I’m writing this post in response to reading a post by a writer who is deeply upset that she can no longer pay the rent by writing.
Who ever told us that we had to make our money through just writing? Who is it that demands us artists to pay the bills from our art? We have so many gifts besides art and writing that can be tapped!
Writing and art are both tricky because pride gets invested too quickly in the results. We’re either proud of what we created or ashamed of what we didn’t quite finish or have accepted for a price. We’re proud if we got paid and we’re ashamed if we didn’t get paid anywhere near the hours we invested.
I’ve been writing for publication since 1982 and painting since 1997 I can tell you that the healthiest thing I ever did for myself was to accept that the currency of payment for my writing and art may not be cash. It may be in a new and lifelong friendship that came out of an interview. In travel to beautiful places to meet inspiring artists I wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to meet any other way than through writing. It may be in the realization that through writing or art I could do more than my fears deemed possible. It may be in healthier relationships with my family members improved by putting down on paper words or patches of color that express gratitude that I would otherwise find impossible to articulate.
I can say as I reach the 30 year anniversary since I defined myself as a writer, that every page is an investment in myself, whether it gets published or not. To be a wise investment, I have learned to choose a version of life which is self-affirming and appreciative, not that I always feel that way about every crappy thing that happens, but I have learned to be discriminating. I pick and find something good to say about most things thrown my way — and in this way be uplifted and energized. Through the writing and art, I use creativity as a tool to revise the way I see hardships.
This is the 21st century when our actions speak louder than words. We can blog, we can blast our ‘friends’ with Facebook messages, we can get paid to edit other peoples’ stuff, we can teach writing or not. As long as we recognize that our wholeness is not defined by the slice of ourselves we portion to the writing life, the artist’s life but rather all aspects of our ever-growing, evolving selves.