A lot of people say that if you love what you do, it isn’t really work. I’d argue that you can love your job as much as anything, but it’s still going to have some crappy parts to it.
Of late, I’ve had trouble finding the joy in my classes. Maybe I’m a little burnout, maybe I’m working with stale material. More than likely, I’m worried that what I’m providing has to be worth the value that I’m assuming it has, and also that I’m getting paid enough for it.
Jim Rohns, an excellent motivational speaker and business guru, said work is ‘the value we add to the market place’ and it sounds simple, but value is a very difficult thing. We have to decide what our services are worth, but also, what we need them to be worth.
That’s generally why I like being hired by a company who tells me how much they want to pay me, and then I can decide if it’s worth it. Instead of having to say ‘wait a minute, I’m worth this much, and here’s how I quantify my worth.’
But back to enjoyment. Because for the first time in ages, I taught a class and absolutely LOVED it. The responses were engaging, the writing was awesome, people were interested and creative and I sat there thinking ‘YES! This was what I wanted to do with my life! Why can’t it always be like this?’
Well, why can’t it? The truth is that sometimes workshops are going to work, sometimes you’re going to be in a weird place, someone will be tired, there might be drama. It might be the end of the year and no-one wants to learn. Factors vary in what will make a successful group. But what you can rely on is KNOWING YOUR MARKET. Working with writers who all want to write, and are really enthusiastic about it? Hell yes, that’s my target market.
Often as freelancers, we get drawn in to the idea that because we CAN do something, we SHOULD. Because we need the money, because we should be using our skills, because, because, because.
And I’m not saying you should ignore that. This time of year, it needs to be happening. But every now and then, it’s important to consider whether you’re enjoying what you’re doing, and what needs to change to let that happen. Because whether it’s work or not, it’s still your life. When you’re a freelancer, your work and life are inextricably linked, and when you’re an artist, even more so. So do what makes you happy, at least some of the time.