Money Management for Freelance Creatives

This handy guide on how to manage our money if we ever make it satisfies our starving sweet spot:

metaphoricallyspeaking

by Kristin Wong

It’s hard enough to manage your money on a steady, regular income. When your income varies from month to month as someone who’s freelancing or self-employed, keeping your finances organized is even more of a pain. From my experience, you need a system. Set it up once, and it protects you forever. Here’s the system I use.

I’ve been a freelancer for several years now, and my clients have mostly been long-term, but there were some “feast or famine” months when I first started. Even now, my income can vary a few thousand dollars per month, especially if I’ve taken time off to go on vacation or something else pulls me from work.

Looking back, I made a few mistakes when I jumped into the freelance life. I had no idea just how different freelancing was from a regular, full-time job. Here are a few financial tasks I should have conquered beforehand:

  • Save twice as much for an emergency. I’ve always had an emergency fund, but I underestimated how big it should be when I switched to freelance. As you adjust to your new work situation something will inevitably come up: business expenses, taxes, health insurance, losing a client, and all the other perks of self-employment. My first year of freelancing, I depleted my emergency fund. It was scary.
  • Prepare for taxes and insurance. The main reason I drained my emergency fund was that I had no idea how much I owed in taxes. I was used to my employer taking out a portion of my paycheck, so I didn’t pay my own estimated taxes, which is what you’re supposed to do. The cost of health insurance also caught me off guard. (Mine is only $200 a month, which is nothing compared to other premiums.)
  • Keep a cushion for irregular expenses. When your income is unpredictable, the last thing you need are unpredictable expenses. You can get an idea of your irregular expenses if you look at your bank transactions from the past year, but something will always catch you by surprise, even if it’s just a business expense, like video editing software or a course you want to take. In addition to a bigger emergency fund, I should’ve kept a cushion to pay for expenses like these….

Read it all at Lifehacker

What Fiction Writers Can Learn From A Child’s Mind

South African writing blog Writers Write is one of the most informative writing sites on the interwebs. Every time we think we know it all, we go there and, wham!, we learn something new:

What_Fiction_Writers_Can_Learn_From_A_Child

by John Cabrera

Stuck in a rut? Unable to get the next plot of your story together? All that might be missing is a little bit of creativity.

Writing is a passion of the heart that flows through the writer’s pen, hoping to leave an eternal mark on readers’ minds. However, growing competition in this area of creative expression has made it more difficult for writers to stand out.

What can you do differently? One answer is to look in unusual places for inspiration. Unusual does not have to be something mystical. It can be as simple as child’s play. Fiction writers and children both have fanciful minds. Observing children in their routine games can prove to be an excellent lesson in creativity.

Children dream. Children imagine. And children love. For a child, nothing is impossible. And that’s what separates them from us. They do not think that they will fail. They invent things and they look at things differently.

If you’re looking for a creative plot for your next story, you need to think out of the box by looking at life in a simpler, more imaginative way….

Money or Control – Pick One if You Can

What kind of creator do you want to be? Which element of the creative life is more important to you? Money for your work? Control over your work? Major insights along these lines await here:

About Yuko Shimizu:

Yuko Shimizu is an award-winning Japanese illustrator based in New York. Her work has appeared on the pages of the New York Times, TIME, and Newsweek, on the covers of DC Comics, Penguin, Abrams and Random House books, on the Gap and Nike T-shirts, and on Pepsi cans.

Her monograph Living with Yuko Shimizu will be published this spring. A Wild Swan, her collaboration with Pulitzer-winning author Michael Cunningham, came out in 2015. She was chosen as Newsweek Japan’s “100 Japanese People World Respects” in 2009.

About 99U:

The 99U delivers the action-oriented education that you didn’t get in school, highlighting real-world best practices for empowering the creative community.

Herbie J Pilato: “I never gave up on my writing, and neither should you!”

by Herbie J Pilato

Herbie J Bewitched BookIn 1986, I began writing my first book, The Bewitched Book, about the classic 1960s TV show starring Elizabeth Montgomery.

After five initial rejections from several well-known magazines to have it first previewed as an article, I went on to find an agent.

After receiving over 25  rejection letters from various literary agencies of every level, I found an agent who believed in me and my idea.

At least for a little while.

After 40 rejection letters from every publishing house in New York (and beyond), my agent dumped me.

I then decided to serve as my own agent, and contact publishers directly.

I then went on to receive over 75 additional rejections for my book.

Finally, it was purchased by a publisher, in a heated bidding war between two major houses.

But then my editor was fired, and my book was cancelled.

I went back to the initial losing publisher, and sold the book to that second party.

My editor at that house then quit his job, and my book was cancelled a second time.

The Bewitched Book was actually purchased a third time in 1992, and sold-out quite swiftly all 15,000 copies of it’s first printing.

But then my third editor was, that’s right, fired.

Three years later, in 1995, when Elizabeth Montgomery died, I decided it was time to update, revise and rewrite The Bewitched Book as Bewitched Forever.

And you guessed, over 80 more rejection letters, the all-new Bewitched Forever was published in 1995.

But then my publisher got out of the publishing business.

Six years later, in 2001, I  resold Bewitched Forever to a new publisher.

Four years later, in 2004, I revised it once more, for a special 40th Anniversary Edition (Bewitched debuted on TV in 1964).

Every good thing that’s happened in my career, be it additional books, or writing and producing television shows, or forming my Classic TV Preservation Society nonprofit organization, or even the live entertainment events that I periodically host and produce…all of it happened because of The Bewitched Book.

I never gave up on my writing, and neither should you.


Herbie J Pilato is a Contributing Editor to TVWriter™. You can learn more about him HERE.

LB Sees “The Get Down”

Not your usual review. But then, this isn't your usual TV series either.

Not your usual review. But then, this isn’t your usual TV series either.

by Larry Brody

What would Sisyphus do?

Your TV writing career gotcha down, bunky?

Feeling tired? Terrified? Downtrodden?

You write your butt off and nobody reads it. Finally somebody does read it and hates it.

Or, worse, won’t even talk about it to you.

Agents, managers, and executives ignore your emails, refuse your phone calls, and can’t see you as anything but that waitperson who keeps butting into their convos instead of serving and scramming.

Your parents are disgusted because you neither have nor want a respectable job.

Your significant other has that look that says your significance to him or her is waning.

FWIW, we here at TVWriter™ understand and often share those feelings. We get tired of sleeping in our studio apartment on a hand-me-down futon. We have all felt the heavy weight of true despair, the horrifying certainty that despite all the great song lyrics of oldour day just plain isn’t destined to come.

But here’s the thing. My mantra, something I’ve told myself over and over and will continue to tell myself until my last breath:

“Anything worth doing is harder than fuck. But you don’t stop till it’s finished. Whether it’s a project, a goal, a dream, you keep going till the end. Because otherwise how do you live with yourself? And how do you love and take pride in someone else if you can’t love and take pride in you?”

sisyphusTo put it another way, when it all seems like too much to take any longer, ask yourself, “What would Sisyphus do?” And remember, there isn’t a pic anywhere of the classic dude sitting on his butt. We know his story because he never stopped pushing.

Never.

Moving that rock be how he rollz.

Oh, and here’s the review part: If you need a quick refresher in self-believe, a blast of extra energy to chase the demons away and make waking up tomorrow morning a total delight, then do yourself a great big favor and check out Baz Luhrmann’s amazing new Netflix series The Get Down.

I don’t want to ruin anything by saying too much. But I will say this:

The Get Down, with its incredible music and dance numbers and the kind of vitality that nothing but pure creativity can bring, has the power to grab you and shake you and awaken your soul.

I know because watching the pilot one rocky night late weekend sure as hell did that for me.

The Importance of Staring Out Of The Window

Found on the interwebs!

This marvelous video about what creatives do to drive their families, friends, co-workers, and employers mad…while keeping themselves sane. Time now for everyone to take a cell phone or work break and do what comes naturally: Gaze out the window and chillax!

See more stuff designed to protect our sanity at The School of Life

Is Self-Knowledge the Key to Becoming More Creative?

Why of course it is. Otherwise why would we ask?

personality types

by Adrienne Branson

Did you know that your personality might hold the key to your creative achievements?

A 2014 study published in The Journal of Creative Behavior looked into whether there were connections between personality, work process, and creativity.

The writers (Guillaume Furst, Paolo Ghisletta, and Todd Lubart) put forward that your personality predicts how you work, which predicts the level of your creative output and achievement.

So, how can you achieve more creatively?

Step One: What’s Your Personality Type?

The first step to boost your creative output (and achievement) is to identify your personality type according to these three ‘super factors’ identified in the study:

Plasticity defines the extrovert personality: marked by a drive to try new things, high levels of energy, and a constant stream of inspiration. Those who fall into this category seek new and exciting experiences. They can be highly creative because of their passion for exploration and risk taking.

Divergence defines the free thinkers and non-conformists. Those who fall into this category are impulsive and independent, hard to get along with at times, and uncaring of how others think of them. Divergence is strongly related to creativity because it creates in the person a drive to be different.

Convergence defines those who work persistently and precisely. They are ambitious, practical, good at evaluating ideas, and have high levels of energy.

So is your personality high on plasticity, divergence or convergence? You might not neatly fall into just one category, but one should be more dominant than the others.

Step Two: What’s Your Creative Work Process?

Step two in improving your creative output and your creative achievements is to identify your creative process, according to these two process types as identified in the study:

Generation, which involves coming up with new ideas (quantity — someone who has lots of ideas); and,

Selection, which involves narrowing down your ideas to their best version (quality — someone who has a few good ideas).

So, are you a generator or a selector?

The study found that those with high levels of plasticity and divergence, with their drive for new experiences, favor the generation process. They are very good at coming up with lots and lots of new ideas, but they might not all be the best ideas….

Read it all at Design School Canva Blog