Many years ago, when I was a young poet, I adopted a “starving artist” mentality. To me, there was something romantic in it all. Creatively stretching small amounts of cash and haunting thrift stores. Running poorly-funded literary events and holding potlucks during the holidays.
I realized later that having money isn’t evil, that it can breed its own kind of romance, and, in fact, can be pretty useful. Money is the flow of energy. It’s thanking someone for their work, their time, their skill. It’s being able to treat the ones I love to our little luxuries. It’s buying creative time.
I live a fairly low-maintenance life. I have my simple luxuries (good food, good wine, staying on the beach on B.C.’s Sunshine Coast). But every once in a while, it feels good to really take care of myself and others. To pay for a gourmet meal. To get a fancy haircut or a massage. To buy some high-quality clothes and shoes.
I began to enjoy being in the money flow. To be able to hand it to another artist (whether their art is cutting hair, designing clothes, or massaging bodies) to say THANK YOU for providing me with something of value.
Because I never followed a traditional job/career path, I’m used to the fluctuation of money in my life. I think this prepared me for the Writing Life more than those who have a traditional 9-5 dependable paycheck kind of job.
The thing about following a career path in writing is that one may not see any substantial money for a while. A long while. One could write for years, developing her talent and product without a sale. When she finally gets an advance, it could be small or non-existent. When, years later, that novel is published, the sales probably won’t rival those of J.K. Rowling, Stephen King, or Suzanne Collins.
To both create a Writing Life and maintain the flow of cash, I’ve had to be creative about how I earn a “living,” balancing teaching and writing and story editing and performing and working on film sets as a studio teacher.
I love my full and unpredictable life. I love waking up at 5:30 AM to write before going to my film job. I love when my job ends and I have the luxury of time again.
Knowing how to go with the flow of money and time has made me much less stressed as a writer. And much more grateful when the wins come in.
More from this series on tips for Authors of Indie Presses:
Seen in the blog-o-sphere this week:
J.D. Munro’s most excellent tear-inducing post on being the mother of a bully.
Writer/Photographer Chris Fink-Jensen’s brand spanking new blog.
And this is just cool: Eco friendly houses set in the trees. (they are so magical I was instantly inspired to use one in a science fiction story)