve never missed a deadline. In this game, foresight is everything.

The View from the Summit

You may have noticed that I am back writing my blog. This was the last piece in the puzzle of restarting my business again. I am on top of my emails, I am on top of my workload, I am working on new projects and I have been creating Illustrated Ghost Story videos for the new year. Despite having more relaxed attitude to work  I have kept my shop running all winter and posted out all of my orders quickly.

I’ve now got a new lease for life again. I’ve taken on a quiet month by scheduling a shop update of a number of brand new products. I have taken the initiative to make my own opportunities. I’ve scouted out potential opportunities for the rest of the year. I’ve looked at different modes and opportunities for funding. Best of all I can see the end in sight and the points of the year to look forward too. There are exciting dates in my diary again. I have work scheduled to be released into the world, finally! 

What else will 2021 have in store? I don’t know. I am going to focus on my plans for the year. Next up I am going to set some new goals.  Goals that I would love to share with you guys when I am done. I’m sorry I was away from here for so long, but it’s really nice to be back 😀