Hello Creative writer,
The thought of sitting at my computer and writing- crafting stories, it one of the things I love to do most in my life.
The dream is that this could be your job, right?
Well, there are two ways this can actually go.
When I moved back to my hometown in 2010 I was given an amazing opportunity. I opened a Art studio at a gallery in the art district and I was able to start working for myself. In the beginning it was just what I’d dreamed and I was able to sit in my studio all day making thing. I specialized in upcycled clothing and jewelry from recycled materials. I worked hard. I kept slightly ridiculous hours but I absolutely loved what I was doing.
Then came the part that I didn’t enjoy as much. When you are doing what you love for money it’s not a hobby- it’s not about the art- it’s your job. You don’t get to wait on inspiration or muses and you certainly can’t waste time toying around with things.
I had to put a price on my creations and watch them walk out the door forever. I have to invoice customers and track my earning and compared to my rent and expenses and I wasn’t making enough money.
So, I started taking on commission work. Mostly seamstress jobs. At first it was fine. Boring but steady. I was mending holes and hemming dress pants and it wasn’t very fun but it helped make ends meet.
After a bit I started more interesting projects. People would hire me to make dresses for proms and weddings or for photo shoots or fashion shows and though that sounds great on paper the actual experience wasn’t. I was just a tool. I was being used by my customers to create the visions in their heads- which was great for them but sucked for me. I was making items I didn’t like and that I wasn’t proud of. Things I didn’t want my name associated with. Yes, I’d turned a passion into a profession but after a couple years I hated it. I hated myself and my creations and the joy the process of creating once gave me was completely gone.
My point. I did it wrong. I would have been much more content making less money and making whatever I wanted whenever I felt like it and selling those items to whomever I wanted. It wouldn’t have been sustainable in the same way and I wouldn’t be able to afford to do it full time but I also wouldn’t have stopped sewing completely for several years after closing the studio.
When someone says, “I get to do what I love and people pay me for it.” they are in a position where they are respected for their particular vision- they are able to, within reason, do exactly what they love and each day they are surrounded by people who are also makers or doers and they understand the processes that come with creative work. That is the true dream.
I feel it is important to say also that just because you choose not to be paid for something doesn’t mean it isn’t valuable or that you aren’t talented at it. The choice to make your talent into a paycheck is a personal one and it’s different for everyone. And not everything that is monetized is great work.
At the end of the day, I feel that if you want to be a world famous writer and become rich you should pursue that. If you just like to write because you like to write then that’s ok too. Don’t let anyone tell you what you should or shouldn’t want, aspire to, or do with your life because at the end of the day you are the one who has to live it.
Write on Writers! Write on!