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No more starving artists

I’ve never liked the phrase “starving artist.”

Here’s what I believe: As an artist and creative, you deserve to make money.

Being paid well is not “selling out,” “exploiting others,” or “being an evil capitalist.”

(In fact, if creative people AREN’T paid well for their work, then only the wealthy and privileged can be professional artists.)

The money you receive is an expression of how much you choose to ask for your creative work–and how much others are willing to pay you.

It is an energetic exchange that measures how you and others perceive the value of what you are offering.

(How you actually BRING IN the money is another topic for another day. But the first step is to let go of the starving artist paradigm–to believe it’s possible to make good money, and to choose to make money.)

By the way, it’s possible to have a “starving artist mindset” even if you have a high income or a lot of assets. In fact, most of us have it, whatever our level of wealth.

The starving artist mindset is the belief that art and money are in conflict. It can take a lot of forms: the belief that you can’t make money as an artist, that commercially successful work isn’t “real art”, that art is “pure” so you shouldn’t want money for it, and so on.

When you let go of the starving artist paradigm and get paid well for your creative work, here are a few things you also let go of:

  • Squeezing in time for your creative work around your day job, taking care of your kids, and all kinds of household chores… and being too exhausted to do any of it well
  • Feeling like you constantly have to choose between your creative work and the rest of your life–and feeling stressed and guilty no matter which one you choose
  • Believing that even though you have money, it isn’t “worth it” to invest in your creative work–so that you subtly resist things like working on your novel, making your film, hiring a band, or working with a coach to produce the high quality work that will take your career to the next level
  • The deep-down horrible belief that you’ll never finish your creative work and you’ll die with your potential and talent still locked away inside you

Now, letting go of the starving artist paradigm *doesn’t* mean the money starts rolling in overnight (though in a few cases, that is all it takes).

It does mean you stop squeezing the life out of your creative work with an “I don’t have enough” attitude–and open to more.

You open to give your creative work time and energy–so it can stop existing as a pipe dream, and start existing as a real thing in the world.

You open to invest money in your creative work–doing it, working with teachers, working with coaches–so you can create incredible work and incredible success.

You open to being seen–to putting your work out there so you can win awards, sign clients, get exhibited, get optioned for films… and so you can move people and change their lives.  

So, will you stop living like a starving artist?

Will you go for the creative success you want?

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