"You've got too much time on your hands."
I hear that phrase a lot, as though the gods bestowed upon me far more time than anyone else. I tried to work out the logic of this, as though creativity is somehow a luxury; a hobby that only lucky people with all the time in the world get to do.
It seems that people are more accepting of someone who sits on the sofa all evening watching television than someone who invests into creativity, and by that I do not simply mean things connected directly to Art. In other industries there are many people who spend countless hours investing into thinking up new strategies, ideas, or better ways to market themselves; creatively thinking of solutions. In most instances these times are unpaid, and may go unnoticed by other colleagues or superiors, probably since the last time they spoke up they were shut down with "you've got far too much time on your hands."
Some potential clients may think the same; they tell me to scrap the 'arty-farty' bit of creating them a logo; the prep drawings, the colour schemes and the time ivested into ideas, and instead tell me that they just want a logo in the hope that they can save some money or time. Sure, you can have that, but it won't look very professional. You see, for the majority of creative people (aka. anyone who thinks about what they're doing), it is a no brainer to input development work and invest in well-thought through ideas. No one wants to be known for producing shoddy work, and so investing in the preparation work is vital. You wouldn't build a house without foundations, would you? And you shouldn't build on an idea without sufficient research and development work. I've learnt the hard way many times, trying to please clients and in the end not producing my best work, let alone the effect this has on their businesses.
But development work is kind of acceptable when it's paid for, or when you have a specific goal in mind. But what about the time we invest into simply practicing it? What about taking time out of the work schedule to learn new things and to make mistakes? If mistakes are never made then work is never progressed - it stays exactly the same. I am hardly going to make the mistakes on my clients' behalves now, am I? Which is why the time I spend on my own, at my desk, drawing, and creating, and writing, and learning, and thinking up new things is important. I do not want to stay in the same place with my work, as comfortable as it is. I want to develop further skills to take my work forward, to explore new avenues.
This isn't easy. Taking time to learn new programmes and develop skills takes considerable time. Of course, we all want to focus on paid work, unless we want to live off bread for the rest of our lives, but this is where scheduling time to learn is vital. It's about making sure there's a mix of paid and experimental work, working out deadlines and where you can fit in the space to learn and create. Investing in creativity is vital for whatever industry you work in – unless you're fine where you're at, of course?