The Struggle is Real.
How do you live a creative life when you have REAL bills to pay?
Folx, I’ve been struggling with family/adult responsibilities versus my desire to have a writing career for several years now, and I have come out on the other side. Well, this other side. I have no doubt more struggles will come, and there will be other other sides, but for now: EPIPHANY.
Mine, to be clear.
Your mileage will vary. We are not the same. The things we desire are not the same. The way we make decisions is not the same. The things that move the needle for you are not the same things that move the needle for me. (My needle is stubborn, and moving it requires a ridiculous alignment of seemingly unrelated things, so I hope your needle is less intractable than mine.)
I am so down with Elizabeth Gilbert in Big Magic when she wrote, “Don’t make your muse pay your bills.” Okay, that’s not exactly what she wrote. She was much more poetic. But that was my takeaway from Big Magic. (Which is fantastic. Read it for your own Big Magic takeaway.) If you expect your creativity to pay your bills, and it doesn’t, bad things can happen to your creative spirit.
At least, bad things happened to MY creative spirit when my Hot Nights series didn’t make a zillion dollars, solve all my financial problems, and prove that I’m a creative genius. Add in the facts that my three kids were suddenly old enough that I could go back to work full-time, and my part-time grocery store job offered incredible benefits. There was no way I could know going full-time was going to be physically and emotionally exhausting. Or that my terminally ill father was going to pass away. There was a lot I didn’t know.
Fast forward six years.
And a freaking pandemic.
Obviously, there are those who are making so much money with their creativity, they don’t have to worry about this happening. Good for them. For those of us who aren’t making enough money with our creativity to support our lifestyle or families and we STILL want to be creative, BUT we’re exhausted/discouraged/afraid, how do we go on? How do we get started achieving our big, hard dreams when we’re already pooped, we’ve tried and “failed” in the past, and our inner critic is holding a Whack-A-Mole hammer and bonks us back down in our hole every time we see a sliver of creative light and start to climb toward it?
Crass—I’m sorry. I spent some formative years working in kitchen, and my inner voice uses a lot of profanity. So does my outer voice.
I’ll go into the shit I’ve tried over the past six years in depth this month. Only one of my new things has to do with writing, but all of them support my creativity. How did I discover them? Trial and error. How do I know they work? I do them. I feel good. Better. More myself. More creative. I wrote a book in January 2021. I sold it to Liz Pelletier at Entangled Publishing. With two other books to follow.
Did I bury the lead? Probably. Dear readers, I sold three books to Entangled Publishing! More information to come, but I think I’ll put the details in a newsletter first, so sign up for my newsletter, if you want to hear more.
I am thrilled to be working with Entangled again. Over the freaking MOON. But I’m even more deeply delighted to know I’ve discovered things about myself that will support my creativity through the books and years to come. Because when the first shit didn’t work, I tried other shit. And I feel really good about it. And when this shit stops working, I’ll try other shit.
How are your creative goals doing? Have you found ways to blow on your precious spark? Do you have a thing you do that makes you feel good, so you keep doing it? Does feeling good make you do good things? Start thinking about it…
See you next week!