Change the "Starving Artist/Writer/Actress/Etc" Mantra-You Can Make Money As A CreativeDec 23, 2020
Hello Writers! It's Wednesday and today I am writing about this notion that we creatives group up with.
"I'm BROKE" we repeat it so much that it becomes our reality and everyone expects it to be true so there is no shame because we are "creatives" right?
No, that is bullshit!
Seriously, you can be a creative who isn't broke and I don't mean by being famous.
Trust me on that one.
I am a creative person. I started my life wanting to be an actress and I did it for many years. Am I famous? No, but I did it and I worked ALL THE TIME but because I haven't stared aside Meryl or Tom Cruise or Al Pacino or anyone super famous people look in and assume I'm a nobody. It's ridiculous.
If you are an actor/actress go look at the IMDB for any of your favorite sidekicks and see how they have been in hundreds of things. Now if someone works on stage they don't always even have that huge IMBD.
That doesn't mean they don't have money.
As a writer? It's even worse in a way. I have been a working writer now, meaning getting paid to write, since the 90s but even though I have a few books published and have worked for hire a lot, I'm not famous and so it's expected that I'm broke.
In fact, my family STILL treats me like I'm just starting out. I get the "you'll make it" and I know they think it's encouraging but I'm over here, "um, I have made it, I work 100% as a creative and I make a good living." In my head I'm screaming FAME isn't everything.
For my artists? Yeah, that. I started my career as an artist at Disney in the 90s and worked on almost 30 films as well as heaps of commercials, shorts, and TV shows but I started illustrating children's books and doing more illustration on my own work and other things about 13 years after traditional animation crashed. I also write and weave the two together in what I consider to be a very successful career.
BUT there is this mantra of ~ writers are broke. Starving artist. Broke broke broke.
I want you to know that if you are any kind of creative you can make a living that you can be proud of.
You do NOT have to get a boring day job that you hate.
I got into animation because it paid well and I could still be in the film industry when I decided to leave acting ---for the time being. I may do some acting again, who knows, I have a lot of years yet to live, but in the 90s I left acting and I went into animation. It was a great "day job" and still in an industry that I LOVE.
You can find jobs that are related to what you love and or do what you love to make money and then you will always be happy.
As creatives, most of us have big dreams! And that is what keeps us going.
The day to day is what supports that so why not make it into something you love?
I started coaching writers in 2008. I did it because so many were asking me for free advice and I was between jobs so I posted on MySpace that I was taking clients and BOOM! A career as a concierge story coach was born. This is what I do now, still on the side of my own writing, and art.
I LOVE helping writers figure out what they need and where they need to go to reach their dreams! Which is why I have so many opportunities on my site (you are here so look around) and freebies for writers as well as give back as much as I can.
During the years between 2006-now I also worked as a script doctor, a ghostwriter, a work for hire writer, a scrip consultant, a TV writer, a co-creator, and more. I got creative while I didn't have a steady day job.
You can do that too! I know you can.
What you have to do is get scrappy and think about all the jobs that relate to what you want to do.
Want to direct films? There are HEAPS of jobs on film sets.
Want to write for film or TV? The same. You can be a personal assistant, a production assistant, a writers assistant (which is one of the best ways to get in) a script consultant, a freelance writer.
Are you an actor? Extra work is a great way to get on set. You can also do local plays. Now with the internet booming for the last almost two decades you can do your own webisodes and post online. You can do anything on YouTube, you can write your own stuff and get it produced.
Artist? Want to work in animation? Want to draw in children's books? Want to design toys? There are a million art jobs that keep your creative side fulfilled while doing art.
Now, in art there are some art snobs who look down on "commercial art" and I've always been like, "commercial art pays the bills."
I was roommates with a woman I had worked with briefly in animation at Disney and a small independent studio, so she knew that I was an artist but she refused to acknowledge that. She would say things like "so in so is a real artist" and I would use the line from FRIENDS when Monica said to Rachel that she needed a real waitress and Rachel replied that she was just waitressing as an amateur so she could compete in the Olympics. LOL and my roommate would say "yeah but you aren't a real artist" and I was like, "well I draw 8-16 hours a day and get paid for it so yeah I am!"
As creatives, we have to be able to block out that negative speak and we have to be able to realize that those on the outside will never get it but we don't have to be what they expect and always be broke.
I also want you to stop using the word broke.
You can be between gigs but you are never broke.
Change your mindset and change your life.
Okay, one last thing on this blog.
Some ways that you can find work:
Telling colleagues & friends that you are looking
I have found 100% of my gigs from social media since 2006. Yes, 100%.
Don't go on there and beg for work, but it's fine to post that you are looking. Keep your eyes open all the time. And you can also create your own destiny. Great at a particular skill? Why not teach it?
There are infinite ways to make money! You can do it! If I can do it, you can too!!
Now, Do I wish that I had thought of Pusheen or Diary of a Whimpy Kid? SURE but I'm doing pretty well without fame.
I have a course coming up for writers called STORY CONCIERGE and it starts on March 8, 2021, and I'm filling up my waitlist now. You can find out more about it HERE. Sign up and get on the list and when enrollment opens in Feb you will be the first to know. As well, I'm going to have scholarships & opportunities that only my list will get first. This is a ten-week course to help you reach your dreams and become successful doing what you love. I created it based on my one to one coaching with writers that I have been doing for more than 10 years.
Have an amazing rest of your week!
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