Many years ago, I read a book entitled Do What You Love and the Money Will Follow.
Young and optimistic, I was in search of anything written that would explain my desire to create and affirm that it was the right life decision for me.
I found proof that I was right in both my vocation and that the world and my parents were wrong.
Twenty years later, I’m having to do what I hate the most and find most disturbing.
I have to rethink my assumptions and realize that I might be wrong.
It’s not that there is no money to be made or financial gain for those of us in the arts.
It’s simply that we must be smarter about our craft and self care while we wait for our “big break”.
For years I struggled in poverty and self righteous indignation regarding not only the commitment that I had to my craft but spent an inordinate amount of time judging the commitment of others as well.
Not willing to stay up all night and work through your sickness until we go our lines down? Well, clearly you are not serious.
Unwilling to cancel a long standing well planned out and long overdue vacation? Then by all means get out of the business you dilettante.
I got seduced by the “struggle” and mired in the creative ghetto in ways that harmed myself and relationships with those around me.
As a young artist the dream was to be discovered.
To be plucked from my mundane life and offered the keys to the kingdom.
I’ve learned to pick myself and not wait.
I’ve also learned that if I’m waiting to be picked then I can also be “not picked”.
This philosophy kept me broke and twirling in artistic ghettos.
Lamenting and bitching with folks who believed that to be an artist is to be broke, miserable and relegated to a life of obscurity and artistic (integrity).
With this type of being stuck that supported me in my nonsense, it was easy to buy into all of the financial and sociological shenanigans that told me that I had no choice but to be a broke ass.
What a crock of shit.
Being a broke artist won’t allow you to do anything other than some serious navel gazing and self centered understanding of what you don’t have or what you need.
You can’t create anything of any substance if you are whining about your life and sweating about your unpaid bills and all of the resources that you are unable to exploit.
What I wish someone would have told me was that it is possible to be creative and financially self sufficient.
What I wish someone would have said is screw all that poor-and-proud suffering-for-your-art-bullshit, this is how you take care of yourself and devote your energy to being creative.
Luckily, I met and married a man who understood the need to have both and during the past six years, I have taken his philosophy to heart.
Don’t put yourself in a position to be pimped by not having your own money.
Don’t put yourself in the position of being beholden to anyone because you have no food, nowhere to live or no “fill in the blank”.
My wonderful husband taught me the difference between being a broke yet prolific artist and being an artist who is self sustaining and prolific.
Via his wisdom and daily existence he exhibits a life devoted to change and ongoing artistic output.
I’ve learned to adjust my time management and focus on what matters to me and what I love.
As a result, I am able to work, pay my bills and write.
Because most of us don’t understand money, its power or creativity, we are often given advice and insight from people who are in no position to offer suggestions or advice.
Years ago, my parents could not believe that not only was I singing and dancing and being paid for it, they couldn’t believe that I was earning a living, paying bills and having strangers respond to my gifts.
As a result of growing up in poverty, my parents felt that it was impossible for me to become economically self sufficient as an artist.
It is hard in this country to be a prolific artist and be financially solvent.
Our country is not designed to support those of us who answer the siren’s call and take on artistic expression.
As a result, we are often at odds with our love for our work.
We often find ourselves gravitating between wanted to create and needing to support our lives via a day job.
Most day jobs are not looking for creative, innovative persons.
Most day jobs want people to come in, do their job and collect a paycheck.
Unfortunately, so many of us get squashed early and often and most unrelentingly in the world of work.
I, however, have been lucky enough to score a gig that makes sure that this part of my life is feed and nourished.
In the past month or two my day job has allowed me to see not one, not two but three live performances.
In one month, I was able to catch two great theatrical productions and a live band.
As an artist, it is important that we find ways to use or creativity on the clock.