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