This morning I had my usual cup of coffee and listened to Marisa’s latest podcast on Creative Thursday. I always love listening to Marisa. She’s so open and honest in sharing her experiences and thoughts. I truly admire her and she’s been pivotal in my journey of getting out there. I get encouragement and inspiration from her blog, podcasts and e-course. The power of blogging and reaching across the globe, right?
So back to the podcast about success and making it as an independent creative…how sometimes it looks like we are all doing fine or if someone gets published or a particular deal – they must have “made it.” I was really touched by the topic because I also cannot come to terms as to why there is so much struggle. I’ve always said that we should not create drama for ourselves and perhaps artists simply have a bad reputation for being starving…even though it doesn’t have to be that way. Do we just lament too much, because I’m sure there are people struggling in all industries. Think of workers in the production field who work so hard, but their salaries are low as ever. Living here in Italy, I know what the salary ranges are like even for people who have a steady job or high degrees – there are simply differences as to what is “worth” or not “worth” all over the world. It’s just the way things are perhaps? From personal experience, I’ve had the job of making good money, but feeling like life was without passion, just following the herd and trying to fit myself into whatever space was available…it was not something I wanted for the rest of my life.
Now on the other end, I can do what I love…but it’s still a struggle to make ends meet. Doing good work doesn’t automatically equal pay. Showing up in your studio desk, the computer, or cubicle certainly doesn’t either.
I just busted out a whole bunch of leather journals, running on my idea of printed verses and prompts for art journaling…but all the calculations for postage, packing, materials, fees… I clearly realize – crap! I can’t actually make a living with this alone because I would have to make 100,000 of these, which is physically impossible. Of course, I do other things…but it’s the weird imbalance of work involved versus value or worth in society that just boggles my mind.
But let’s talk about other people who have way more experience and are further along on their journey – still we hear about how royalties are so low or illustrators are not paid enough and taken advantage of or how writing a book is just all work and pennies of compensation. We always hear about how people do it for the love and passion, not for the money. That’s all fine and dandy, but we have to eat dammit. You would never expect an electrician or plumber to do work for the love and get no money…I mean. It’s expected. Service done, you are paid for that value. Everyone gets that it’s worth something. Why is our kind of creative work worth so little?
People say that the freedom we get for working in our passion means that we have to accept certain tradeoffs. Yes, of course…and perhaps it is educating society about creative work and the value. But there are people who are successful doing what they love and making a good living. There are artists flourishing. I guess, I will never know if they are simply putting up a front, but I don’t think so. And that gives me inspiration and hope that it can happen. Wouldn’t the world be such a wonderful place if we were ALL happy doing our jobs? I suppose no one would want to clean toilets for life…but an automatic toilet cleaning robot thingy would probably be invented and affordable for all households in a world like that… sigh. Okay, maybe I’m fantasizing about utopia and we all learned in high school how futile those societal experiments were in the past.
In the end, I like how Marisa ended her podcast on a very positive note. We have to be optimistic, we have to strive for what we want and slowly but surely…make it be. Certain things might seem unfair in life but it’s up to us to change it, right? If not for us…for future generations. If you look back into history…there were lots of crazy things that have happened and suffering and injustices that humankind has endured. But the bold movers and shakers of our society eventually broke down the walls, extended the reach and opened up possibilities. So we have to live that way and think that way. And most importantly…we must not despair. That doesn’t get us anywhere good. So today, I would just love to spread the intention to all creative entrepreneurs out there…
We CAN make it.
So proclaim it.