Making the move from 9-5 to freelancing was always going to be pretty daunting. I had been self-employed before – for a few years straight out of art college – and I was counting on my experience from then to give me a bit of a head start.
This time round, however, the possibilities – and pitfalls – are different.
Back then (mid 90s), as an aspiring furniture designer, my work life was completely distinct from my personal life. I cut up bits of wood and metal, stuck them back together and tried to persuade people to buy the end results. Now, my hope is that my work and home lives will merge. I can head out to mums and toddlers/the park/the bookies armed with a notepad (though more on that later) and my blueprintediting-always-there-for-your-proofreading-and-editing-needs Blackberry. The possibility inherent here is that I can get on with my everyday life but work will always be one social media click away. This is also the pitfall.
Most of my working hours – in my previous stint of self-employment – were spent either in the Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop or hawking my wares round shops and craft fairs. Home, then, was home, and work was work. My current ‘office’ is a (small) corner of the dining room.
Then, I worked hard and partied hard and hadn’t developed a strong distaste for clichés. Now, the plan is to work hard and, er… have a glass of white in front of the telly – once the packed lunches and dishes have been done, obviously.
Every working day as a designer and maker, I was surrounded by people, often quite like-minded people. Artists, commercial artists (that’s like a proper artist but you make stuff that sells and are mildly ashamed about it – I was one of those), craft-workers. Now it’s me and Facebook.
I’ve been reading my way through endless articles devoted to the terrible dangers of freelancing, the isolation, the loneliness, the fatal shark attacks (I mean, come on). However, one thing did ring a wee alarm bell – a lack of motivation. Not the motivation to get down and dirty working or chasing work, but the motivation to get out into the real world, take a break that doesn’t involve day-time tv or coffee, cakes and riotous small people.
For the past year we’ve been mulling over the possibility of getting a dog. With a miserable autumn and an icy winter looming we were on the verge of putting the plan on hold ’til spring.
But… I love our wee corner of the world, I love people, I love watching and speculating and imagining. I’m going to write – at length – about the mini roundabout at the bottom of our street – it’s worthy of an hour-long documentary. I think a bouncy, energetic and long-walk loving dog might well be the best asset Blueprint could ever invest in – though, alas, probably not a tax-deductible one .