Thriving Artists

Hey, creatives–Imma say a thing. *ahem* Once upon a time last year, a fellow writer cautioned me, telling me that I shouldn’t ever expect to get paid for my work.  No. No, no. No. No? No. NO! Nooooooooooooo. Newp. I keep running across this same issue with other writers, jewelers, artists, musicians, sculptors, and so many other creatives (forgive me if I’m leaving you out–I’m keeping this brief for the sake of impact). Now, I understand that exposure for your project or product is a good and right thing. Free samples, demonstrations, or sales on affordable commission all make good sense. They make even better sense when you offer them from an already existing creative platform such as your portfolio website or your writer’s blog where it’s clear that you are not just some kid in a sandbox offering to build a moat, but a creative professional with a valuable product to offer. I know some of you will wince at the word “product” and maybe even legit barf when you hear “branding,” but it’s true. Not just true, but necessary if you want to be paid for creative work which in my humble opinion, is healthy and just as it should be. We don’t question paying for someone to cook our food, for getting our hair done did, for having our cars cleaned and detailed, for personal trainers. Why do we devalue our own work, then? Work that takes hours to produce and hone, that takes a lifetime to get just right?

If you start to feel like what you’re doing is not valuable, please address this feeling with a Stuart Smalley-esque pep talk, and look at this graphic I made for ya’ll (use it any-damn-where you want) and remember that what you do is important to the world, that it takes time, resources (sometimes expensive resources) and more time, and that getting paid for it is as it should be. The “starving artist” mentality is not what we should be keeping in the collective consciousness when it comes to creativity–I’ll go with thriving artist any day. <3

thrive

8 comments

  1. It’s interesting how some forms of creative expression are seen as more legitimate than others. I can’t imagine that same person saying that actors and others involved in making movies shouldn’t be paid. Art takes effort. Writing books is some of the hardest work I’ve ever done. Thanks for this post!

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    1. It is–this is “legitimate,” and that is NOT. Arbitrary at worse, harmful at best. Guh. I’m glad you know the value of those hard-earned words you write, and I’m so glad you liked the post! ^_^

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I 100% agree with you here! I do wonder if the value of creativity has been endangered in recent years by the rise of available pirating, copying, etc. technology. I’ve known plenty of people who think nothing of torrenting TV and movies, or downloading music or books without paying for them — as if all creative works should just be free to whoever wants them. When the audience doesn’t value the creative work, it can be tempting for the creator to start to wonder!

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    1. Oh man…piracy. That’s a whole other kettle of nasty. I can’t imagine approaching the world with the mentality that I can just take what I want–quotes, images, whatever. I credit all art I share (and verify the credits), I tag quotes with the author’s name…I’m not OK with others ‘ creativity taken advantage of. I think that’s why it’s important for us to value the work that we do. As a writer, I’m not going to give out my work for free. Maybe the more we change the base cultural perception that creative work is valuable and yes, work, the more we’ll see these other things change?

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  3. I agree wholeheartedly – creatives are taken for granted. I am now concentrating on getting my work placed with magazines / publishers who will PAY me for my time and effort. Creativity should be valued! Free reading is fine in small doses (thus my 2 blogs) but I expect to pay to buy a book and I expect other people to pay to read my novel… Never undervalue yourself as a creative person – your work is worth getting paid for!

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    1. I agree with your agreement, lol! Yeah, I’ve been wary any time in my publishing experiences that a journal or publisher is unwilling to pay even a pittance or, at the very least free copies to share with my friends. If they don’t value my work, then nobody else will! And I’m not okay with the ‘starving artist’ being an expectation for a creative professional’s career…heh.

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