Here’s another classic excuse that writers (and creative people of all kinds) use all the time. Do any of these sound familiar?
- “I’d do a lot more with my book if I had more money to invest in it.”
- “It takes money to make money.”
- “Sure, she’s doing great with her art. She must be a trust-fund baby or have a sugar daddy on the side.”
I could list a lot more worn-out phrases like this, but I’ll spare you the agony. Which begs the question:
Do you spare yourself the agony that comes with carrying this “lack of money” baggage around with you?
Okay, let’s first deal with the realities:
I admit that some full-time creative people have built-in advantages. Maybe their spouse has a cushy job that allows them to focus on art without worrying about paying the bills. Maybe they inherited money or made some smart investments when they were young.
Sure, people in those situations exist, so let’s acknowledge that and wish them well.
But if you think that’s the story behind all of the successful independent artists out there (and there are many of them operating over and under the media radar), you are sadly mistaken.
Most people who succeed as musicians, writers, and artists start with very little. They work day jobs and do sideline gigs to pay the bills while they hone their craft and grow a fan base.
I can also tell you with certainty that having money available to spend on your creative pursuits does not automatically lead to success. Not by a long shot. I’ve watched many people invest tens of thousands of dollars into their careers only to fall flat in the end.
There are many factors and variables that go into building a thriving arts career, and having a surplus of money is pretty low on the list.
What’s most important is dedicating the time to your craft, breaking through the mental barriers that hold you back, and learning to promote and sell your work to the public. Doing those things consistently over time will produce much bigger results than simply throwing money at your perceived shortcomings.
Call to action
When it comes to money (especially when there’s a lack of it to invest), the ideal course of action is to do what you do best: Get creative!
I lived the early decades of my life with slim amounts of disposable income. Because of that, I learned to reframe my financial situation. If you are currently low on extra funds, you can view it as a curse or as a gift. I chose to see it as a gift.
Honestly, if you had a lot of money to invest in your book or your art, you’d probably get lazy. You’d end up wasting most of your cash on schemes that would produce no real and lasting results.
I know, because I’ve seen it first hand with friends and clients who I warned ahead of time. But they had to learn for themselves.
Fancy press kits and high-priced publicists will only do so much. Most people have unrealistic expectations about their potential return on these investments.
However, when cash is scarce, you get to play. You get to challenge yourself to come up with ideas that will get the job done, regardless of available funds. You get to experiment.
That’s right, you get to be creative!
And that’s your assignment:
Make a list of the art you want to produce and the things you want to accomplish with it. Next, brainstorm ideas you can implement that require little or no money at all. How could you use your brains instead of your bank account?
How could you get the materials and equipment you need? How could you promote your next event guerrilla style? How could you attract an audience in a creative, unexpected way?
In other words, when it comes to money, think less like a banker and more like an artist!
Because, after all, that’s who you are!
Originally published at fulltimeauthor.com on July 21, 2015.