Have Deadline, Will Travel.

Earlier this summer, as I packed to go to the cabin with my family, I nestled my laptop and portable wacom tablet between my hiking shoes and s’mores. During that weekend in the mountains I was able to carve out an hour or so every day, between hiking and hanging out, to get some drawing done.

Last month, as I packed to go to WorldCon, I nestled my laptop and tablet between my TSA approved packet of personal hygiene items and clean undies. It was kind of silly to think I’d do much work at World Con… but I managed a little bit.  I DID get a good amount done while sitting in airports and soaring through the friendly skies between Reno and home.

This morning as I prepared for my bike ride to work, I nestled my laptop and tablet between my deodorant and lunch.  My day job has spans of downtime where I often can get quite a bit of my own work done. (I’m pretty lucky, others have to jump through more hoops to bring their work to work.)


Something happened when I transitioned from art as a nice relaxing creative outlet to art as my profession….  I got deadlines! And contractual agreements. It’s not just for fun anymore, this is WORK. Plus, hey wow, money!  Who knew?  🙂

But yes, Deadlines.  As a freelance artist with a child and a part time day job, making art happen sometimes requires a bit of creative finagling.  In addition, belonging to a family unit that likes to travel (plus going on more professional trips myself) I have found I must do some tweaking with my travel time.

I’ve had to forgo trips. I’ve had to consider whether the benefits of a professional trip outweigh an approaching deadline.  And I’ve kissed family good bye with a “have some fun for me!” then planted my butt in front of the computer to make sure the missed trip is not in vain.

Orson Scott Card hired a driver to commute him to his teaching job (a drive of some distance) so he could sit in the back seat and work on his novel.

One of my art professors made his wife do all the driving on family trips so he could sit in the back seat, busy with his pencil and sketchbook.

Me, I’m trying to strike the right balance between getting work done and being present for my loved ones.  Not to mention enjoying the trip. Wendy’s summer time survival guide comes to mind and I find myself trying to not “get neurotic about it”.

So… I’m curious how you do it?

First,  how do you strike your own balance of travel and work? Have you forgone trips in order to get work done? Have you successfully (or not?) balanced travel with creative work?

And second, how do you bring your work with you? Do you have special low tech or high tech tools that enable you do to your creative work on the run?

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  1. M
    02/09/2011 at 5:48 pm Permalink

    Travel and productivity? What an odd concept.

    As I flew home from Reno, I did manage to bang out most of a new short story on, of all things, my iPhone… typing with one thumb, and trying to ignore the screaming infant three rows behind me.