Why It’s Okay To Have A Slow Holiday Season

holiday season slow time for creatives

Call it a “lean month.” Call it a time for personal reflection. Call it a perfect time to finally catch up on your DVR queue. Or just call it what it is: a slow season.

Whatever your name for it, it’s perfect normal for freelancers, small businesses, and other creative entrepreneurs to see a little (or even a lot) less work this time of year. Clients are on vacation, deadlines in the next year seem luxurious, and, if you’ve played your cards right, December is largely on auto-pilot. This is especially true for photographers; if you shoot weddings, portraits, or even commercial work – many of the jobs which usually fill your days tend to favor warmer, less chaotic months.

Which, if you’re the kind of go-getter who’s self-employed, is probably actually a real challenge for you. After a year of working yourself silly, a handful of slow weeks can feel like an eternity of boredom, wasted opportunities, and financial dread. But a little bit of quiet isn’t exactly the same as a lifetime of silence – instead, your slow season should be the perfect time to catch up on all the peripheral stuff that falls by the wayside during the busier parts of the year.

‘Tis the season. Gift the creative in your life something special – check out our curated holiday gifts

For example, those less-packed holiday weeks are a great time to foster all your big ideas. Writing for Forbes, Frances Booth called the holiday season “the best time of year to get creative.”

“Often we get caught up in a cycle of work, work, and more work,” she writes. “And sure enough, every time we tune in to our email, social media, or smartphone, there’ll be someone asking a question, or making a demand. The information stream never stops, and if we’re not careful, we can spend all of our time listening and responding to it. But if you want to pursue a creative project, you need to get smart and fence off some time for it.”

The holiday season, then, is perfect, because it’s essentially a forced quarantine.

If you find yourself fresh out of great ideas, practice some habits that might stir up some new ones. Volunteer your time, which is not only great for your community, but also good for networking and exposing yourself to different people and experiences. Pick up some of the books on your reading list, listen to some new music, take in some theater or other live shows – all of which can help you get outside of your usual thought patterns.

Or, you can use this time to shore up your finances. No, it’s not the most enthralling way to spend a Thursday night, but ensuring that your taxes and other financial matters are squared away before the financial year ends is a smart idea, and can help you budget your holiday spending.

A slow season is also perfect for logging some hours on social media (maybe you can finally launch that Pinterest account you’ve been considering?) and in other growth pursuits. Revamp your buyer profile. Reconsider your pricing models. Examine your marketing materials – are they telling your brand story? Is your website sending the kind of message you want? If not, how can you address it in the new year?

If all else fails, use your slow season to just be lazy. It may feel like you’re wasting time, but letting your brain take some time off is actually really healthy and productive. After a grueling year, it’s ok to embrace the slowness of the season.

‘Tis the season. Gift the creative in your life something special – check out our curated holiday gifts

Hanna Brooks Olsen FOLLOW >

Hanna Brooks Olsen is a writer and editor for CreativeLive, longtime reporter, and the co-founder of Seattlish. Follow her on Twitter at @mshannabrooks or go to her website for more stuff.