Writers and artists are traditionally thought of as poor mites and yes, although many creatives now are moving to change that - success on a huge scale is entirely possible and realistic, and being a creative can bring in as much/more than a day job if you go about it the right way and have just the right amount of luck - typically we're all struggling to make ends meet from our art at the very beginning.
So, it raises the question; what should we choose - love, or money?
Do we create what we love, regardless of the financial hardship it may cause us in the near future? Do we sacrifice time spent on doing what we love to have a day job - and therefore financial security?
It's a complicated answer. We all wish we could say we choose love - creativity - but life isn't so simple!
Earlier this year, I said that once I finished university (which I did on June 8th - yay!), I would be a full time author. I knew full well I'd still have to keep a part time job at he very least to be able to make ends meet. I only expected to work very few hours, and spent the vast majority of my time creating.
Well - as life happens, it's not turned out so simply! As Joanna Penn once said, to succeed as a creative, you have to be able to balance what you want/need from life and be realistic about what's possible at each stage of the process. It's also about making the necessary sacrifices. What are you willing/able to give up to achieve your creative goals?
Well, it turns out that I need to work a lot more than I thought I would to make ends meet in a way I'm satisfied with. To me, that means being able to comfortably support my family so we don't have to worry about our basic needs being met. I am very fortunate to have an understanding partner who has reconciled himself to the fact that I won't be going out and getting a well paid day job. For that, I'm very grateful!
Now, I've made the very difficult choice to work more hours each week. This is a double-edged knife; on the one hand, I now will make enough to cover my half of the bills and give my family financial security. It's very important to me to be financially independent. I can work and contribute - and therefore I should. Don't get me wrong - if I could do that just from my writing, I would! On the other hand, that financial security means I have even less time for writing now than I thought I would.
It means I'll have to scale back how many projects I'm scheduling - already I'm noticing the difference and falling behind where I wanted to be. It's frustrating! It means I'll have less time to write in the future too, although that will of course be the biggest priority for me outside work.
The type of person I am means that I could not stand by and expect/watch someone else pay for me. I feel duty bound to pay for myself in this life. I also feel duty bound to provide what I can to my family - why should they go without just so I can indulge myself? Certainly, I aim to make a full time living from writing and illustrating - but I also know that realistically, that's a while off. In the meantime, I need to make ends meet.
It's been a difficult choice - one I wish I didn't have to make - but I feel I'm doing the right thing. It doesn't feel like it at times, knowing I will have less time to do what I love, but I hope in the long run it will pay off. In the meantime, onwards and upwards we go! :-)
Don't forget to comment/connect with me on social media - have you had to make any sacrifices to your creative time for one reason or another? How do you reconcile with this?
Ciao for now,