As a general rule, Americans don’t like to talk about money. As a specific rule, writers really really don’t like to talk about money. The topic makes us feel kind of squirmy inside. Not to mention, if we were true artists, we wouldn’t even care about money! We’d be happy to starve! And if we’re not starving, we’ve become sell-outs! We’re hacks! We’re insert-your-demeaning-self-talk-here!
We all know it’s true: Money versus art is an either-or proposition, and we must choose. Right?
Being an artist does not have to equate to being poor, and making money does not have to mean that you’ve sold out. So, let’s get over our little squirmy insides and talk about being an artist and, yep, I’m gonna say it: Making money.
What is An Artist?
What is an artist? An artist is a person who creates art.
End of sentence. Period. Full stop.
What else is an artist? An artist is often a person who cares deeply about the world and channels their caring into creation. An artist is often a person who cares deeply about truth and seeks to represent it in their work. An artist is a person who cares deeply about beauty and seeks to create more of it in the world.
An artist is a dragon who breathes worlds instead of fire. An artist is a magician who summons new people into existence. An artist is a centaur who paws messages from the stars into the earth.
An artist is a God of her own creation.
And trust me, an artist can be all of that and still make money. In fact, I contend that making money makes us better artists, not worse. That’s because money is not what we have been told that it is.
What Is Money?
Duh, Heather. It’s that funny green stuff people exchange for other stuff. Or, in a modern context, it’s those numbers on the screen when I log into my bank account that mean I either can or cannot buy groceries this week.
Sure, that’s money. Sort of. But you know what else money is? Money is energy. It is the form that energy takes to make it easy for us to exchange energy with one another. It is the energy that fuels our lives and our passions. It makes it possible for us to obtain the materials and the resources we need to create our art, to care for our loved ones, to keep our bodies healthy, and to enjoy our time here on earth.
Those who hold on to lots of money and don’t want to share it would like us to believe that money is evil. They want us to not want what they have because they want to keep all of it. Poor, poverty-stricken souls. They don’t understand that energy is not made to sit still, it is not made to pool up in one place. Energy that pools in one place and builds up for too long turns stagnant.
They think money is evil because when you hold onto it like that, it turns the color of vomit, sticks to your skin, and stinks to high heaven. It breeds unpleasant things and eventually makes you sick.
The truth? Money is energy, and we all need energy to live. When energy flows out and does not flow in, we experience scarcity. We get tired and depressed and feel like we can’t do the things we need and want to do. When more energy flows in than out, as long as we don’t hold on to it so tightly that it stagnates, then we feel energized and fulfilled and we are able to take care of ourselves.
This is true of all forms of energy. Love, comfort, safety, vegetables. It’s all energy, and the trick to living abundantly in energy is to let it flow. Flow in. Fill up. Flow out.
Note that “fill up” bit there. While it’s not healthy to hoard energy, it is healthy to let it live with us for a while and pool up before we let it flow out. Otherwise, we’re like sieves, never really filling up at all, and that’s no fun either.
Yeah, But Money… or Rather the Lack of It… Makes Me Feel Anxious, Ugh
Yeah, it does. I feel that. As if it’s not bad enough that we’re not supposed to want money, we’re also told that we should be ashamed if we don’t have it. Not having money means we haven’t worked hard enough or tried hard enough or we haven’t been responsible enough or we just generally haven’t been enough.
This also is hogwash.
When we don’t have money, you know what the reason is? It’s because we don’t have money. I know, there are a thousand more specific “reasons,” but the truth is that it is just a thing. Some people don’t have vegetables in their fridges (me, at the moment, for some reason), and some people don’t have lawns and some people don’t have dogs and some folks don’t have medicine drums (and I feel very sorry for them but it is what it is). We don’t go around blaming them and shaming them for not having those things. We don’t ask them why they don’t have cats or down pillows or framed photos of their great uncles. They just don’t.
Same with money. If you don’t have money, it’s because you don’t right now.
But the reason we feel some sort of way about money is that money is a stand-in for almost all other forms of energy in our modern world. It represents food, shelter, clothing, care of our children, education, travel, and every other nice thing we want to enjoy except love which is a whole other animal and must be attracted and tamed separately. So we feel pretty strongly about wanting to have money, even when we think we’re not supposed to want to have money.
And it’s why people shame us when we don’t. Because if they can blame us, they can pretend it could never happen to them. They feel secure.
Well, you know what? Security is an illusion. But money doesn’t have to be. You, an artist, deserve money and you deserve to have plenty of it. When you have money in the bank, with plenty flowing in and plenty flowing out, you can stop worrying. Money can free you to be your best creative self.
Wouldn’t It Be Nice If…
Think about the specific role of money in your specific life. Do you feel worn down, tired, frazzled, overwhelmed? Is it possible that those feelings are because there is not enough money (energy) flowing in and too much flowing out? What would it be like if you had plenty of money to buy nice foods, a better place to live, great healthcare, the education you long for for yourself and your children, lovely plants for your garden, housekeeping services, weekly massages, quarterly cruises, that house on the beach you’ve been dreaming of?
Wouldn’t that be nice?
Of course it would. And you know what? You deserve it. But maybe when you think about big things like a boat and a vacation home and a six-month sabbatical in Peru, you start thinking that’s just a bit too far a stretch for you.
Maybe you’d just like it if you just had enough–enough to pay that bill that’s coming up, enough for groceries this week, enough to not be digging yourself deeper and deeper into a hole. That’s just fine, friends. You deserve that, too, and if that feels more comfy, then let’s start there.
You deserve to have enough to eat and gas in your tank and to not always be stressing about the next rent or mortgage payment. You deserve it, and you can have it.
You can write for clients during the day and write for yourself at night. You can create amazing work for clients and amazing work for yourself. You can earn a living that keeps energy flowing through your life and spend time and energy on creating art that keeps your inner magician happy.
Now, let’s talk about how to do it. In my free downloadable ebook, I describe the system I use to get and keep clients, and outline all the key things you need to do to get started. You can grab that ebook here.
Or, sign up for one of my classes or other offerings, which you can find here.
Or, simply reach out with your questions or to yell at me because I’m an idiot to think about money in this way. Either way is fine. I just want to see your energy flowing.