If you’re here, you’re probably either an artist or an art lover who wants to know how long artists usually work per day. You know that writing songs or art is a full-time job, so you can assume that most artists work long hours. But when that depends on the artist, the artwork, and many other things.
Artists Generally Don’t Have Set Hours
In general, artists don’t have set hours. You can probably guess why: art takes time, and there’s no point in forcing it. Instead of working from 9 to 5, you work when the muse strikes.
That means you work in spurts and spend a lot more time thinking about what you’re doing than actually doing it. Unlike a regular office job, creative work isn’t a 40-hour job (unless your day job requires creativity).
Every fine artist, visual artist, and musician is different, but many artists prefer to work at night when it’s quiet. The quiet means they can leave their rational mind behind and focus on their subconscious thought processes – the same space that gives birth to dreams and intuitive ideas.
However, at a certain level, a stricter routine is often necessary to become a successful artist.
Art Is a Business and Needs to Be Treated Like One
Originally, I believed that if you just put enough work (aka art) into it, you could enjoy the world. But there’s nothing free in this industry. You probably need to find a balance between your personal life and the demands of your business, or you run the risk of burning out and losing valuable time to family and friends. We all know those moments when we’re so tired from work that we fall asleep at our desks – or worse, end up confused in front of the screen.
But what can you do?
The best advice I can give you is to be open with your family and friends about your situation.
If you feel like you’re on the verge of losing it, talk to them about it right away – especially if they’re close enough to you that they can tell what’s going on with you.
And of course, keep doing what makes you happy: being creative! Remember: the worst thing that can happen is that people don’t understand why you’re not talking to them (and wonder why they haven’t heard from you). Keep in touch with people who care whether or not you’ve access to alcohol after 10 pm.
Artists Don’t Have the Typical 40-Hour Workweek
There are so many different types of artists working in different fields and areas. That means their hours, salaries, and working conditions vary greatly.
You’ve to be prepared to work at least 40 hours a week, which is typical for any job. But in the beginning, as you try to build your experience and portfolio, you may well have to do a lot more than that. If you want to be recognized in this field, you’ve to be dedicated.
You need to show people what makes your work different from everyone else’s – if it’s no different if it looks like everyone else’s, why should they pay you?
Most employers or clients will also require you to submit a portfolio of your work so they can see what your style looks like and whether or not it fits their vision.
It’s important that you always remain professional in your freelance work. This means that you need to meet deadlines, communicate well, and make sure that clients are happy with the final product.
Deadlines Often Determine the Amount of Time a Professional Artist Works
Deadlines determine how much time a professional artist must work.
You may have deadlines set by your employer, gallery owner, or music producer, or you may set them yourself. In either case, a deadline is a target date for completing your work. It can be used to justify the amount of time you spend on your work, and it can help you keep track of long projects.
Some deadlines are set for a specific day on purpose or due to circumstances. Those are the best deadlines: the date is known and you can count on it.
Others aren’t so firm: “I need this by the end of the month.” The artist has no idea when the end of the month will be – but he’s sure it’ll be soon. So he doesn’t start working until that day approaches.
This kind of deadline leads to a common problem: if the artist is working on several projects at once, he may wait too long to start on some projects that have sliding deadlines. The result is that multiple projects must be completed within a very short time frame – and quality suffers.
When artists set their own deadlines, they often give themselves a lot of time to finish their projects. This is often because they know they’re going to put it off and decide to allow a cushion of time. That would be fine if they used that extra time to continue working, but they usually don’t.
They finish their work only at the last minute, and with inferior results, too.
Generally, the More Famous an Artist Is, the More Hours He or She Has to Work Because Much More Time Is Needed for His or Her Business Affairs
The more famous you’re, the more hours you’ve to work. I’m not talking about your actual craft. I’m talking about all the business matters that go with being a star. There’s a lot more to being a star than just making music, acting, writing, painting, or graphic design!
To be successful, you need to manage your career and make decisions that are in your best interest. If you don’t know how to do that, you should hire someone who does. You can be excellent at songwriting or guitar, but if you can’t find time to write songs or play guitar because you have to take care of all the business things going on in your life.
The most famous artists don’t work harder than anyone else. They work longer hours because they’ve to manage their careers and make decisions that are in their own best interest and in the interest of their audience. To be successful, you have to manage your career and make decisions that are in your own best interest.
For Most Artists, Art Can Be a Career, but It Doesn’t Pay Like One
There’s a lot of talk in the art industry about how artists need to make billions of dollars to make a living. It’s as if the business is some kind of landmine that you walk past, keep your eye on the prize, and get lost in the crowd until someone finally finds you, pulls you out, and shakes you for making assumptions about your ability to sell goods.
Not only is that an unrealistic expectation, but it’s also an unwarranted one.
The truth is that initially, most artists aren’t trying to make millions from their art; they’re doing something they love because it makes them happy. They may sell a few works now and then, but that’s not what provides them with an income – it’s their day job (in which they have a lot to invest) that supports all their other creative endeavors. And if their creative endeavors take time away from building their day job, so be it: If they show up at work and do a good job, they’ll see more recognition and a clearer path to real money over time.
Unlike Fine Art, Music Doesn’t Work the Same Way. Therefore, Time Management Is Handled Differently.
A fine artist or craft artist needs to know what type of paint to buy for his next painting or work of fine art. These days there are many different types of paint, from watercolors to oil paint. Then network to find a gallery owner.
The same is true for graphic designers, for whom research should ensure that they’re using the right technology for their visual art graphic design.
As an independent musician, not only you’ll need to work on the song creation, but you’ll often have to work with others. You’ll practice with your bandmates. You’ll record in the studio with producers, engineers, and other musicians. You’ll work with songwriters and co-writers before you even go into the studio. You may also have to think of streaming platforms, or locations for your next live performance.
Depending on if you’re a successful artist, you may also have to work with a record label. They may ask you to help select future singles from your current album, be there for the video shoot for that single, or just be there to listen to and sign off on the final mixes before mastering can begin. All of these examples are completely different activities that require different time commitments, but they all serve one purpose: to make music better and more targeted for specific audiences. In order to accomplish all of these tasks in a productive manner, an artist must learn to manage their time properly.
The earlier this happens in an artist’s career, the easier it becomes to release multiple albums and singles per year (or even per season).
All aspiring artists have to take care of marketing, which is very time-consuming.
It Depends on How Much Time They Put Into Marketing
If you’re an emerging artist, your marketing efforts can be just as important as the art itself – and they’ll take up a lot of your time. Really. Marketing is a part of the art world and an art in itself. And if you’re an aspiring artist, it’s very important – it’s a lot of work!
You probably spend a lot of your time taking care of the business side of things so you can focus on creating more art. For example, you’ll figure out how much to charge for your work and how to sell it through galleries or apple music, or directly through your website or social media channels.
You’ll need money for all of these things, so do what you can to save up. If you haven’t saved any money yet, you can also take out a loan from family members or friends. It can be very helpful to have a few thousand dollars on hand that you can use for marketing materials (like posters and flyers) and other expenses like travel costs for events (if you need them).
Artists Need to Understand How Royalties Work
You may have to deal with contracts and copyright issues (e.g., who’s the copyright owner, who will own the exclusive right of your hard work, what’s in the public domain).
As an independent artist, you not only need to take care of your marketing, but you also need to understand the basics of the law. For example, in the music industry a recording artist, especially an independent musician, needs to think about how performance royalties work for their record label, graphic designers involved in need to check whether they can reuse their graphic design for their portfolio. A fine artist may have a contract with an art gallery and will need to discuss terms of sales with the gallery owner. For any self-employed artist, it’s also important to know when to give up an exclusive right to their artwork and when not to, and how to register their work with the copyright office. An art career takes a lot of time!
How to Manage Time Better as an Artist
“Is this a game you’re playing with yourself?”
After years of helping artists manage their time, I’ve come to realize that the art process is rarely what we make of it. In most cases, it’s not about one thing, but many things at once.
Artists are constantly juggling their work, relationships, and even health issues to achieve something bigger than themselves: a body of artwork that doesn’t just speak to them or speak to someone else’s soul; an experience they can freely immerse themselves in and step away from, with nothing but space between them and what they want or feel.
No Matter How Fascinating the Work Itself, the Experience Must Come First
Artists need to focus on the goals they want to achieve through the process: Gaining clarity about their vision, finding freedom in their studio environment – and gaining enough perspective on these goals to move forward confidently while not losing sight of what’s important.
The Life of an Artist Can Be Unpredictable
While most people work in a conventional workplace and have fixed hours, the same isn’t true for artists. The life of an artist can be unpredictable, especially if they’re freelance. If you’re struggling to manage your creative time (which is often the most productive time) and your work schedule wisely, follow these five tips that will help any maker get more done.
Find a Good Place to Work
Your environment has a lot to do with how well you can work. If you work from home, find a place where there are few distractions and work there consistently. If possible, use a dedicated computer or tablet just for your creative work – that way you can focus on your task because there are no other apps or programs vying for your attention.
Get Into a Routine
As a self-employed person, it’s easy to fall into a rut. However, a routine can help you stay focused on the work at hand. You may not want to start your day at 6 a.m. every day, but if you do it for 10 days in a row, you’ll feel like it. Once you get into this habit, you can change your time to match your new routine.
If You Can, Start Working When the Sun Rises
It’s a known fact that people who start at sunrise get more done. If you don’t believe that, just see how much they get done before noon! It’s also a good idea to take breaks during the day and go outside to get some fresh air and some sunlight. This will give you more energy than lying down or watching TV when you’re tired.
Use the “Dead” Time
Even if you don’t have set office hours, there are times when you’re more productive than others. For example, many people find that they’re most productive after dinner until bedtime (after 8 pm), which is why many artists have chosen to work late into the night. The best way to take advantage of this time is to plan your day so that you have this time in mind.
The biggest challenge for you is staying focused. The key is to eliminate distractions. For some people, it can be helpful to set up a dedicated workspace and turn off all electronic devices while they work. Others may prefer to listen to soft classical music in the background or write in a coffee store (while resisting the urge to check Facebook every five minutes). Turn off what distracts you and create an environment where you can focus instead.