The oddest thing about doing freelance work, I’ve decided, is the sitting waiting for someone to book you.
For music there is at least a semi-proactive side to this – you can go scrolling through musicians wanted ads for a while, but they will run out at some point. Even in the time I’ve been doing this, most of the places where I see any traffic or any work being booked have cracked down on ‘available for bookings’ posts and the odd person that does still do them looks, erm, odd. ‘Drummer available this weekend if anyone needs. [assorted details] … ‘ If I needed a drummer and could afford a pro dep I would have started looking earlier than this mate.
So there is still a lot of sitting around waiting and trying, a la Edison, to hustle while doing so. Blog, network, practise, catch up on admin, promote upcoming gigs, do it all again … and see if there are any projects you can get off the ground that won’t leave you with no time at all when/if the freelance bookings pick up again, and that won’t be a massive financial loss if they have to be parked or abandoned at some point down the line. Unless you’re pretty much literally going to and busk 10-20 hours a week, this business is a lot of playing the long game – investing, metaphorically and very literally, in opportunities which hopefully pay out well in months or even years, because there aren’t really any immediate rewards.
In the mean time, I really must get my violin bow rehaired in the fortnight between the next two gigs (rare to have so long to do it!) and start drafting a shortlist of wedding string quartet demo material. Hopefully both of which will pay off …