A Creative Life That Pays The Bills

It's a well known predicament. how can you, as a creative, fill your life with your art and still make enough money to pay the bills? And because it's so well known, there's an assumption that goes along with the predicament. An assumption that says you simply won't be able to support yourself financially whilst living a creativity-led existence. It's a common belief that in order to live a highly creative life and to produce great art, you have to suffer. The starving artist and the freezing writer in their respective garrets - you know the images.

And yet this lack of money is actually a choice. For some it's a more conscious choice than for others, but it's a choice nonetheless. A choice against the commercialisation of your art, a choice against the kind of comfort that numbs your wit, a choice against the mainstream, a choice not to have to think about anything so base as money. And if that's the kind of life you want to lead, then it's an entirely valid choice.

go for it! But what if you want to live a creative life and to do so with a degree of comfort? Can't you choose to do that too? And is it possible to do that without having to work long hours and exhaust your best energies in a soulless job? It may take a paradigm shift in your thinking, but I believe it's entirely possible to live a life that champions your creativity as well as paying the bills. The assumption that so many creatives fall prey to is to believe that they must make their beloved art pay. An assumption that throws up any number of difficulties for them, not least of which often involves them losing all the pleasure in the creative activity they so love. So if you want to avoid this particular trap and are ready to play with the way you think about creativity and money, there are three mental steps to consider. - Step number one is to treat the processes of making art and making money separately - Step number two is to understand that both are highly creative processes - Step number three is to embrace the creativity of making money whilst jettisoning guilt feelings about it Wealth creation as a creative process, and purely for the sake of creating wealth, can be enormous fun.

It can also be practised within your own timescales, it doesn't involve having a boss or an employment contract. And because you're 'creating' wealth, it's not oppressive to anyone else - the money you make is not coming directly out of anyone else's pocket or pay packet. The creative avenues to take a look down of you want to make money without having to take on an employed job are well known.

Which tickles your creative fancy the most? Property investment, the stock market, the internet, or starting your own business? Each has its own challenges, each has its own areas of specialist knowledge and skill (which are all entirely learnable, of course), and each has great potential when approached creatively. So when you're pondering how you could possibly live the kind of creative life that you yearn for whilst still paying the bills, try turning your creative mind in an entrepreneurial direction. Don't think you have to start big (or you may not get started at all) and don't expect to make enough money to pay all your expenses this way in year one. But if you start viewing wealth creation as an activity in its own right and get started now, you will be able to pay those bills another few years down the line whilst having time and energy left for the creative pursuits of your choice.

Mary McNeil of Create a Space is an experienced life coach, working with artists, writers and musicians. She specializes in coaching and supporting her creative clients as they make creative living a practical and sustainable reality.


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