Art every day. All day...every day.
Well...that's a bit of an exaggeration, but close.
So I'm a freelance illustrator. Anyone can do that. You don't need a license or hang a shingle really. Just say you are... and you are.
What do I do?
I'm up and working around 7am. Why? Because my wife is up and on the road and I get up as well.
I start the coffee, grab some cold pizza and check emails.
After emails, I'll check Facebook, Livejournal, and a couple forums for open calls...then get some coffee and schedule my day.
Which pieces am I working on currently, where are my deadlines, prioritize my work and get it ready to go.
Next I'll pick up my office area (which happens to be my livingroom), feed the dog and cats, start up the current favorite playlist and get to work.
I take little breaks when I finish a section successfully: check email, update an adventure in D&D:TA, pee the dog.
Around 1200 I take a lunch. This is usually 30 min, but sometimes is an hour (like today).
I'm back to work until about 5:30pm (which is when my wife gets home).
Sometimes I need to work late, so I do. But usually I work from 7-7:30am to 5:30-6pm, every weekday, just like clockwork.
Because I have an xbox 360 staring at me from across the room, and if I don't keep a disciplined work schedule (pronounced shh-edule BTW) I will find a way to screw off...I won't allow that. The TV doesn't get turned on during the day at-all.
So I'm a Freelance Illustrator. I take a lot from Matt Forbeck's playbook. That man is the living embodiment of a Freelancer! Holy Shit that is one working man. I stick my nose in everything to make my work better. I'm involved in a wide variety of interests to expand my knowledge of what I do. I expand my breadth of work daily (though it sometimes takes a while to get those pieces in the portfolio by nature of NDAs and publication schedules). I like WORKING.
I'm a big fan of social networking, and I'm always on the hunt for more work. I actually keep a spreadsheet of clients and publishers who I hit up for work every two or three weeks. It's not all-inclusive, but I'm getting there. I've got to stay busy.
Staying busy means digging my hands in the work and doing it, all day, every day, and there's no better teacher than first-hand experience. Especially with art: fine art and traditional skills as well as Photoshop/ digital skills. It likely applies to writing and macrame too, but right now I'll stick with what I know.
Right now I'm not a superstar. I'm not Steve Prescott, or RK Post, or Sam Wood (thankfully these guys are all really cool too). I'm not a Boris Vallejo or Frank Frazetta either. But you better keep your eyes open boys (and girls) because I'm coming up fast and catching up skill-wise with every piece I do.