I’m afraid of going totally freelance. I have no qualms in admitting that.
Going totally freelance means a few things that most creators don’t think about. Always looking for work (always). No health care. Living a frugal life (more frugal than you possibly think). Perpetual worry.
No, that isn’t my idea of a good time. Having a full-time job and doing comics as either a second job or something on the side gives me the stability I need and frees me from worry. I don’t have to spend most of my time looking for and lining up work, so there’s always something on the horizon. It’s definitely more difficult this way, but there’s less overall worry. At least for me.
All of the superstar creators? Unless they’ve got an exclusive contract with a publisher, they’re always looking for work. Always. Unless they’ve got other work in other realms or mediums, or are able to live off residuals of something else they’ve created, they’re always going to be on the grind.
It’s called a grind for a reason. It wears you down. It’s supposed to wear you down. And what do you have to show for it? What does your body of work net you in the long run?
There are very few creators who are able to make a living just doing comics. And even those that are should be doing something about their income. Life in America is no joke when it comes to health care. Sure, there’s universal health care now, and it comes in different packages, but you’ve still got to sign up for it online, and not everyone has access to a computer. And by access, I mean not everyone has access to a computer. (Obviously not you, since you’re reading this, but there are places in the United States that just don’t have access.)
There are no solutions here. Just the realization of certain facts: there are very few creators who are able to make a living doing comics; most of the creators are always lining up work for the future; there is no health care unless you’ve got an exclusive contract.
That’s why I’m afraid to go totally freelance.