This is a continuation of the discussion … mostly one-sided in actual writing – but hopefully generating a lot of thoughts in others – including Butterfly!!Â A few nights ago Butterfly wrote a very thoughtful response to my post. Part of what Butterfly wrote is “It seems to me that you spend a tremendous amount of time organizing your own and other people’s work that only indirectly have to do with the actual art of creation.Â It seems that you hardly ever have time to sit down for hours on end to craft your art, or am I getting completely the wrong impression now?”
Circle of Life, Digital Â© Diane Clancy
One of the realities of life for many artists, most I think, is that we need to do other things too to support being able to make art … hopefully on the way to be able to creating art full time! Although I also usually enjoy the other work I do.
I do graphic design and web design – both which currently bring in the bulk of my income. I have a specialty – working closely with clients to help them express their creative vision.Â Other designers tell me this is most unusual – most designers want the idea and thank you very much – we will go off and work with the ideas – not the clients.
I have the chance to explore my creativity through my art, so I don’t need to channel this desire through the design work in the same way. Plus I usually like working with someone on a design rather than doing it alone. Obviously this attracts certain types of clients to me – those who want to work intensely with the designer.Â Many of my clients are artists, political activists or other creative people – not surprisingly!
Of course, those same clients tend not to have lots of excess cash lying around – so most of my work is done at my discount rate.Â Working this way, almost always results in a lot of unbillable time – which then I need to absorb. That is part of what I am organizing – figuring out better how to have systems to maximize my efficiency so I am not wasting time.
One of my ongoing clients is the People’s Voice – a newsletter I have been involved with for over 20 years. I have done almost every job except take the finished newsletters to the post office.Â Most of the work is volunteer but several years ago we decided to start paying the person doign the graphic design some money – nowhere near what the time is … but enough for someone to schedule it into their work life. I took over that job about a year and a half or two years ago. (Years ago I did it for free.)
There is currently a collective of 5 of us who put out the People’s Voice. When we were doing issues on creativity, the articles came in fast and furious – it was clear that artists wanted to be seen and heard!Â I had gathered almost all the writers and artwork. Almost everyone sent their contributions in early wanting them to be included (and who tries to say artists are the flaky ones???) Then we switched topics and it was not working as well. The issue before the current one we are dealing with was not good.Â I didn’t even get all the articles in until a month after it was supposed to be in the mail.Â Several people weren’t doing enough follow-up.
So this time, I have worked very hard to figure out how to make things work much better for myself. I am pretty much the coordinator (how DO I get in that role?) …Â so I accepted it and started writing a lot of emails about the state of the writers we had.Â It worked great!!Â The others become much more involved in that process and I actually had the newsletter laid out 3 days after the due date for the articles.Â This way I get a break!
The last time, I was needing to start the new layout before the previous issue was even back from the printer – so I had no down time – and I do not get paid enough for that!!Â So I have proposed a new system that is currently working so that we are working ahead of the curve instead of always in catch-up mode.
I think the others are beginning to see that this method will work a lot better for us all!! I am also doing this with my finances and such.Â When I got so sick in the spring (3 months of the flu), a lot of documenting and database work got way, way behind.Â And then took much longer to do than it would have if I kept it up.Â I have a new system for working with that too.
I am wanting to give a flavor for part of the organizing I am doing … I know I need more of that free time to paint … but I also need to deal with the realities of the rest of my work.Â I hope you are enjoying finding more out about my life!!!Â Thank you for coming by!
~ Diane Clancy