Communication Made Easy — Speaking, Editing, Writing, Marketing, Networking Answers

A picture may be worth 1,000 words, but words themselves are at the basis of all communication. Whether we are communicating for business or personal reasons, our spoken and written words matter. These posts will address issues and answer questions related primarily to business communications, as they affect writing, credibility, marketing, and networking.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Hey, you creative types — what's your "money blueprint?"

Writing for writing’s sake. Art for art’s sake. How can someone who writes, paints, or makes music simply for the love of the art convince himself to monetize his art? How can he make a real living at his art? Are the two — the making of art and the earning of money — always mutually exclusive? Is it possible for a writer, painter, artist to make money at his craft without selling out?

It’s a question that has haunted artists the world over for centuries. A question with no easy answer.

What is art? Why do artists create? Many will tell you it’s not up to them, the creating. They literally have no choice in the matter, because for them, to not create art has the same effect as not breathing. They have to create in order to stay alive.

Poverty consciousness is a real thing. It’s a belief that being poor is good, or, at the very least, inevitable. This belief stems from the mindset that we don’t really deserve to have money, or that money is inherently bad.

The clichés abound: Money doesn’t grow on trees. We’re not made of money. [Love of] money is the root of all evil. I’m just trying to make ends meet. It’s too rich for my blood.

How many of these clichés went into forming your belief system about money?

For some strange reason, artists in particular have an odd disconnect about money. They seem to have formed the opinion that getting paid well for the innate act of creating is somehow wrong. But why is it wrong to get paid well to bring beauty, inspiration, challenge, passion, a message into the world? How did we get stuck in that mindset?

In order for artists to transition from a collective poverty consciousness toward prosperity consciousness, we’ve got to move past this idea that having money is a bad thing.

The fact is that money is just a concept. Sure, we have dollar bills and coins that serve as our currency — but all that means is that we have a physical means of exchanging a concept. Somewhere, way back when, we all agreed that a piece of paper with a picture of George Washington on the front and a pyramid and an eagle on the back represents one unit’s worth of value. To a native tribe member living half a world away, an American dollar bill might be an interesting icon, but it likely would have little or no value. Our money has only the value that we, as a culture and country, have agreed it holds.

Money is a simply a placeholder for a concept. Units of worth. If we didn’t agree that our currency represented value, it wouldn’t have any. OK? Money is an idea. Currency is a placeholder. Neither of these has any inherent positive or negative association, unless and until we give it one. Plain and simple, money is neither bad nor good.

But in the way of our world, what with the fact that we’ve agreed to this system of currency exchange for everything — from rent to car payments to chai tea to paint to canvas to film to printer cartridges — the fact is that having money is a good thing. Repeat that again, out loud, with enthusiasm. HAVING MONEY IS A GOOD THING!

Whatever you may have long believed about the badness of money or people who have it, having money equals having freedom. Having money gives you options. Having money opens doors. Having money enlarges your sphere of influence. In short, the more money you have, the more art you can make and the more people you can reach.

Aren’t you tired of scrounging for supplies? Making do with less than? Secretly wishing you had a wealthy benefactor while simultaneously feeling guilty for wishing for it? Sitting home raining down judgments on your "sell-out" friends and their "real jobs" because you’re making a living (i.e., scraping by at a subsistence level) from your art — while those same friends go out for coffee after a recent opening?

If you’ve decided you’re tired of living in poverty consciousness, you can start replacing your old negative money blueprint with a prosperity conscious one simply by changing your thoughts. For one thing, get new clichés: Show me the money. Roll in the dough. Laugh all the way to the bank.

Your money blueprint took a lifetime to create. Disassembling it will take some time, too. Just remember, if you change your thoughts, you change your life. You know what you think of your art. Now it’s up to you to decide how you are going to think about money from here on out. Art and money. They can peacefully coexist in your life, if you let them.

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