Steel Yourself

I had a teacher once who asked the class why they wanted to be an artist. Some responded because they wanted to make money. Her response to ANY art student whose goal was to make a living at art was, well, something like, if you want to make money, you should go into business or law or something like that. She continued on to say that the only reason you should choose art as a way of living is for the love of it. She did admit there were a few who made money, a ton of it, but usually they were already dead. She suggested artists usually have other jobs, mindless jobs, that provide the time and energy to pursue their passion. This teacher is now my business partner. We are the struggling artists because we passionately love our art form, writing. Our primary motivation is not to make money, but we are convinced we will. We believe in our stories. We love the process of writing them and we believe in ourselves and our ability to write. We know that when we pitch our stories to the powers that be that they will buy them, we aren’t convinced we will sell them. It is a control issue.

I know people who are artists. They have other jobs that steal their time and energy away as they purchase the necessities of life. They talk about carving out time in the summer or in the evenings to paint or compose or write, but they don’t. They dream of it as they drive to work, they set goals at their lunch breaks to accomplish a little bit of art work, then they drive home exhausted and their will has been lost. They like the “idea” of being an artist, but the reality of actually working? Not so appealing. Some argue that you need to take care of your responsibilities and I agree, sort of. I asked a married couple if they could do anything they wanted what would they do. They started to think about it and then pulled back. “We have kids and a house and we can’t just give up all of that to pursue our own dreams! What if we failed?” My response? “What if you succeeded?!”

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