Artists: They deserve to be paid

I frequently tell myself I have to create. I have to. I have produce. I have to create.  There is a need in me to tap into the creative spirit that is the essence of me. Matthew Healy from The 1975 once said “the idea of creating not being at the epicenter of my life terrifies me.” I connect deeply with that statement. I can’t imagine my life without some sort of creativity. It’s a joy for me and I get restless when I’m not doing it. But sometimes, as much as I want to create, I can’t.

It’s not a matter of having writer’s block, but rather facing the two paths that most artists have to face–doing something they love and doing something that will pay the bills. The ugly truth is creative endeavors are not always lucrative. Writing has to be one of the biggest financial gambles around and most lose rather than gain. I’m not trying to paint a grim picture to dishearten anyone but it’s time we talk about why creative people are expected to enjoy creating without expecting anything for the fruits of their labor.

I was watching a makeup artist on youtube, she was incredibly talented; when she mentioned at the end of the video where people can buy the products and support her, the comments made my heart ache. They called her a sell out, as if it was some crime to ask people to pay her for something they had enjoyed.

Writers, musicians, painters, crafters etc are treated with the same sort of disdain when the word money comes up. People expect free books, free music, free photography, not realizing how much time, effort, skill, and money goes into creating these types of works. I think bloggers and vloggers get an even greater lashing even though they put in a great amount of time to create content users can enjoy and be educated by.

Why are we so turned off by the idea of paying creative people. Why do we always assume it should be taken as a hobby, a fanciful pursuit, that should be done on off days between “real work.” This attitude makes it difficult for artists to truly create a life solely with their art. Most have side jobs, others rely on their spouse or family for financial support. The starving artist isn’t a cliche. It’s a very real reality for many who can’t imagine doing anything else but aren’t earning enough to keep creating.

One solution I can offer is for creatives to continue to pursue their careers, but with a business mentality. As an artist, you are self employed and anyone who is self employed needs to know the business behind their craft. Learn to market yourself; continuously promote your work, and don’t settle for the age old view of “it’s just a hobby.” This is the difference between being an artist and being a paid artist.

Do you think it’s important to support artists?

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Are you a seasonal writer?

writingoutside

I was talking to a friend of mine the other day as we munched on fries at a patio restaurant. It’s a sunny day, perfect for the two of us who prefer sunshine to be a dominate feature in our hangouts. We love the summer. We also love to write. As I haven’t seen her in a while, I’m eager to hear about her textual adventures and she has been wondering about what empires I’ve be establishing with ink. She tells me, “it’s been raining so I haven’t been writing much.”

I take a break from the fries feast to think about what she’s just said. For her, rain = no writing.  But for me, rain can easily lead to writing 10 or more pages a day. I know that weather and seasons can play a big role for writers in terms of inspiration. But it wasn’t until a couple years ago that I noticed the role it can play on how often a writer actually writes. For my friend, cold seasons make her gloomy and bored and she finds it difficult to create. Her boyfriend however, she claims, writes extensively during the winter months but has to almost force himself to get stuff down during spring and summer.

It made me question my own writing habits. Was I a seasonal writer? I thought back to one year when I kept a diary for each month of the year. I would write until the end of the month and then quickly switch to a new diary. I noticed that while I hadn’t necessarily written more during one particular season, the type of writing I did varied as the seasons transitioned. During the winter, my writing was more poetic–loaded with symbolism and word play. The hotter months had me in a more matter-of-fact attitude. The pieces were also shorter. The diary entries were personal during the warmer seasons. I find it harder to write fiction during the summer.

fallbook

Internally and instinctively I must have known this for a while. I’m a ghost writer and have recently noticed that I pick my assignments based on the time of year. I’ve been doing this since the beginning of my career. In summer, I’m all about marketing messages, technical pieces, and how-to articles. Come late September and I’m creating drafts for the next piece of literature that I will be writing during the long winter months.

While I may not stop writing completely just because it’s not the right weather or season, it does affect my writing. Do the seasons play a role in your writing? Do you find yourself writing more during a certain month or time of the year?

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Quiet Moments

I’m sat on a hill looking out at my city scape. Next to me sits my friend. She says “it’s nice to be able to sit like this and not talk. Don’t get me wrong, I like talking to you but it nice not to have to.”

people

I nod and smile because I couldn’t agree more. I am the silent type by nature. I prefer listening to talking and I enjoy quite moments where I am almost in a trance like state. These are the moments that I treasure–moments when I am lost in the experience. There is no thinking and analyzing, just the experience and the only conversation I’m having is between me and my soul.

We’re used to entertaining others, making them feel our presence by doing something. But it’s wonderful not succumb to this process and just be. Be side by side, be in the moment, be yourself and be ok. If you can feel someone’s heart without reaching out to touch it you know you are in a good place with them.

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What Beauty

I am delighted by the existence of trees and mountains; waterfalls and great beasts. I am entertained by the way your hair dances in the wind. I’m taken aback by the sudden courage of flowers to rise from frosty grounds.

I demand a certain amount of beauty in my life. Because of this I look for it everywhere. I am a philocalist. My eye catches a glimmering sparkling rock on the murky shores and I am in awe. I notice the way your lips part to say hello and I am left speechless. The fruits that bare themselves from May to September make me blush.  I see it all around me. Beauty. There is so much of it in this world.

From people holding hands to babes being born, the world is sealed with a touch of loveliness. One can’t help but smile as the world turns, showing you a magnitude of awe inspiring beauty. If you can’t see it, you can employ your other senses. Listen to the rivers that flow through your cities, the pitter patter of little puppy feet or the boom and clash of rock bands.

Smell the sweet beautiful scent of your true love or the bakery down the road. Run your hands through the leaves just before autumn descends. Press yourself against your lover and hope time will stop. It’s everywhere. The world is made of beautiful things and moments.

And yet, I sometimes struggle to see it in me. It is as if the poetry and romanticism of life stops at me. It sounds so self loathing. But it’s nothing like that. I am well aware that my existence is beautiful and that I am apart of this great beautiful thing called the circle of life, but when I separate myself from that, when I really think of myself as an individual, I sometimes fail to see the beauty that is so  apparent in other things.

You see, I’m ill. Sickness is an ugly sort of thing. There’s nothing beautiful about dying. When I reach out and touch life outside myself it sometimes reminds me of my rotting self which I very much detest at times. Perhaps that is how I became a philocalist in the first place. I wanted so badly to remind myself that life is essentially beautiful and worth living.

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9:25 pm

GUEST

Google won’t be able to find your post I am often told because I don’t take make the effort to properly write for search engines. That’s the trouble with having a creative writing blog, getting found. But that’s also the beauty of it and why I like having a creative writing blog. I don’t have to write for search engines.

I write for myself first and foremost. I write for the few of you who take the time to read my posts (many thanks). Google can’t begin to comprehend the kind of day I’ve had or even care so why should I cater to it. I’m not blogging for fame or profits.

This isn’t to say I do this as a hobby, but I’m not trying to become so great internet guru. I just like to tell stories and share my life in poetic form. It doesn’t appeal to Google but it does make me happy and at the end of the day that’s what matters.

I say all of this as someone who is fully aware of SEO and content creation. I write professionally for other bloggers, helping to make them money and giving them tips on how to create a brand with their blogs. I’m not ignorant to the “correct” methods of building a popular blog. I simply am not interested in following those rules with this blog.

This blog is like my garden. It’s where I kick back and relax away from the pressures of being a “writer.” I get to create, dream, read, and connect with others. I know this post doesn’t follow my usual “time diary” post but hey it’s my blog and I can do what I want. That’s the beauty of having a creative blog…you can be as creative as you want to be.

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Thoughts on New Year’s Resolutions

The streets are a colorful splendor of gold and silver. A white carpet covers the sidewalk. It is winter. It is January. It is a new year. Some how those two words, new year, give one a different outlook on life. The air smells of hope. It smells of change. You feel as though you have gained a new sense of power. At the stroke of midnight you became a different person. You became new. At least that is how you want to feel. You want to leave the nodus tollens behind and create a plot twist that will stun even you.

That is how I felt for many Januarys. I felt as though I was waking up from a dream into a more sparkling reality, one that suited me better. This year will be better I always said to myself. But why? Why should one change in the calendar suddenly alter your life. It doesn’t. But it gives the surge to alter their own. January, February, May, July, October. It doesn’t matter. Your life can change at any moment. You can decide at any point of time, right now if you wish, to make some great drastic escape from the past and plunge yourself into the existence you felt you are meant to have.

But January makes us feel as though we have some control. We have been given a second chance. You makes lists of all you’ll accomplish, places you’ll go, people you’ll see. You tell yourself that all the troubles of yesterday, are safely locked behind the bars of last year. They can’t reach out and touch you. They won’t spoil things.

I like to fool myself into thinking that I am more self aware, more confident, more motivated come new year. The clock strikes midnight and like a superhero I transform. I am no longer my old self. I am something brilliant, like the fireworks that light up the sky, leaving all in awe.

All I really want however is to be a slightly better version of myself. I want that on a day to day basis. I want to wake up feeling like who I was yesterday would admire who I am today. This doesn’t always happen. I fall back into old habits. I get confused. I second guess myself. I am still me at the strike of midnight. The loud cries of cheer and exuberance doesn’t change a thing about me. But it makes me want to change and that is a start. January is a good place to start.

Try not to put too much pressure on yourself just because it is a new year. We are still after all human. We are under construction and that is beautiful. We are beautiful. Life is beautiful. Here’s to you and your beautiful year.

 

Missing

My heart is preoccupied with missing. It doesn’t love, or celebrate, it simply misses. It’s beginning to collapse on itself because of the immense ache. It’s made itself useless by constantly wondering where they’ve all gone, and when they’ll be back. Most will never come back. They’ve parted. Some are so close I can almost touch them…almost…but the distance grows the more I reach out. The weight of missing someone is so burdensome and my heart has forgotten that it has other things to do…like beat for me.

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In June

In June, the streets are littered with the young and beautiful

They lie about on every corner looking to be looked at

I do look

I look for myself in all of them

Their clothes like their faces look so fresh and new

In June, I try to fit in

Hoping to be part of the summer in-crowd

But I’m an outsider with no clue of the secret password

In June, youth reigns

A crown gets passed around

And I hope it will make its way to me

In June, the crazy kids search for their kicks

While I search for a way to kick out this aging feeling

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What’s keeping you from your dream and can it be conquered

I’ve always been the kind of person that believed in magic, miracles and the possibility of dreams coming true. In fact, setting out to make a dream come true has been the reason for my existence. It is what props me out of bed in the morning with an almost childlike enthusiasm.

Most of my dreams are not things I wish to collect, but experiences I hope to have. For instance, I don’t dream about owning a classic Porsche 911, but I do dream of taking a long road trip and feeling the wind rush against my hair as I zip down the highway top down. Obviously, having a car is a needed equation for making that dream come true.

So, when I was young I had a dream. I wanted to go to Monaco. I must have heard some mention of it on TV and it stuck with me. I think everyone has that place in their hearts that they long to see, and for me it was Monaco. I didn’t know what was there, didn’t even know if I would like it but I knew I wanted to touch its soil someday. As with most dreams, there were some barriers. Being a dream catcher means being prepared to jump over some hurdles. Mine had 3 high ones to get over.

1. Finances. I would say this is the most common reason dreams are left unfulfilled. Plane tickets can’t be bought with wishful thinking. Whether you’re dreaming about owning a house, going back to school, even getting published, you need money. Sometimes you need a lot more than you can afford. But almost every dreams requires money, and for those like me it can be a constant hurdle to get over as you try to balance the possibility or making your dreams come true with meeting your present basic needs. If you’re lucky, you have the kind of dream that you can plan in advance for. You can save for it and reduce the financial burden of the dream. Other times, you have an opportunistic dream where you only have that one moment to make it a reality. Then you need to decide if you can afford tomorrow by living for today.

2. Health. Money isn’t always the problem. There are a lot of rich people who don’t live out their dreams because they are not well enough to do so. More than money, you need health and mental stability to make a dream come true. It’s not easy trying to conquer your dreams when you can barely get out of bed in the morning. Or spending majority of your time hooked up to machines that are doing their best to keep you alive. This for me was the biggest hurdle. I needed to get well enough to be able to travel.

3. Time. Yes some say time is an illusion; but if you think about the moment you began dreaming and the moment you realize it hasn’t come true yet you begin to see that time is passing. Some dreams aren’t heavily reliant on time. The Eiffel tower with be there in 50 years most likely. But other dreams fade more and more with each tic of the clock. But it’s actually making time for your dream that I really want to press on. Some people are very good at dreaming; they have all sorts of lovely ideas about how their life is going to be, but it never makes it out of their head because they never make any time for it. It’s not always simple. We can’t always find the time to create our tomorrows. If you’re lucky, your present and future harbor in the same realm. But sometimes, our dreams are in a very distant future making it challenging to keep focused on them and find the time to bring it closer to us.

I’ve never known a dream that didn’t rely on some kind of luck or miracle. Hard work plays a part, but even small dreams need some unexplained interference to make them come true. I needed 3 big ones and by some divine grace I got them.

Last year, I not only saw my beautiful destination of choice: Monaco, but I also saw other cities in the South of France. Despite the obstacles, the hurdles and the fact that some things seem just plain impossible dreams do come true.

For me, I had to take some risks, find some courage and remind myself that big or small my dream deserved to be given life.

Never give up, never lose hope. Figure out what you’re up against, what mountains you have to conquer in order to make your dream a reality, and then go forth and conquer them.