I’m not going to be a starving artist.
Here is the thing, creating art for art’s sake is all fine and dandy, but it won’t put food on the table. It won’t pay the bills or even satisfy my artistic desires if I can’t make money off of it.
Art, for me, is about creating something that is worthwhile. For a lot of creatives, feeling worthwhile comes with being paid to do the thing they love!
I’m not here to write countless hours of prose for little to no reward. I want to make money.
I think the idea that art should be ‘pure’ without the desire to earn is a product of idealists who would like our creativity for free.
Quite frankly, if you like what I create, you can pay me for it.
That’s the way this works.
If someone writes your code, you pay them, if someone builds your furniture you pay them, if I write you a story you pay for it.
I won’t write for exposure anymore.
I’ve done my fair share of ‘writing for exposure’ and let me tell you something.
It doesn’t pay, financially or in experiences. I don’t care what they’ve promised you, if they aren’t paying you and it’s not genuinely beneficial for you, don’t do it.
You’ll save yourself a lot of time and from a lot of disappointment.
Art is something to be valued, whatever form of art you create should be valued and respected financially. If you’re creating for free, create for yourself, if someone wants you to create for them, charge for it.
If they really love what you do, they will value the time and effort that you put into your work!
More and more, I see young artists taken advantage of, being offered jobs for ‘exposure’ and getting little to nothing in return. The thing is that doing work for exposure is never going to serve you in the way that is charging for your work will.
Charging shows people that you are serious about your career.
It shows the world that you value your time and your skillset and you’ve thought long and hard about what you’re worth. When you take yourself seriously like this, the world will be forced to take you seriously as well.
Sure you might lose a few clients, but if they weren’t willing to pay you… so what?
They might’ve turned into loyal customers down the road but if they aren’t willing to meet your price now, what makes you think they will be willing later?
Recently I saw the most ridiculous thing on Twitter. A YouTuber was asking an artist to pay them for exposure. The Youtuber wanted three different pictures and they wanted to be paid by the artist for featuring them… What?
Please don’t let yourself be taken advantage of. People should be paying you for the time and effort you put into your craft. It’s down to you to choose the price tag but please, for the sake of your sanity, don’t do it free. Not unless you’re passionate about the project.
I have worked for free before on projects that I have felt passionately about. I’ve also been disappointed by projects falling through that I’ve been passionate about. I once wrote a poem that was a good six minutes long for someone for free because I believed in their cause.
They forgot to post it.
Sometimes that’s life, but sometimes that comes with not charging for your work. If they had paid for that piece I guarantee you they wouldn’t have forgotten about it.
When I will write for free.
I will write for free when it suits me.
I will write for free when I am writing for myself.
I will write for free when it’s for something that I believe in.
Writing is my career. It’s not glamorous or artistic. I sit down at my computer every single day and write for hours and hours. I have a lunch break. I walk the dog. I sit down, and I edit for hours and hours. I often work in the evenings. I usually work over the weekends.
I work a lot. I work hard.
There is nothing artistic or creative about writing. Not unless you can find some way of turning stiff fingers and bad posture into beautiful prose.
Romatising writing isn’t helping anyone.
Maybe writing used to be a romantic career back in ye olde golden days. It’s not like that anymore.
Writer’s have become individual factories pumping out stories and articles at 86words per minute.
Have you ever seen a writer work? Let me tell you. It’s not pretty.
I’m sitting here in my PJs in an unwashed, unshowered state and it’s almost noon. Why? Because I had writing to get done. Hygiene can come after I’ve typed out that new idea I had for my novel.
What I’m trying to say is that writing is hard work. Yes, it is creative, but it is not some dream lifestyle. I don’t float around in fancy dresses looking at lake views and jotting down notes in my notebook. I’m at my computer in sweatpants typing as fast I can.
Now, if you don’t mind, I’m going to go and shower. I need to walk my dog and be home in time for editing!
As always, I’ll see you on the bookshelf!