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How To Make The Most of Self Quarantine as a Visual Artist
By Zac Henderson

Covid-19 is here, and the best thing we can do about it is to do nothing at all. It’s not ideal, but there are ways to make the most of your down time at home. Here are some good ideas, but the last one might be the most important.

Work On Your Website

Some forced time at home could be a good excuse to re-visit your website and update it with new work, remove old work, or depending on its current state, a complete re-design. Taking time to examine its performance, address any SEO issues, and make sure it's in a good place could pay dividends after all this is over. If you're not sure of the best way to go about making sure your site is SEO friendly, check out Squarespace's SEO checklist which is useful even if you're not using their service. 

Re-examine your business plan

Now might be a good time to re-examine your business plan and consider ways to diversify your income. Thankfully pandemics don't come around very often, but the speed with which this event is having a pronounced effect on the economy should be a red flag. It's always important to have savings, but if your main source of income isn't paying the bills, it is good business strategy to have alternative sources of income. That could be writing, consulting, licensing, or working in a different industry altogether. This is a good place to get creative. In the photo/video world, uploading to stock sites might not be a bad investment in time. It's true that to make a decent living off of stock requires immense amounts of time and dedication, but earning some residual income with extra images and videos that aren't doing anything except taking up space on your hard drive doesn't require anywhere near that amount of attention. If you haven't thought about a business plan, check this article out

Get An Online Portfolio Review

You could use this downtime to do a creative audit of your work and confirm it's heading in the right direction. One way to do that is to reach out to an outside party for a portfolio review. Looking critically at your own work is important, but we only have our one point of view to see it from. Finding someone in the industry to provide an objective look at what you're producing could be a great way to grow creatively. Just don't take the criticism personally.

Learn A New Skill

If there was ever a time to fall down a YouTube rabbit hole, it's now. If you're not able to do the things you normally do then taking time to learn a new skill or brush up on old ones can't be a bad thing. Anything you can do to hit the ground running once things get back to "normal" the better. How great would it be if you were able to suddenly offer your clients another service? Think about skills that you know you could use some help with, and be honest with yourself. Watch some tutorials on lighting, camera movements, or organizational strategy. 


Get On Top of Your Organization

File organization isn't exactly fun, but when you're stuck at home you might as well do somehting that is EXTREMELY important. If you're like the rest of us then chances are your file organization scheme could use an audit or at least a once over to confirm everythign is backed up properly. 


We'll just ignore how meta this section of the post is. For any personal website, or just about any website at all, blogging can be a great SEO booster and provides the opportunity to build a connection with your clients and followers, as well as bring in new ones. Unless you're super disciplined it can be difficult to keep up with the consistent writing that makes blogs effective. Writing several post now to schedule for future publication will make it easy to stay consistent with your content after things get back to normal.

Make a personal project

We're all experiencing this pandemic differently. Keeping your creative pencil sharp will be important while we wait for things to lighten up socially. Whether it's using your primary medium to create work about what you're experiencing, taking time to finally do that things you've been talking about but haven't had time to tackle yet, or probing a new creative discipline, making work isn't a bad use of time. 


Allow yourself to not be productive, even if just for a little while. Watch the movie that even you can't call "research". Read the book that isn't about self improvement or business strategy. Play some  video games. Do whatever it is your weird little brain wants to do but you don't usually let it because it's "not useful". A pandemic is a pretty reasonable thing to be stressed about. Give yourself a break and take care of yourself mentally and physically. 

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